Tuesday, April 06, 2010

New form of air travel terrorism: guerrilla existentialism

From MSNBC.com: LONDON - Two women were arrested at a British airport on suspicion of trying to smuggle a dead relative onto a flight bound for Germany, police said on Tuesday.

The 91-year-old deceased man was pushed in a wheelchair through Liverpool's John Lennon airport wearing sunglasses before check-in staff became suspicious and he was prevented from boarding the plane.
It appears these two women were another breed of terrorist: existential guerrillas.

According to their group's Web site, the idea was to smuggle a dead person onto the plane and then reveal the presence of the corpse midway through the flight -- reminding everyone on board of their own mortality.

Transportation experts in North America are already talking about this latest incident possibly leading to an outright ban of corpses in the cabin of all flights.

"First they take away our liquids and gels," groused one rattled air-traveler hearing about the near-boarding-of-a-corpse, "what next? No more dead people? Where does it end?"

"Good thing I didn't book that trip to northern California wine country with my dead grandparents," said another aggravated bystander.

Safety officials, however, have long questioned corpses' even being on commercial flights.

"The airlines have long fought for the rights of corpses," says Dean Tankwell of the Transportation Safety Administration in the United States, "so long as a ticket is purchased for them. The dead don't complain about being 'bumped,' they never have lost luggage, and rarely cause any trouble during a flight."

Until this incident, corpses on air planes has been an open secret, on par with people smuggling their own booze on board.

"So long as nobody made a fuss about the dead person they'd brought on board," says an airline employee who asked not to be identified, "we looked the other way. But if I understand correctly, this new terror cell planned to tell other passengers there was a dead body on board. That could have been catastrophic."

There's a long tradition in western culture that all reminders of death be discouraged and hidden from sight in polite society. After all, how can people think about shopping or tuning into Dancing With the Stars with the thought of their own inevitable demise hanging over their heads?

Security officials who took the guerrilla existentialists into custody said little about what happens next with them.

One investigator who asked not to be identified said, "If these ladies want to be existential -- we'll give them something to be existential about!"

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