If Joan and Robert Vanderhorst had just gotten with the program 16 years ago, two U.S. airlines would have avoided a lot of bother.
Particularly in the age of terrorism, the last thing pilots, flight crews and air travelers need to deal with are unusual-looking youth with low IQs who, frankly, could be duped into carrying backpack nukes onto domestic U.S. flights in a Tehran second. That is what American Airlines was faced with Sunday at the Newark, N.J., airport, forcing the pilot and airline into quick action to ban a 16-year-old boy with Down syndrome from a flight to California and possibly avert a repeat of the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001.
Or at least spare the crew and passengers from having to stare and point for hours on end at an exotic-looking male with a low IQ who, heaven forfend, would want to act all weird . . . and interact with the normal people.
This is what American Airlines bravely nipped in the bud with its bold and decisive action, action made necessary by the selfish refusal of the Vanderhorsts more than a decade and a half ago to abort the abnormal problem child and spare the world a possible terror threat at worst and certain discomfort at best.
Some 92 percent of women have abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis, so one has to wonder what Joan Vanderhorst's problem was.
Religious freakery? Antisocial tendencies?
What, is she nuts? It would seem she'd have to be to inflict such misery on herself and everyone else.
A SOCIETY must have standards, lest mayhem rule. If we start letting the retarded live -- not to mention fly -- it won't be long before the country is overrun by huggers, smilers, wavers and Special Olympics competitors . . . to disastrous effect.
But according to the New York Daily News, it's mayhem we have, and American and United airlines are on the front lines:
Joan and Robert Vanderhorst, of Bakersfield, Calif., said they intend to sue American over the "humiliating" incident at Newark Airport, in which they were told their special needs son posed a "flight risk."SO? That's what you get when you don't take care of your problems when they're small.
"It's defamation," Robert Vanderhorst told the Daily News. "It's a violation of his civil rights and its defamation."
Joan Vanderhorst pulled out her cell phone and started recording the incident on Sunday in which Bede is seen quietly playing with his hat and an American Airlines official warns that she was prohibited from filming "in a security-controlled area."
At one point, Port Authority police were even called on the confused family.
"Nothing like this has ever happened to us before. That's what's so shocking. He's usually our good luck charm. Good things usually happen when Bede is with us," Vanderhorst said.
Bede and his parents had been in Jackson, N.J., visiting family and were eager to make the long return flight home. On a "lark" they had even upgraded their seats to first class, shelling out an extra $625 dollars.
"My wife said, 'oh Bede's never flown first class,' he'll be so excited."
Vanderhorst said Bede, a freshman in high school, has flown "at least 30 times" through his life and has never caused any trouble.
Nothing was different before Sunday's flight, he said. Bede was sticking close to his parents and was not acting unruly, nor was he upset.
But as the family waited to board, an American Airlines official pulled them aside and said the pilot had observed Bede and didn't feel safe allowing him on the plane.
Joan Vanderhorst quickly snapped on her video camera and can be heard sobbing. "We are being singled out," she said. Robert Vanderhorst, an attorney, calmly pleads with the airline official. "He's behaving. He's demonstrating he's not a problem."
The agitated American Airlines employee instead called Port Authority police to escort the family away from the gate.
Vanderhorst said he has spoken with his attorneys about a lawsuit, accusing the airline of violating Bede's civil rights and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
"My son cannot defend himself," he said. "I expect that American Airlines will not give their pilots the ability to discriminate against anyone; gay, black disabled," he said.
The family's trip home deteriorated even further when they were loaded into a full United Airlines flight and placed in the very back row.
"For a second time, we were discriminated against. Segregated."
They eventually let Rosa Parks sit in the front of the bus, and now look at America's inner cities. They're trouble with a capital "T," which rhymes with "B," which stands for "Bad." And "Black." Am I right? Am I right?
What the Vanderhorsts need to learn is that 92 percent of retarded-baby-bearing women can't be wrong. Just like 92 percent of white Southerners had it right back in the day and 92 percent of National Socialists in Germany before that!
Habe ich Reich . . . er, recht?