How Stupid Can You Be?: The Story of the Guy Who Tried to Take Over a Plane Yesterday

Everyone says that for entertainment purposes, your writing should have a concise, descriptive, attention-grabbing title, and I really screwed the pooch on this one, didn’t I? Oh well. I promise this will be both short and worth the read.

What Happened

Delta flight 386 departed from Los Angeles heading to Nashville yesterday at about 11:30 a.m. At some point between California and New Mexico, a passenger stood up and attempted to breach the plane’s cockpit, presumably in an effort to hijack the flight. In a move that will assuredly be immortalized in television or film sometime in the next five or ten years, a flight attendant in oxford shoes, trousers, a vest, and what appears to be a purple shirt, together with the help of some other passengers, corralled the attempted hijacker and zip-tied him until he could be formally arrested when the plan made an emergency landing in Albuquerque. The photo here was first shared by @NoKapRich on Twitter, and shows the flight attendant who subdued the would-be hijacker.

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How Stupid Can You Be?

First of all, there were no injuries indicated in any of the reports I’ve read, and for that I am thankful. And the actions of the flight attendant crew in general and the bevested man pictured specifically are undoubtedly heroic. Personally I can’t wait until there is some additional footage available to watch exactly what happened. There are some clips out there already like this one, but all of them show the aftermath and not the attempted break itself.

Maybe this person is mentally ill. I suppose that you would have to have some sort of mental handicap to even think of hijacking a plane, especially post-9/11 and especially when everyone and their dog has a smartphone that can record everything. But whatever his mental capacity, we can all agree that it is an objectively stupid thing to do.

The plane made an emergency landing in New Mexico where the man was arrested and turned over to the FBI. That’s how serious it is to act like a fool on a plane. FBI. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Federal. That’s not Deputy Enos and the Duke boys. This is J. Edgar Hoover and the outrageously long, freakishly strong arm of the United States government. And the feds don’t screw around, especially with planes. This guy, if found competent to stand trial, will spend a lot of time in the pokey when this is all said and done.

This isn’t a crime of passion, right? No one decides last minute to hijack a plane, right? Surely not. That wouldn’t fly (no pun intended). You can’t get on a plane armed, that means it would take planning to figure out how to actually overpower people. But even then there’s almost no possible way to account for the air marshal undercover as a passenger, or the heroic instincts of the flight crew, flight attendants, or passengers. And it’s not like a bar fight that gets out of hand and someone kills someone else. It’s not the jilted lover discovering that their partner has someone on the side and so the jilted one kills the other two. It’s not Ziggy killing Double G. This required either some sort of malice aforethought or possibly unseen-before levels of stupidity.

This is either something that took incredible planning that was still foiled by the foresight and immediate actions of the flight crew, or this guy is so unhinged that he acted without the slightest whisper of rationality in his mind.

Whatever happened, the flight attendants and other passengers who helped bring this particular moron down deserve accolades of some sort. A raise and maybe a few extra vacation days for the crew, maybe a couple of first-class vouchers for the passengers. Something, anyway. But the moral of this story is clear: DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TRY TO HIJACK A PLANE BECAUSE IT IS VERY DIFFICULT AND EVEN MORE STUPID AND YOU WILL BE BROUGHT TO SWIFT JUSTICE BY BADASS FLIGHT ATTENDANTS.

Have a great Saturday, everyone!

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