Someone I know rather well runs a website for syndicated columnists. It is just the latest of many failed enterprises for which he has racked up mountains of debt. Today, he wrote a column about what's wrong with the airline industry and their handling of unions. While I don't disagree with everything he said, I take issue with his statement alluding that all pilots are wayward drunks.
I won't deny that a lot of pilots like to drink. After work.
I have never encountered another crew member who I thought was impaired in any way other than what their DNA wrought them. Some I can't stand. I get along fine with others, but everyone I fly with is professional and safety minded. To suggest it doesn't happen, however, would undermine my credibility.
Guess what. Some pilots have drinking problems. So do regular people who drive their cars drunk. Some even go to work drunk, be it in an office or wherever. Guess what else. They deserve whatever punishment they get. I submit that in any segment of society there will be percentages of all kinds of things. For example, there are 21 grandchildren in my family. One is openly gay. Statistics suggest there should be at least one more. And plenty are drunks.
That aside, the aforementioned column was not about drunk or wayward pilots, but the author threw it in anyway. I don't think it would have gotten past a good editor, but since this particular guy is his own editor-in-chief anything goes. Well, someone (a pilot) commented on the article that this writer should have asked a pilot or flight attendant what it's really like out there. Again, this really wasn't what the article was about, but it got me thinking. This guy has written about the airlines before, and often gets his facts quite wrong. Knowing me the way he does, I'm irked he doesn't take advantage of my expertise before publishing something. Maybe he has another source, but if so, I wouldn't want to fly with that person.
So I find myself torn. If I comment on the article, I may not be able to stop myself from mentioning all his other flaws. Or the hypocrisy in pointing out that poorly run businesses should fail. He was a big opponent of the auto and bank bailouts, but when he was running his public relations firm into the ground, and couldn't get a loan from a bank, thought nothing of borrowing from his parents and never paying it back. Nor did he think twice when he no longer wanted to lease office space and simply stopped paying his rent.
On second thought, it's increasingly likely I would say these things on his website and I'm rather fond of conflict avoidance, so I won't. I'll keep them here. I'm not including his name, or a link to his column. As far as I know, he's unaware of my blog. For that matter, very few people I know in real life are. It's safer that way.
Plus, he's the same guy who not all that long ago told me he was writing a book. The same guy who had requested an early draft of Schmitty the Pirate to critique and then never read it. The same guy who thinks his first draft is good enough to publish, but when I asked him about querying it, didn't know what a query was and said, "I run a website. I'm not just some guy who decided to write a book one day, ya know."