Thursday, February 21, 2013
Joe Hundley, “Baby Slapper”
I still find myself at a loss for words regarding this story. If you haven’t heard about Joe Hundley, Vice President of a company that makes aircraft parts, I will give you a brief summary. Joe boarded a Delta airlines flight, apparently after having a few drinks, and continued drinking on the plane. He was seated next to Jessica Bennett, who is white, and her adopted 19 month old son, Jonah, who is black. Jessica says Joe was reeking of alcohol. She didn’t feel comfortable sitting next to him, so she stood for 90 minutes, with her baby, near the laboratory. When the pilot announced it was time to land, she took her seat again, baby on her lap. Joe called the Jonah the “N” word and slapped the crying baby, which left a scratch under his eye. Other passengers got involved and Joe was restrained. Joe later lost his job and so far is being charged with assault of a minor. His lawyer wants to make it clear that while this is being portrayed as a “racist” incident, Joe is not racist, even if he used a racial slur.
My mind cannot wrap itself around this story. First, for the least offensive part of this story, the airline allowing an intoxicated man on their flight and serving him an additional two double shots of vodka. Hello! Is that not looking for trouble on a confined aircraft with no exit? Airlines need to review some of their guidelines when it comes to serving alcohol, for the safety and well being of other passengers on board, especially those who have to sit next to these drunks and have no place to go. Maybe alcohol should be banned on flights altogether? And, if you are attempting to board a flight, while inebriated, maybe you should be made to wait for the next flight, after you have sobered up? Why should Jessica and her baby have had to stand in the back of the plane for 90 minutes when she paid as much for her seat as Joe had? The woman was concerned and disgusted enough to remove herself from her own seat to avoid any problem. Wasn’t it up to the airline and their personnel to provide her and her son with a safe and comfortable trip? I say sue the airline for their role in this mess which put her and her son in harm’s way.
Now for Joe’s use of the “N” word on 19 month old Jonah, there is no lawyer who is going to tell me that that was not a racist comment. Joe is obviously a racist. Alcohol has a way of lowering one’s inhibitions and releasing one’s truth. Of course he is racist. How his lawyer is going to try to explain this away is a mystery to me. There is no explanation on the face of the planet that can excuse Joe. And what’s more, he backed up his racism by slapping the baby. It was a simultaneous act, slur plus slap. So I want to know why he is only being charged with assault of a minor and not a hate crime? Every other story I have heard in which a slur has been accompanied by violence, has been defined as a hate crime. Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” So it seems simple enough to me that this was a hate crime. Although it may be possible his lawyer will claim that Joe would have slapped any baby, not just a black baby, at that point because he was drunk and the baby’s crying was getting on his nerves. Good luck with that feeble defense.
I don’t know about you, but ever since I had my own children, I did not want so much as a hair on their head touched by anyone. I always told them not to fight and if anyone ever touched them, they should come to me and let me know. I cannot imagine the rage I would have flown into on that plane had Joe slapped one of my babies. It’s incomprehensible to me that anyone would even attempt to slap someone else’s baby. I don’t care of he was drunk or out of his right mind. I don’t care if he has been a model citizen up to that point. I don’t care if he has serious personal issues. Is there really any defense to be made in this case?
Meanwhile, Joe pleads not guilty to the assault, which was clearly witnessed by passengers. He has been released on $10,000 bond, and told not to drink or possess firearms, and to surrender his passport. That seems fair (said in my most sarcastic voice), doesn’t it?