Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Fear Mongering, Profiling, Flight 297 Viral E-Mail

I received a forwarded e-mail (the worst kind) today from a friend's mother who usually sends me these kinds of e-mails in order to debunk them. Being as she's a reasonably liberal older person in a conservative town, she's more often than not a target for such fear mongering, smear e-mails. This one was a great read, complete with heroic feats and amazing courage. It's almost a shame it wasn't true.

It seems that a man named Theodore Petruna took it upon himself to tell the real tale of the reason Air Tran Flight 297 from Atlanta to Houston was delayed on November 17th, 2009; the full story that the media wouldn't tell (that "media" being Fox News).  And the proof is in the brown-skin hating pudding because Mr. Petruna says he was on the flight.

The real reason the flight was delayed? Muslim terrorists on a dry run!

►Continue reading The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Fear Mongering, Profiling, Flight 297 Viral E-Mail

Muslim terrorists on a dry run?! And we weren't told about it! That's unbelievable! And by unbelievable, I mean NOT believable. Not believable because it isn't true.

I hesitate to include this e-mail and further pollute the blogosphere with this crap but in the interest of fairness, I'll include it in its entirety with emphasis on questions I have regarding his tale. Here's Mr. Petruna's e-mail:

One week ago, I went to Ohio on business and to see my father. On Tuesday, November the 17th, I returned home. If you read the papers the 18th you may have seen a blurb where a AirTran flight was cancelled from Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone before takeoff. It was on Fox.
This was NOT what happened!
I was in 1st class coming home. 11 Muslim men got on the plane in full attire[1]. 2 sat in 1st class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the Plane all the way to the back. As the plane taxied to the runway the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with. At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back[2] and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively. This took the 1st stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time. He ignored her as if she was not there.
The 2nd man who answered the phone did the same and this took out the 2nd stewardess. In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger Muslims, one in the back, isle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before[3], and were very loud about it.
Now….they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad. If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her. (don’t ask me[4]….I don’t make the rules, but I’ve studied) The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time. To which one of the men said “shut up infidel dog!” She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic. At that exact moment, all 11 of them got up and started to walk the cabin. This is where I had had enough! I got up and started to the back[5] where I heard a voice behind me from another Texan twice my size say “I got your back.” I grabbed the man who had been on the phone by the arm and said “you WILL go sit down or you Will be thrown from this plane!” As I “led” him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed out with him. I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, “You WILL do the same!” He protested but adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to go.
As I escorted him forward the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered. Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control. I was happy to oblige actually. There was some commotion in the back, but within moments, all 11 were escorted off the plane. They then unloaded their luggage.
We talked about the occurrence and were in disbelief that it had happen, when suddenly, the door open again and on walked all 11!! Stone faced, eyes front and robotic (the only way I can describe it). The stewardess from the back had been in tears and when she saw this, she was having NONE of it!
Being that I was up front, I heard and saw the whole ordeal. She told the TSA agent there was NO WAY she was staying on the plane with these men. The agent told her they had searched them and were going to go through their luggage with a fine tooth comb and that they were allowed to proceed to Houston. The captain and co-captain came out and told the agent “we and our crew will not fly this plane!” After a word or two, the entire crew, luggage in tow, left the plane. 5 minutes later, the cabin door opened again and a whole new crew walked on.
Again…..this is where I had had enough!!! I got up and asked “What the hell is going on!?!?” I was told to take my seat. They were sorry for the delay and I would be home shortly. I said “I’m getting off this plane”. The stewardess sternly told me that she could not allow me to get off. (now I’m mad!) I said “I am a grown man who bought this ticket, who’s time is mine with a family at home and I am going through that door, or I’m going through that door with you under my arm!! But I am going through that door!!” And I heard a voice behind me say “so am I”. Then everyone behind us started to get up and say the same. Within 2 minutes, I was walking off that plane where I was met with more agents who asked me to write a statement. I had 5 hours to kill at this point so why the hell not. Due to the amount of people who got off that flight, it was cancelled.[6] I was supposed to be in Houston at 6pm. I got here at 12:30 am.
Look up the date. Flight 297 Atlanta to Houston. Fox did report only the delay caused by cell phone on November 18th.
If this wasn’t a dry run, I don’t know what one is. They wanted to see how TSA would handle it, how the crew would handle it, and how the passengers would handle it.
I’m telling this to you because I want you to know.
The threat is real. I saw it with my own eyes.[7]
There are so many holes in this story it is impossible to believe. Let's start from the top.

[1] "11 Muslims..." How does Mr. Petruna know what religion these people believe in? Contrary to his statement that they were in "full attire" the airline crew states they were dressed just like anyone else on the plane. And why would supposed terrorists being attention to themselves by wearing traditional Middle Eastern garb?

[2] The person in question "pulled out his cell phone and called one of his companions in the back." Since Mr. Petruna was in first class, how could he possibly know who the person was allegedly calling, especially when according to witness Nancy Deveikis seated in seat 29A, the passenger in question was sitting directly in front of her?  Seat 28A is a l-o-o-o-ng way from first class.

[3] The porn video.  If Mr. Petruna was in first class, how could he possibly know what two passengers in the back were watching and when it was recorded?

[4] "Don't ask" about how Petruna knows of these crazy Jihadist customs that Muslims partake in.  Don't worry, Ted.  We won't.

[5] 11 scary Muslims get up simultaneously and Petruna has had enough and walks to the back to confront them?  What a brave, brave man he is.

[6] "The flight was cancelled." Actually, no. After the delay, all passengers were given the option to stay on the plane or deboard and reschedule and twelve passengers got off the flight. The flight was delayed about 2½ hours and made it's destination to Houston's Hobby Airport apparently without incident.

[7] "The threat is real. I saw it with my own eyes" Well Ted Petruna must have Superman X-ray vision because according to the flight manifest, he wasn't even on the plane.
After conducting additional research into this situation, [Air Tran has] verified, according to flight manifests (legally binding documents) that the individual that allegedly created a first-hand account of events on-board AirTran Airways flight 297, a Theodore Petruna, was never actually on-board the flight.
According to all available records, Mr. Petruna’s trip originated from Akron-Canton, Ohio (CAK) on AirTran flight 205. This flight arrived at the gate in Atlanta at 5:06 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Flight 297, the flight which Mr. Petruna allegedly wrote a first-hand account of, originally pushed back from its gate in Atlanta at 4:40 p.m. EST, a full 26 minutes before flight 205 arrived at the gate in Atlanta making this flight connection impossible.
While Mr. Petruna was originally scheduled to begin his journey on AirTran flight 202 from CAK and connect to flight 297 in Atlanta he did not make that original flight.
Oooooh!!! Thanks for playing, Ted. We have some lovely parting gifts for you.

Just as I did above, the website Inside AirTran rebutted the e-mail (which unfortunately has since gone viral) point by point in greater detail discrediting this pathetic attention seeker. Snopes.com once again does a superb job compiling reports and stories to get at the heart of the matter, that being that Ted Petruna is a racist, lying sack of shit.

Nancy Dukeikis (the witness named above actually on the flight) said it wasn't a cell phone at all but a camera and because of poor communication and a passenger that didn't speak English, the whole thing got blown out of proportion.
..."He was not talking on a cell phone, it was a camera," said Nancy Deveikis of Marietta. "He was looking at pictures."
A flight attendant asked the man twice to turn off the device, Deveikis said. But it was clear the man did not speak English, she said. Although the man was traveling with others, the rest of the group was seated throughout the plane.
..."She grabbed it from his hand and basically said I'll be holding this until you get off the plane,"Deveikis said.
...Deveikis said she never heard the one flight attendant use the word "phone" when speaking to the man.
These types of stories play to the fear in us of things unknown. The jingoism has gotten to a boiling point in this country for all the wrong reasons. Xenophobia has run rampant. And if you live in fear, then the terrorists have already beaten you. They've already won.

In this day and age of reality television, flying boys in UFO balloons and White House party crashers, we all need to be a little leery of stories that are too outrageous to be true. Because they usually are.

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