The Right to Defend Knees (which Amendment is that?)

By now you’ve probably all heard the tale of the brave man who valiantly defended all of America’s knees while defending his own. On a flight from Newark to Denver, one lone hero said “F you” (I think literally) to the PC army that wants everyone to “act civilized” and to “coexist” with some minimal level of “common courtesy”. The pilot, the airline and the FAA somehow misunderstood his message and diverted the plane to Chicago.

I (and apparently a lot of other people) found the story intriguing. Like the man on the New York subway who stakes out his space and complains loudly when someone has the nerve to brush against him (do they make a Body Defender for the subway?), the guy in the story took a stand by sitting down, stretching out and making sure that no one else could do the same.

I have never taken such a bold stand. As a rule, I often don’t lean my seat back on the plane, and when I do it’s always a slow and slight easing back to avoid any sudden trauma or confrontation. My older daughter takes it to the extreme; she’s like the Mother Theresa of airline passengers, if you substitute leg cramping for leprosy. No matter how far back the guy in front of her manages to recline his seat, my daughter as a fundamental tenet of her unique religion will NEVER EVER touch the button to recline her seat even a centimeter. It is an admirably extreme and specific application of the Golden Rule.

I had a few other specific reactions to and questions about the story which I haven’t seen discussed elsewhere so I thought I should weigh in. First of all, I was disappointed and somewhat outraged to hear that neither the knee-defending man nor the knee-attacking water-throwing woman were arrested and jailed. I feel strongly that if the behavior warrants plane diversion, then it also demands jail time. In my opinion, there is no gap on the continuum between “bad enough to divert a plane” and “bad enough to go to jail”.

So, what happened right after these two combative souls were given the good news that they weren’t going to the pokey? Presumably they immediately booked new flights, this time from Chicago to Denver. I really wonder how that all went. Assuming that they had no trouble with the rebooking and the flying, at a minimum each of them had added an hour or two of knee cramping to their original itinerary.

Or did at least one of them head over to Avis, probably to book an SUV?

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