When an Seattle-Tacoma International Airport employee stole an Alaska Airlines turboprop plane this Friday, the nation anxiously watched as reports came in of the Q400 Horizon doing “incredible maneuvers” over the Puget Sound before crashing in a wooded area on an island nearby.
After audio recordings of communications with air traffic control were released, a heartbreaking tale of a suicidal man looking for a last “moment of serenity” emerged. The only person on board the aircraft was 29-year-old Richard Russell, who was a fully-credentialed ground services worker responsible for loading and unloading passengers’ luggage and towing aircraft.
Naturally, the event exposed blind spots in airport security that now need to be addressed. But no one saw this coming. Russell had passed background checks and as far as anyone knows, did not have any flying experience.
On Saturday morning, well after Russell was identified as the person who stole the plane and died in the fiery aftermath, far-right Christian radio host and American Family Association founder Bryan Fischer called for action: Ban Muslims from airport ground crews.
“Might be a good idea to keep Muslims from serving on ground crews,” Fischer tweeted while linking to a WSJ report on the story.
“Not that all of them would pull a stunt like this, but we don’t have any way of telling the difference between the ones who would and the ones who wouldn’t.”
Might be a good idea to keep Muslims from serving on ground crews. Not that all of them would pull a stunt like this, but we don't have any way of telling the difference between the ones who would and the ones who wouldn't. https://t.co/dJseAivESV @WSJ
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) August 12, 2018
Ironically, the man who stole and crashed the plane reportedly shared Fischer’s religious beliefs.
According to The Seattle Times, Russell was a Christian who “was active in church, and served as a leader in the local Christian youth ministry, Young Life.”
Fischer’s faulty and Islamophobic logic wasn’t lost on most people who commented on his tweet.
Might want to prevent white guys from having guns. Not all of them might pull a stunt like a mass shooting, but we don’t have any way of knowing which ones will and which ones won’t.
— Katie Mary (@montryk) August 12, 2018
So, hey @jack, is this a matter for the media to verify or you cool with the blatant racism and bigotry here? Just asking.
— Lil Donny 2 Scoops (@hellabitz) August 12, 2018
What was it the Bible said about bearing false witness, Bryan? Did it say it's totally awesome? Is that it? Is that what it says?
— Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin) August 12, 2018
Corrected for the pilot’s religion:
“Not that all Christians would pull a stunt like this, but we don't have any way of telling the difference between the ones who would and the ones who wouldn't.”
So the best thing is to exclude all Christians from the ramp area, correct?
— Stephen Gay (@airbusguy2000) August 13, 2018
As side from the fact that the man in question is white and Christian; you should personally thank all the Muslim who are serving in our military, for protecting your right to lie and spew hatred. Deplorables are stupid and they lie.
— nunya (@crissy_oakley) August 12, 2018
With this logic, you shouldn’t have white males serving on ground crews either.
Let’s just say in an alternate universe your bigoted idea was implemented. How would you tell the difference between who is a Muslim and who isn’t?
— Mr. J (@zeefact) August 12, 2018
[Right Wing Watch] Featured image via screen grab