John McGirr, in a blog entry for The Rant Nation, tells of a recent experience with Virgin Airlines. He calls it “My Virgin experience of being a pedophile” (McGirr, 2012). McGirr, a Fireman from Sydney, Australia was flying to Brisbane at the time, sitting next to two children aged about 10 (Jacob, 2012).
McGirr was asked to move seats. When he asked why, the female flight attendant told him the airline’s policy did not allow males to sit beside unaccompanied children. The attendant then asked a nearby woman to swap seats with him. Everyone within earshot became aware that McGirr was being moved for the children’s safety, much to his embarrassment.
The justifications for this misandry are predictable. The first is that all men are potential pedophiles. This bigoted view is backed up by no evidence whatsoever, and is contradicted by billions of men who repeatedly fail to fulfill this alleged potential.
As that argument fails, the bigots take on a more educated appearance with statistics. The claim becomes that the children sitting next to McGirr were at some meaningful risk. It might not be McGirr personally, they’ll grudgingly concede, but it is men, like him.
When all else fails, the last line of defense is the sanctimonious
“even if the chances are remote, even if we save only one child, then it’s worth it.”
We go from always, to sometimes, to a remote chance.
If Virgin is protecting children from remote chances, why are they on the plane?
If we are dealing with remote chances, the female who replaced McGirr is also a risk. Given that some pedophiles try to get into positions of trust, can we trust the airline staff? If we’re going to get hysterical, let’s get hysterical. I’m talking about saving a child here!
As for those statistics, what are the chances of a man actually being a danger? Let’s use Scotland Yard’s figure of “more than one in every 200 adults” (Lusher, Bamber, & Hyder, 2000) . In fact, let’s get hysterical and double the chances. Let’s call it 1:100.
The Australian Government tells us that only 11% of children sexually assaulted are molested by strangers (Richards, 2011). So the chances of pedophiles on the prowl are much less than one at home. Even at hysterical levels, we;re back out to 1:1000.
That means, statistics lovers, that there is 99.9% chance that John McGirr is NOT a pedophile on the prowl.
In some circles, that’s called a safe bet.
It is also ironic to note that if there is a pedophile and victim traveling on the flight, it is more likely that they’ll be traveling together. This, of course, renders Virgin’s policy meaningless.
But, let’s get back to McGirr’s issue. We have determined that the chance of a pedophile sitting next to the children is 0.1%. But that’s all the sleaze is doing. Just sitting. For danger, the bogeyman has to be willing to take some serious risks.
The airline staff assist the children off and on the plane. So the pedophile can only take any action during the flight. The flight from Sydney to Brisbane takes one and a half hours. Lose 15 minutes for take off and the descent when everyone is buckled in and the potential perpetrator has one hour to make his or her move.
To do what?
In a plane full of adults, each with a 99.9% chance of being a decent person, the children are perfectly safe. The opportunities for serious harm are just not there. Even simply touching them would be visible for more than 10 adults at any one time. It only takes one to get suspicious and the game is up.
If it all goes wrong, where would the scumbag run at 20,000 feet?
So, as far as any real danger is concerned, the question actually is what are the odds that McGirr was a brazen, kamikaze-like pedophile? As remote as engine failure. So, why are they asking him to move? It is not, absolutely not, because there is any danger.
It’s because he’s a man. The hysteria that surrounds this issue ensures that McGirr is an easy target to humiliate. This humiliation at the same time elevates the finger-pointers to the status of “Protectors of the Defenseless Children”. How noble.
Unaccompanied children are identified separately when their seats are purchased. Virgin could have organized their booking software to reflect this so called policy. The seat next to the children could have been marked as unavailable. Similarly, when McGirr booked his ticket he had to indicate that he is male. The airline’s software could have seated him, without fuss, away from children.
The problem with either of these options is the chance that Virgin could fly with an empty seat. Now that’s a risk they refuse to take.
Instead, they made sure that they got McGirr’s money, then hypocritically chose to humiliate him as the cheapest and easiest way to enforce their entirely pointless policy.
But what does this mean for society? What happens when people like McGirr get sick of being treated this way? What happens when men refuse to be the witch in the witch hunt?
What happens when men like McGirr refuse to go into burning buildings because there are children inside? Not because they hate children, but they don’t want to be accused of mischief as they carry the child out. What happens when paramedics refuse to give children mouth-to-mouth for fear of losing their job? Or, when ambulancemen refuse to travel alone with a child, regardless of the emergency, because they don’t want the accusations any more?
Paranoia breeds paranoia.
And let’s remember something else. Schools and other groups will organize outings for their children to visit men like McGirr at their fire stations. Indeed, we will encourage these children to respect and admire these fine men and the courageous work they do.
Those children on the plane had the chance to have a casual chat with one of those men. They didn’t have to, and McGirr didn’t have to talk to them. However, had they done so, by far the most likely outcome would have been a trip that was a little bit more interesting. Nothing worse than that.
Let’s be clear. Virgin isolates these children for Virgin’s own benefit. They teach these children to fear men to appease feminist lobbyists, sanctimonious politicians and the hysterical media. They detract from, not add to, community life.
Virgin will have deservedly lost a passenger in McGirr for life. They have also lost me. I will tell as many people as I can about this incident. I hope they too choose something other than the Virgin experience.
Please consider this the next time you fly.
Jacob, P. (2012, August 11). Sydney fireman John McGirr accuses Virgin of discrimination. Retrieved August 14, 2012, from News.com.au: http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/sydney-fireman-john-mcgirr-accuses-virgin-of-discrimination/story-e6frfq80-1226447612104
Lusher, A., Bamber, D., & Hyder, K. (2000, December 31). UK has 250000 paedophiles says police study. Retrieved August 14, 2012, from The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1379946/UK-has-250000-paedophiles-says-police-study.html
McGirr, J. (2012, August 7). My Virgin experience as a Paedophile! Retrieved August 14, 2012, from The Rant Nation: http://therantnation.com/2012/08/07/my-virgin-experience-as-a-paedophile/
Richards, K. (2011, September). Misperceptions about child sex offenders. Retrieved August 14, 2012, from Australian Government: Australian Institute of Criminology: http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/9/A/6/%7B9A6BF515-76DF-4A03-940F-913610809387%7Dtandi429_002.pdf
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