common sense

Common Sense Is (Still) Dead

Common sense was buried in 2010 after a long and somewhat prosperous life.  Since the burial, several people have claimed to have spotted common sense in various places, but of course, none of these claims can be substantiated.  I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but secretly I have hoped that perhaps common sense really faked his death, and was still among us.  After I saw this story, I have little hope.

A few days ago, the news broke concerning a man being forcibly removed from an airline carrier.  United Airlines flight 3411 waited to depart Chicago’s O’Hare airport.  Once all the passengers were onboard, the airline stated they needed four seats on the flight destined for Louisville, Kentucky.  The airline asked four passengers to volunteer when no one did, they randomly selected four passengers to give up their seats.

Three of the passengers got off, with one passenger, David Dao, saying no.  When Mr. Dao further refused, security in the form of police officers, were called in.  Mr. Dao literally went kicking and screaming from the place, with several people in the background yelling in support of Mr. Dao.

Eyewitnesses state that Dao, 69, and a doctor, initially volunteered to give up his seat, however, changed his mind once he was told he could not fly out that day.  Dr. Dao stated he had patients to see the next morning and must be back in time to keep his appointments.

If common sense were still alive I believe he would say something like this.  First, airlines are legally allowed to overbook.  Why?  They say because sometimes people don’t show up.  But wait, this isn’t 1959 where you pay at the counter.  All flights are paid for in advance, so why overbook? If a seat is empty so what, it’s been paid for.  Secondly, there should be protocols in place for extenuating circumstances when passengers are forced to give up a seat.  In this case, this man is a doctor, who has legally pledged through the Hippocratic oath, to do no harm, and in turn be available to his patients.  Someone could have simply stated, “hey this guy is a doctor and must be back”.  Here’s another solution, let’s give even more (in fairness they had offered the doctor around $800) financial incentives to other passengers.  The number gets high enough, someone will volunteer.

None of the people involved are the bad guys.  The airline employees followed current protocol.  The police followed their standard rules of engagement and training.  Mr. Dao is an American citizen, who paid his money, and was simply trying to get home.  The bad guy here is Common Sense, who either got himself killed in 2010, or chooses to hide out on a resort island away from the Washington Beltway, Target Corporations Bathroom policy, and apparently United Airlines protocol on getting 69-year-old men off a plane.

Tim Lollis is Executive Director of Destiny Institute, community relations specialist, and freelance writer. See more articles at

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