Math isn’t under attack
Not from airlines afraid of terrorists, anyway.
Since about 15 people have sent me some version of this story about an economist on an airplane, I thought I’d comment briefly on my take.
Namely, it’s mostly due to the lousy reporting, but people have gotten this all wrong. The article’s headline should have read:
Crazy Woman Removed From Plane
because, really, that’s what happened. Some paranoid freak decided that an integral sign on the page of notes of a swarthy Italian man next to her posed a terrorist threat. She passed a note to the flight attendant. The airline took her off the plane. Done.
Well, almost. I mean, they also took the economist off the plane and questioned him, but I’m willing to believe that is absolutely required when terrorist suspicions are thrown around like this insane woman did.
Maybe it’s my inner New Yorker coming out here, but I’m just so used to sitting next to perfectly normal looking people on the subway who turn out to be utterly insane, that I’m ready to assume anyone at all is fucking nuts. And I know I’m not going out on a limb here by mentioning that note-passers older than 13 are already suspect; get up and walk over to someone if you’re worried.
So, short version: some woman was nuts, she indicated as much to the flight crew, and they removed her from the flight. Math isn’t under attack.