Has Aer Lingus decided to crew all its planes with zombies for Halloween? That, at least, would explain the blind, unthinking, knee-jerk reaction of the cabin crew to Roberto Binaschi’s private joke with his daughter on a flight to Dublin from Milan, a city where, as we all know, Ebola is rampant.
As I understand it, this is what happened. Binaschi took a sip from his daughter’s coffee, and then, in a poke at her obsession with germs, wrote on the lid of the cup Attenzione Ebola which, I think, translates loosely as Ebola warning.
When the cabin crew collected the rubbish towards the end of the flight, a hyper-alert male cabin attendant spotted the cup lying in his refuse sack and noticed the words written on it. To be clear, nobody showed him the writing in an attempt to create alarm. He just spotted it and immediately went into zombie mode, challenging Roberto Binaschi who promptly agreed that he had written the words.
As we know, zombieism is infectious and it wasn’t long before the Dublin authorities also began to shuffle around with their brains missing. A squad of medical zombies appeared when the plane landed, followed by police zombies who arrested Binaschi, his wife and his daughter, though they later released the two women.
In court, Mr Binaschi agreed that what he had done was extremely stupid and no doubt following a form of words suggested by his lawyer, expressed remorse and contrition. He also offered to pay a sum of money to a charity.
The judge, who appears to have been the only non-zombie in the case, agreed not to impose a conviction, and Binaschi walked out without a criminal record.
However, in comparing the incident to a bomb-scare, Judge Halpin displayed a lamentable lack of knowledge. Either he doesn’t know the incubation period of the Ebola virus or else he doesn’t know how much fuel a plane can carry. A bomb blows you up right now, this second, whereas Ebola takes weeks and you’d have to be flying around for an awfully long time before anything went wrong. The pilots would probably die of hunger before Ebola did anything.
It seems to me that without intent in this case, there can be no crime, since Binaschi was charged with engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour. It’s obvious to anyone but a zombie that Roberto Binaschi had no intention whatever of causing disruption. Indeed, some people might say that the hysterical reaction of the cabin attendant caused far more distress to the 142 passengers than anything Binaschi did. If it hadn’t been for his officious over-reaction, and perhaps a hint of power-lust, everyone would have been on their way without further ado.
Ebola isn’t the problem here, but an entirely different virus that mutated in New York on the 11th September 2001 and after careful cultivation in Professor Rumsfeld’s laboratory, spread across the entire planet, infecting the brains of airport workers, security staff and flight crew everywhere, turning them all into humourless, unthinking zombies.
All in the name of passenger safety and the never-ending War on Terror.
Paranoia is the new common sense.