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America West acted wisely

By Chris Jarvis
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
December 3, 1999
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To the editor,

I would like to comment in reference to the two articles printed on Tuesday concerning the two Middle Eastern men who were detained and questioned by authorities after an America West flight was grounded.

I believe any attempt to sue America West over this issue would be insane.

I don't think the incident involved any true prejudice; it was simply a matter of social insecurity and personal judgment. Based on recent historical events, American society tends to associate Middle Easterners with terrorism. This insecurity caused the flight attendants to make a judgment based upon someone's outward appearance. Apparently this was also enhanced by behavior that attendants are taught to typify with a potential terrorist. Everyone practices this type of judgment many times over the course of a day. It is simply a matter of how they act on this judgment.

Although the two men were embarrassed and inconvenienced, this is a very small price to pay for flight safety. If a lawsuit were filed and won, it might cause airlines to restrain themselves and perhaps miss a suspicious individual with sincere criminal intent. Knowing that airline attendants are currently taking this kind of active role to watch for suspicious behavior actually makes me believe flying is safer. Granted, it is wrong to judge someone solely on nationality or ethnicity, however, potentially saving 200 lives is more important than saving two individuals from embarrassment.

Chris Jarvis

Political science sophomore

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