Whilst cruising through my Google News RSS feed I ran into this story about a guy protesting up a tree. As in he is sitting in a tree - literally. Why? Because Qantas and Air New Zealand have introduced a policy to ban men from sitting next to unaccompanied children. ( Queue stunned bunny look) I sat there and could not think of one logical reason for this. The real world is not "Flight Plan" - people really don't go missing on aircraft in flight and there is basically nowhere the travelling public could go to get the level of privacy/concealment required to molest/abuse a child.
I am a parent. I have a beautiful daughter. Would I be concerned about her travelling unaccompanied because she was sitting next to a man? Hell no! You have to look at these things as a "degree" of risk. Playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun is risky, crossing the road is risky, having your child molested/abused on an airline flight is NOT a significant risk. You've got more chance of the plane crashing than of a child being abused!
It's this kind of mindless knee-jerking that really irritates me. It's up there with plastic knives on flights, and other pointless "security" measures. It really achieves nothing, except making the uninformed and timid feel better. The focus is in the wrong place. Rather than prevent "dangerous" objects from getting into the hands of people with violent intent (or putting children next to potential child molesters), they should be keeping those people OFF the flight in the first place!
I flew to the USA in November 2001; merely weeks after the attacks in New York and Washington. I had to declare to the check-in staff that I was a fully qualified airline transport pilot. Why? So they could assess whether or not I should be allowed to board! Fair enough. After the cockpits were reinforced to prevent forced entry, the requirement for me to inform check-in staff stopped. My point is that they were attempting to keep the threat OFF the plane, rather than prevent the threat from being able to carry out any malicious activity.
If Qantas and Air New Zealand are REALLY serious about protecting my unaccompanied daughter, why not screen passengers and don't let those with convictions for child sex offences board! Then the rest of the travelling public can allowed to travel without discrimination or bias.
OK, what about the dirty perverts who haven't been caught/convicted you say? Well, that's an inherent risk everywhere. If you worry that much about risks you cant control or foresee, then lock your children up; the world is far too dangerous. Manage the risks you know of in proportion the likelihood of the risk becoming a reality. You don't let your kids play with knives in the toaster, but I'm sure you let them run around the back yard. Ever sat down and THOUGHT about how many dangerous situations can develop in your own back yard?! Poisonous animals, falls, cuts, drowning in a bucket, the list goes on.
I'm all for protecting our children, but lets get real about it and stop discriminating against the white, heterosexual male majority!