Listen to authority next timeI believe the most important aspect of the United Airlines story is being overlooked. It’s not about overbooked flights or whether airlines should have the right to compel passengers to give up their seats (currently they do).
The most important question this regrettable confrontation raises is what, as a society, we believe citizens should do when persons of authority, such as a security guard or a police officer, direct us to do something. Is it really OK now to simply disregard what a cop or security guard asks (then tells) us to do because we don’t want to?
You can reasonably argue whether United Airlines should have brought in airport security, but once it did, a citizen in a free society has a duty to comply with its instructions. You are certainly free to complain (loudly) as that authority figure escorts you from the plane; threaten to sue, demand to see a manager. But you must comply with those instructions, or you violate the social contract. One reason United called airport security is that people have decided they don’t have to listen to airplane personnel anymore. We can’t continue down this path.Brent Lewellen, San Francisco