No matter your views on the epic battle between Dr. Dao and United Airlines, you have to admit that it’s made for some wonderful all-American humor.
I continue to be agnostic about the Dr. Dao versus United Airlines kerfuffle, in that I think all concerned behaved badly. The fact that United took advantage of laws allowing overbooking and allowed passengers to board when it already knew it needed states, that Republic (its subcontractor) failed to negotiate a peaceful solution with Dr. Dao, and that Chicago’s airport security was unnecessarily rough is all bad. As Scott Kirwin said in a must-read post here, as competition amongst airlines has diminished, airlines have gotten careless and unforgivably arrogant.
However, Dao’s behavior was also careless and unforgivably arrogant (or maybe insane). His screaming hysterically, running back on the plane, and violently resisting being removed from the flight was simply asking for the police to escalate their force. Once it was inevitable that he was going to be booted, he really needed to yield gracefully and sue later.
That, incidentally, is the same point I’ve made with those videos of ugly arrests involve police and black men or women. Once it’s clear they’ve got you, yield gracefully or you’re in for a world of hurt. That’s not a nice thing to have to say, but it’s true. And what’s true for black Americans is true for the Vietnamese Dr. David Dao.
As best as I can tell, the only person who comes off looking good in this entire debacle is Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio. He did a great, low-key press conference, I was impressed:
There’s been one really wonderful thing to come out of the whole United Airlines debacle, and that’s the collective wit of the American people. Steven Hayward put together a great compilation, but I have a few he didn’t include: