What If The A-Holes Freaking Out In Public Are Terrorizing Us On Purpose?
Monday, some asshole threw a fit on an American Airlines flight landing in Salt Lake City from Los Angeles. The staff, which isn't compensated nearly enough to host impromptu live productions of "The Jerry Springer Show," identified the asshole as Timothy Armstrong, a 61-year-old grown ass man from Las Vegas.
Multiple videos show Armstrong berating the flight crew at the front of the plane and growling like a mad dog while seemingly trying to eat his face mask. He screamed at the crew that they couldn't "hold him" on the flight while it's on the ground, but they were still in the air, as a crew member patiently explained. This was around noon so you wonder how drunk could he have been, unless he was still operating on the same drunk from the previous evening.
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Dennis Brauch, who recorded the incident, said:
"He began by yelling at the Asian woman in front of me to sit down when she was standing to deal with a back issue," he said. "He proceeded to tell multiple flight attendants that she and her companion 'didn't belong here.' After asking him to calm down the man went into a complete meltdown of racist, sexist and belligerent comments, culminating in his arrest at the gate."
Was he drunk or just rehearsing his speech for the next Conservative Political Action Conference? After he was ordered to sit down, he shouted “Joe Biden! Really?" for a while, which is about as coherent as the GOP presidential nominee will be in 2024.
When the flight actually landed, the Salt Lake City Police boarded, took Armstrong into custody, and escorted him off the plane. Paramedics took him to the hospital. This is the sort of white-glove treatment you receive when you are deranged and violent on a flight while white.
I usually don't want to give too much attention to some random asshole when there are so many prominent assholes to rip apart, and airlines have long served as a microcosm of society that seems to bring out the worst in people. But lately, the escalating number of airplane rages and grocery store rampages feel purposeful, like a form of deliberate stochastic terrorism intended to keep us in a perpetual state of fear. Fox News's white power hours are devoted to all the apparent crime in Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, or just about anywhere Black people gather in numbers larger than a single digit.
The "Coughing Karen" maskhole has been identified as Janene Hoskovek who works at @SAP. I wonder if her employer e… https://t.co/diD5PaMGLo— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@BrooklynDad_Defiant!)1631107980.0
But very angry white people are freaking out in supermarkets, like the dullard in Nebraska recorded mocking the public health guidelines in a supermarket, the place where we keep our food.
Even if Nebraska had better vaccination rates, it's never ideal when strangers cough on you. I feel like if Americans visited a country for the first time and some asshole in a market deliberately coughed on them, they'd never shut up about it. When the cougher is called a “Karen," which I admit is a little played out now, she said, “You're such sheep!" and explained that she's not wearing a mask indoors because she's not sick and neither is the person she keeps coughing on. Germ theory probably isn't one of her core competencies.
Nebraska has no mask mandate, not that assholes like her would comply. She claimed she has allergies but that doesn't excuse hacking all over the fresh produce.
We're just a few days away from annual 9/11-related jingoism but I'd feel more patriotic if I wasn't worried that some of my fellow citizens might snap and kill me at Trader Joe's.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."