SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Fish or Cut Bait

Flake on a Plane
By Bob Ciminel


August 21, 2006

The latest airline scare, not counting the bomb threat on a British airliner, involves a 59-year-old ex-Hippie from Vermont. (I swear the acid rain must be doing something to the maple syrup up there in New England because we are getting more and more crazies coming out of those states.) Virginia Mayo (I know that's not her name, but this is my article, so deal with it) kind of went a little crazy on a United flight from London to Washington, D.C. I'm not sure why someone from Vermont would fly to DC to go to Vermont. Maybe she needed the frequent flyer points? In the end, it worked out well because the plane landed in Boston, which is closer to Vermont than Washington. (I wonder if she knew that?)

jpg Airport Security

Airport Security
Artist Gary McCoy, Cagle Cartoons
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

I've heard several reports about what exactly she did on the plane, but let it suffice to say that she exhibited abnormal behavior. Now, based on the many flights I've taken over the past couple of years, any passenger whose behavior is termed "abnormal" by everyone else on the plane has to be bouncing-off-the-walls crazy. I mean, "Normal" behavior by airline passengers is a far cry from the social mores I learned at home and in school. (I attended parochial schools from fifth grade through high school, and improper behavior was corrected by a ruler across the knuckles or a wooden paddle when I acted up in high school. Dad, on the other hand, would just thrash me to within an inch of my life. I got the message.)

Anyway, it seems Ms. Mayo is a peace activist who has been spending a lot of time in Pakistan. Why would a peace activist go to Pakistan? Isn't that the place where they kidnap and behead reporters after offering them an exclusive interview? Likewise, given the Pakistani secret police force's reputation for ruthlessness, I would not think it wise to do anything in that country that even hints at criticizing the government.

Like your author, Ms. Mayo writes a column for a Pakistani newspaper. (Hmm, I wonder how much they pay her) However, whereas my prose is based on the precept that nothing is sacred, and covers a fairly eclectic sampling of subject matter, Ms. Mayo is still fighting the Vietnam War and blaming Bush for it. I think history shows that Eisenhower, a Republican, started it, Kennedy and Johnson, Democrats, lost it, and Nixon, a Republican, ended it. All Bush did was upset Dan Rather because he served in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. (I cruised around the Mediterranean on a submarine; does that make me unpatriotic?)

The fact that Ms. Mayo was able to board her plane with a screwdriver and other banned items is what bothers me. Surely, all a security screener had to do was look at her eyes to know she needed attention. I suppose that would be considered profiling by some, but I don't see it that way. Profiling based on race, religion, or ethnicity is wrong, but looking for crazy people is not profiling. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple question.


On the Web:

Fish or Cut Bait by Bob Ciminel

Bob Ciminel's articles may include satire and parody, and mix fact with fiction.
He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference. Bob lives in Roswell, Georgia, and works for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations.  He is also a conductor on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.
Contact Bob at

Bob Ciminel ©2001 - 2006
All Rights Reserved

Publish A Letter on SitNews
        Read Letters/Opinions
Submit A Letter to the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska