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Just One of Thousands of Reasons Why I’ll Never Fly Again

Nightmare at 20,000 feet

Nightmare at 20,000 feet

Here’s today’s police state update.

A BLIND INTERNATIONAL interpreter who says he was dragged off a Belgium-bound flight, arrested and held in custody in Philadelphia for hours without food or water faces an arraignment Thursday.

His crime: He questioned why his U.S. Airways flight was delayed nearly two hours.

Nicola Cantisani, 61, of Brussels, Belgium, a professional translator who has been blind since birth, was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, police said.

Apparently the plane Cantisani and his wife were on was sitting on the tarmac for about 2 hours with no explanation provided for the delay. Passengers couldn’t use their cell phones and were told to stay in their seats. I have been through this kind of experience, and it’s extremely frustrating when the airline crew won’t give you any information and you’re not allowed to leave the plane or even use the bathroom. I can’t even imagine what it would be like for someone who is blind. Isn’t it bad enough that you are treated like a criminal when you go to an airport these days? Can you believe my 83 year-old mom has several times been pulled out of line and patted down by airline security thugs? I haven’t flown since before 9/11, and I plan never to fly again. I prefer driving where I at least have the illusion of control over my surroundings.

Anyway, back to Mr. Cantisani and the horrendous ordeal that has given him posttraumatic nightmares.

Cantisani said he spoke with the captain, who told him the plane was having mechanical problems. He then returned to his seat.

Shortly afterward, another passenger made a remark about the crew, prompting three Philadelphia Police officers to escort that man off the plane, Cantisani said.

Hey, at least that poor guy was able to escape the plane, where he was being held hostage by power-mad airline employees (no offense to anyone who works for the airlines).

Next airline security arrived to remove Cantisani from the plane, supposedly for the crime of asking why there was such a long delay.

He said the officers yanked Cantisani from his seat and dragged him off the plane, injuring his hand, which was gripping his seat belt . Then they forced him into a wheelchair.

At one point, an officer held him “by the throat,” he said.

[….]

During the struggle with police, Cantisani said, he lost his retractable walking cane, making him unable to navigate.

Officers told him they had done the “blind test” and didn’t believe he was blind, he said.

Vanore said he knew of no “blind test” administered by police.

Cantisani claimed he was held in police custody at the airport from about 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. without food, water or access to his phone or outside communication.

His wife, who had followed him off the plane, said she “was asking a lot of questions” but got no explanation.

After speaking with the officers, Cantisani – who translates several languages for international conferences – said he was asked how much English he spoke and was questioned by a psychiatrist.

Finally Cantisani was taken to a police station, where he still couldn’t convince anyone that he was blind. He was thrown into a cell and, since he didn’t have his cane, he bumped into something and injured his head so badly he was bleeding. He was held until the following night.

Oh, and Cantisani doesn’t plan to return for his arraignment in Philadelphia. Can you blame him? He’s just lucky he wasn’t tasered by Airport security people like so many others have been. Remember this horror story from the Phoenix airport? How about this story from Vancouver?

Ridicule me if you want to. I’m never getting on another airplane as long as I live.

44 Responses

  1. Did he have brown skin?

    (Cuz then it’s okay)

    /snark

  2. We’re number One! We’re number One!

    For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America’s rank as the world’s No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars.

    http://news.aol.com/story/_a/record-number-of-americans-in-prison/20080228163909990001?ncid=NWS00010000000001

    • I know three people in my life who have recently been arrested and jailed for BS, what possible purpose is served by them being jailed, charges.

      Four days in jail for one, all are traumatized.

      Guess what, there’s a LOT of money in the incarceration industry, which dehumanizes the inmates and their jailers.

      I feel so bad for this gentleman.

      I feel bad for our country.

      • Guess what, there’s a LOT of money in the incarceration industry,…….

        Indeed. There is lots of dough to be made by arresting your ass….particularly states that use private prisons.
        cha chin. And people invest in these private prisons. Kinds of scary….we can’t manufacture much, but we can be a income stream .

    • I don’t think that is gooood news.

  3. i think airline security police are basically souped up mall cops

    • Unfortunately, they have weapons though. And the backing of DHS.

    • I think you give them too much credit.

    • For several years, my husband was assigned to the airport as a New Orleans firefighter. He got to know the place extremely well and told me that the whole TSA routine was total b.s., since the area outside the terminal on the airfield leaks like a flipping sieve. Almost anyone with a stolen or fake uniform could just walk right in. Airport security has turned into one big, unpleasant hassle and the worst of it is that it’s basically so much window dressing. But then, much of what our government approves in the name of “security” is.

  4. Sounds like a schedule screwup and the airline had to pin the blame on someone…….

  5. I smell a huge huge huge lawsuit.

    • I see a nine figure settlement in this mans future!

      • Yep, how to get rich, get roughed up by various law enforcement agencies then get locked up and dehumanized and roughed up further but then… get big bucks!

        Except, every municipality, county and parish will plead their poverty stricken status in this ecomonic “crisis”. No blood from a turnip, y’know.

        Where shall that big settlement money come from?

  6. i agree boston id rather drive now to ….

  7. Scary from start to finish. I hadn’t read about Gotbaum. They’re seriously saying that she managed to strangle herself with her hands cuffed? I’m at a loss for words.

    And I have to fly out of Philly in a couple of weeks. It really is a cr@p hole of an airport.

    • Not only were her hands cuffed behind her back, but she was cuffed to some heavy piece of furniture.

      • She was obviously emotionally disturbed and should have been taken to a hospital.

  8. What made them think he could see?

    • I think it was because he was blind from birth. People who are blind from birth are often very adept in their movements-they don’t move the way an actor playing a “visually impaired” person would.
      Anyway those security men were probably just plain ignorant, or worse (sadistic abusers of power).

  9. BB: Me too–I’ve been on a plane twice since 9/11. Used to fly all the time and thought the service was getting horrendous before that. but since then, sheesh! I refuse to be treated like a criminal when I’m not even committing a crime.

    • I got sick and tired of missing connections and having to wait for hours or even overnight. Flying was a nightmare even before 9/11,

  10. Nightmare at 20,000 feet
    **********
    I saw that when it was “first run” on TV. That was one of the most disturbing Twilight Zones” ********

    • The most disturbing one I ever saw was the one about the last man alive at the end of the world. He find a library with lots of books to read and then he breaks his glasses. That is nighmarish for anyone who is nearsighted.

      Another one that gave me nightmares was the one about the gambler and the one armed bandit.

  11. Good God….

    Philadelphia resident hanging his head in shame….

    And yes, this man will get paid!

    • I think he would rather just stay out of the U.S. and try to recover from his PTSTD.

  12. I drive across country rather than fly. The Airlines are all horrible — and the thing is that people PAY to get treated like criminals. And I have done 5 round trips rather than fly and be treated like a criminal.

    Security at airports is a joke — rejects from McDonalds are doing the “job”.

    But the problem is that the mistreatment of passengers makes a lot of people feel “safer” — like the idiots in “security” who feel women up — claiming that we might have boob bombs.

    • I love to drive cross country–have driven from here to my parents’ home in Indiana many times. I even drove to Tampa for an academic conference once rather than fly.

  13. I thought Congress had passed some type of legislation that if the flight was delayed they could not keep the plane out on the tarmac past a certain amount of time and they had to provide at least water and bathroom use to the passengers. I thought it came about after one of those ungodly 4 hour delays on the tarmac.

    Maybe it never got passed:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,351995,00.html

    • It wouldn’t surprise me these days if there were a law and the airlines ignored it. Does anyone in authority obey the law anymore? We have tax cheaters and thugs running “our” government, we have no right of habeas corpus, free speech is questionable, we have no independent media, and we effectively live in a dictatorship.

  14. Geez, BB, that is a horrible story. What have we come to?

    And, although I really, really, REALLY have to fly for my job and to get back home to you guys, I agree with you about your concerns. If I could drive home to see my friends and family, I would, but Oz has a lot of water between it and the States.

    • Wow, I just looked at the time for you guys and realized it is almost time for the morning read by mablue. The zombie shift isn’t keeping up their end of the bargain. Maybe we need Hillary to run for some sort of office again.

      (And, may I add that I totally miss her?)

  15. Hey BB!

    myiq – are you saying that sleep comes easier for you these days since PBO became our fearless leader?

  16. The story of Mr. Dziekanski (tasered to death at the Vancouver airport) makes me shake with rage.

    The camera vid taken by a witness is extremely disturbing, to say the least.

    Altho the internal investigation “cleared” the officers, a public hearing was held, and altho there were admissions of officers LYING, all this man’s poor mother received (so far) was a weak-assed “sorry”. Completely unsatisfactory result. A case of “who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes”. They went with “me”.

    I see scarlet red every time this heinous CRIME is brought up.

    • And he is just one of quite a few victims who have died from being tasered!

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