GOP Senators Whine About Proposed No-Fly List For Anti-Mask A-Holes

Republicans are once again defending the rights of assholes, their largest constituency. Eight GOP senators oppose the creation of a federal “no-fly” list for disruptive passengers. They claim that because most recent dust-ups on airplanes involve entitled brats who won’t wear masks, such a list would “seemingly equate” these fools with terrorists. Well, if the shoe bomber designation fits, they should appear on the list.

Delta Airlines had specifically requested that the Department of Justice create the list barring passengers "convicted of on-air disruptions" from using any commercial air service provider. It’s not hard to see why: Reported incidents of unruly passengers on commercial airlines skyrocketed after 2020. In the decade prior, the Federal Aviation Administration investigated a total of 1,548 cases involving bad behavior from passengers, but theFAA recorded 5,981 unruly passenger incidents in 2021 alone. A whopping 4,290 — 72 percent — were mask-related. As of February 8, there were 394 incidents in 2022, of which 255 were related to face masks.

REMEMBER? Flying The Non-Friendly Skies With Anti-Mask A-Holes

“Unruly passenger” is quite the euphemism. In fact, the anti-maskers who freak out during a flight appear violently disturbed, and they didn’t even see a monster on the wing.

The eight Republicans who’d like to maintain the current Wild West atmosphere on airlines are Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming, Mike Lee from Utah, James Lankford from Oklahoma, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott from Florida, Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven from North Dakota, and Ted Cruz from Texas. They sent Attorney General Merrick Garland a Valentine’s Day missive expressing their concerns for unhinged air travelers.

“While we strongly condemn any violence towards airline workers, there is significant uncertainty around the efficacy of this mandate, as highlighted by the CEO of Southwest Airlines during a recent Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing,” the senators wrote. “Creating a federal ‘no-fly’ list for unruly passengers who are skeptical of this mandate would seemingly equate them to terrorists who seek to actively take the lives of Americans and perpetrate attacks on the homeland.”

This is absurd. I’ve seen passengers who were “skeptical" of the fasten seatbelt rule, but that wouldn’t justify a refusal to comply. It is possible to oppose mask mandates without being an asshole about it, although this hasn’t really played out in the field.

The Gang of Eight argued that the Transportation Security Administration “was created in the wake of 9/11 to protect Americans from future horrific attacks, not to regulate human behavior onboard flights.” However, regulating human behavior when 100 people are packed into a flying sardine can at 30,000 feet is how airlines maintain safety. The Republican senators claim that the requested “no-fly” list would "result in a severe restriction on the ability of citizens to fully exercise their constitutional right to engage in interstate transportation.” Anti-mask dummies are free to drive wherever they want with their faces hanging out. There’s no constitutional right to air travel, and private businesses can ban known assholes from using their service. Bars that prohibit rowdy customers from returning aren’t equating them to terrorists, who they’d also prefer not patronize the establishment.

REMEMBER?: What If The A-Holes Freaking Out In Public Are Terrorizing Us On Purpose?

The “no-fly” list that the federal government maintains existed prior to 9/11 and contained just 16 people considered "a specific known or suspected threat to aviation.” By 2005, there were 70,000 people on the “no-fly” and “selectee” lists. Yes, there’ve been issues with the system, including false positives, but it’s still hard to work up any sympathy for anyone barred from air travel because they refused to wear a mask. This needlessly jeopardizes the health of fellow passengers and airline workers, and even if you believe the science is bullshit because of something you saw on YouTube, that’s no excuse for violence. My eight-year-old son has managed to wear a mask without complaint for several hours a day since in-person schooling resumed. Adults can wear a mask on their flight to Vegas.

[Washington Post]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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