The headline in this morning's Atlanta Journal reads:
"Lawsuit accuses Delta pilot of beer-fueled belligerence"
Which sounds pretty bad. I mean after all, drunken, belligerent people are not exactly the kind of people you want at the controls of a jumbo jet - especially the one you happen to be on. But let's look a little closer. From the article:
"Delta flight attendant Jeanette French claims in the suit filed Friday in Fulton County State Court that pilot Loren Gus Pryor attacked her during an overnight layover in the African city. The Georgia woman claims the pilot from Texas was among a group from the Delta flight who were swilling beer taken from their aircraft and that they were making a scene while they were poolside at the Pullman Teranga Hotel in August 2008.
When she told them to cool it and warned that alcohol was illegal there, Pryor allegedly lashed out at her, grabbing her by the shoulder, twisting her around and shoving her away.
"You're not my mother," the lawsuit claims he said. "Now get the [expletive] out of here." He also allegedly warned her, as nearby pilots laughed and shouted more obscenities, that "You don't want to [expletive] with me."
Eubanks (French's attorney) wrote in the suit that her client is suffering "fear, anxiety, worry and severe emotional distress" (my emphasis) over the incident and what followed.
Holy mackerel Steve - are you kidding me? Now I'd love to hear the other side of the story, but for now, let's concede that every word of Ms French's version is true. Which would mean this Pryor guy is one first class jerk. He drank way too many beers, got drunk and mouthed off to a flight attendant. This is the kind of situation where you would just love to see some 300 pound gorilla materialize and give the guy a good swift kick in the pants.
But a lawsuit? Fear, anxiety, worry, emotional distress? Hasn't this gal ever been in a bar before, or at the least a bar mitzvah? Steve, you may want to lie down after I tell you this, but alcohol has the annoying habit of turning guys into loud mouthed jerks. So what?
Ms French is also suing Delta for "... failing to properly investigate the alleged incident and then telling her she might have to fly with Pryor again."
Well whoop de freaking do. Steve, I'm a tree hugging, feminist loving, hyper-sensitive liberal, as apt to stick a posey in a gun barrel as any hippie who ever walked the Earth. But even I don't get this one.
We don't live in a perfect world. Lots of women have had to endure all kinds of abuse. Ex-husbands and boyfriends treat them like glorified punching bags. They get stalked, harrassed, kidnapped, stabbed, raped - and worse. Personally, my solution would be to just take their tormentors out back and administer a little quick surgery with a rusty knife. In any case, justice demands that we all make it our business as responsible citizens to do everything we can to put an end to this. But you know something? Ridiculous, opportunistic suits like this trivialize the whole process and in my opinion make it incrementally more difficult for a woman who has genuinely suffered to obtain satisfaction in court.
What do you think?