The ‘orphan’ defence to parricide

The Telegraph has a thoroughly necessary opinion piece about the unaccountable cuntishness of airport and airline staff (did you know that insulting a member of an aeroplane’s crew, even if done without menace, threats, shouting or disorder – say, pointing out to a hopelessly incompetent buffoon that they’re a hopelessly incompetent buffoon – is a criminal offence?)

The suggestion that this is in any way essential in order to maintain air safety is obviously bollocks. Post-September 11, there should be no way for any member of the public to access the cockpit. The doors are designed so that the cabin’s pressurisation holds them shut and would require 25 tons [*] of force to open. Unless you’ve smuggled a high-calibre gun on board, your chances of endangering the aircraft are zero. In short, you are presenting no more and no less threat than someone in a sandwich bar – so only a daft cunt could possibly believe restrictions should be tighter.
Anyway. The Telegraph comments thread contains lots of comments from people who are equally pissed off by the aviation industry’s utter shitness, and a few self-justifying moans from airline cunts. My favourite one of the latter is:

When you are on board an aircraft then the crew take on an official role that is quite unlike any role a civilian has on the ground. They have very broad authority, for one good reason.

They are solely responsible for your safety, and are thoroughly trained [for five minutes, after their hairdressing course - PDF] to ensure that safety. The average passenger does not know when he threatens that safety. Ask the passengers of an Air France Airbus 340 that left the runway in Canada and then burned why cabin crew need authority and respect. Every one of them lived to answer that question, thanks to the crew.

The argument is spurious bullshit, because if the plane is not in the process for crashing, it is impossible for you to endanger its safety. But I’m mostly impressed by the chutzpah of his example: the reason Air France Flight 358 caught fire in the first place was because the pilot fucked up and landed on the wrong bit of the runway. So effectively, the point is “you should obey us, because we’re incompetent idiots and we’ll probably kill you by mistake if you don’t”.

With that attitude, maybe the relevant commenter should join the security forces…
[*] For pedants, 250 kilonewtons. Also, fuck you.

9 thoughts on “The ‘orphan’ defence to parricide

  1. Jim Bliss says:

    The argument is spurious bullshit, because if the plane is not in the process for crashing, it is impossible for you to endanger its safety.
    I’m with you in spirit here, PDF, but you’re not 100% accurate with the above assertion. In fact just off the top of my head I can think of a simple way for a passenger to seriously endanger the safety a commercial airliner. Most planes carry surprisingly large amounts of alcohol. This is very flammable stuff. And while fire suppression systems on planes are pretty good, I feel confident that a dedicated arsonist with a near limitless supply of flammable liquid could do major damage to a plane (certainly create a localised fire hot enough to compromise the plane’s structure at that point).

    Or else the would-be terrorist could just surreptitiously switch on his mobile phone and portable CD player and wait for them to bring the plane down…… ‘passengers are reminded that the use of electronic equipment onboard is strictly…….’

  2. PDF says:

    Interesting point – and I can just about imagine a drunken twat who *doesn’t* intend to crash the plane also setting a fire out of sheer stupidity (see also: that Labour peer who set fire to a hotel).

    This is more a reflection of the way that airlines are fundamentally unserious about security when it gets in the way of their bottom line, though: 700ml duty-free bottles should not be allowed in the cabin, both for fire and projectile reasons (I’m less convinced a terrorist could do anything major with the 50ml bottles served in-flight).

  3. Larry Teabag says:

    On the booze thing, regular strength spirits don’t combust at room temperature do they? If you had some Absinthe you could make a fire, I guess.

    Also what about opening the emergency door? I *guess* hat it wouldn’t work at altitude, but have never quite had the balls to try it.

  4. Larry – Of course regular (40%) spirits are combustible at RTP. You must have seen a Christmas pudding all ablaze, and don’t try to tell me you’ve never depilated your scrotum russian-farmer style (dipping it in Stoli and burning off the stubble).

  5. Spazmo says:

    Jim, in theory your example may work.

    All it would need is for the nutter in question to run through the plane collecting all the alcohol to dump in one place, pour it all out and set light to it without anyone noticing and bludgeoning him to death with the food trolley.

    Of course it is only cabin crew have the extensive training required to bludgeon someone to death with a trolley.

  6. PDF says:

    Larry: “The doors are designed so that the cabin’s pressurisation holds them shut and would require 25 tons [*] of force to open.”. Including the emergency window.

    Henk: Damn, I wish the Diplomacy tournament hadn’t been cancelled.

    Spazz: the dangerous booze is conveniently stored in a single trolley, known as “the duty-free trolley”.

  7. Spazmo says:

    Apart from the stuff in passengers bags etc. Or unless if they do something bizarre like serve it to people.

    It is all moot as you could not down an airliner with duty free anyway.

  8. Neil says:

    It’s a bit weird that you can’t carry on a pair of toenail clippers, but the necessary tools to bottle someone in the face are a-ok.

  9. Jim Bliss says:

    Spazmo… I obviously don’t know for sure that setting fire to the inside of an aircraft would cause the structure to weaken and fracture (I was an industrial engineer but didn’t have occasion to set up such an experiment, sadly). But in my professional opinion, there’s a strong likelihood that a hot enough fire would melt the seals around the windows causing explosive decompression.

    I also think that a duty-free trolley full of 1.5 litre bottles of vodka, plus whatever innocuous but highly flammable materials I’ve got stuffed in my carry-on luggage, would be sufficient material to allow me to start a fairly decent high-temperature fire in a relatively short period of time. Of course, I’d need three willing and able-bodied accomplices to restrain other passengers and crew during the few moments I need to get the fire into an unmanageable state.

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