Guido Menzio airplane threat drama linked to Donald Trump’s rhetoric

May 8, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Guido Menzio was an airplane threat just because he has curly hair and olive skin. Mr. Menzio, an economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, was writing notes for a speech, which were deemed suspicious by the passenger sitting next to him – prompting her to alert the pilot.

Guido Menzio

Guido Menzio, an Ivy League professor, was seen as a threat while on a plane traveling to New York for a speech, prompting a woman sitting next to him to contact the authorities.

The incident occurred on Thursday while Mr. Menzio, who is Italian (like most Mediterranean men, he has dark hair and olive or tanned skin), was on board of an American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Syracuse.

Mr. Menzio, who is an economics professor, said he was scribbling on a notepad, (the professor was solving a differential equation in preparation for a speech he was set to give at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada), when the female next to him tried to make small talk.

According to the professor, the “blond-haired, 30-something woman sporting flip-flops and carrying a red tote bag” asked him if he was from New York and he said no.

She apparently asked few more uninteresting questions, which Menzio ignored, deciding to focus on his work. Little did he know that the decision would land him in hot water. The woman pretended to be sick and handed a flight attendant a note and moments later, to everyone’s surprise, the plane turned around and headed back to the gate and the “sick” woman was escorted from the aircraft.

The pilot approached the man to ask him kindly about the “terrorist notes” he was writing. The professor, who said he was elegantly dressed in navy Diesel jeans and a red Lacoste sweater, laughed at the pilot’s questions and explained what he was writing. He stated:

“I thought they were trying to get clues about her illness. Instead, they tell me that the woman was concerned that I was a terrorist because I was writing strange things on a pad of paper.”

The nosy woman never boarded the plane and two hours after its scheduled departure time for what would be just a 41-minute trip in the air; it finally took off. Menzio said he was treated respectfully throughout, but was quick to point out that the kind atmosphere politicians like Donald Trump and his xenophobic rhetoric are creating is dangerous. The man shared:

“Not seeking additional information after reports of ‘suspicious activity’ … is going to create a lot of problems, especially as xenophobic attitudes may be emerging. Rising xenophobia stoked by the presidential campaign, may soon make things worse for people who happen to look a little other-ish. What might prevent an epidemic of paranoia? It is hard not to recognize in this incident, the ethos of [Donald] Trump’s voting base.”

American spokesman Casey Norton said the crew followed protocol to take care of an ill passenger and then to investigate her allegations.

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    1. Uncle Dave says:

      This professor blames “xenophobic attitudes” and “paranoia” of many in this country on Donald Trump and the presidential race? On the other side of the coin, a propane truck bomb plot was stopped in NYC Times Square by NYPD; Two attackers were stopped at a Muhammad art exhibit in Texas last May; Two different military recruiting centers have been shot-up with people killed; and of course 14 dead, 22 injured in San Bernardino.
      Not to mention attacks around the world including Paris and Brussels just a few months ago.

      Granted this situation could have been handled better, but what has happened to our current President telling us, “If you see something, say something”?

      I would rather err on the side of caution and be wrong, than be dead. And that has nothing to do with “The Donald”.

    2. Victor Croasdale says:

      “Uncle Dave” in the last 50 years there have been more guns deaths in the US than the US deaths in all its wars since the Revolutionary War. The number killed in the US in terrorist attacks is less than the rounding errors in ‘regular’ gun killings.
      I lived in the middle east for about 7 years and have been on many flights where writing English would be “writing strange things on a pad of paper.”

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