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Thursday, October 04, 2007

New York Woman Dies at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

It would seem Phoenix is in the news, now, in a big way.

A few days ago, Carol Gotbaum, an alcoholic woman from New York, was on her way to rehab in Tucson. Along the way, she got incredibly out of control, so much so she threw her PDA at a passerby, nearly hitting them. What set her off? She was late making her connecting flight and got irate when they wouldn't bring the airplane back to the terminal for "her majesty".

I don't know how they do things in New York, but here, announcements are made repeatedly and short of saying, "Hey, dumbass, we mean you! Your plane's boarding!" people are generally responsible for getting themselves to the terminal on time. Once the terminal doors close, it's bye-bye time for the plane. I'm not sure what caused Carol Gotbaum to miss her connecting flight. I have heard conflicting stories that she was calling home and that she was in the bar getting an alcoholic beverage. I can't say that any of this is true since no one knew who she was prior to her meltdown. To speculate is irresponsible. Given the state of air travel in today's world, I'm leaning towards her flight from New York being late.

Ms. Gotbaum refused to accept that the laws and rules governing air travel as they pertained to her and she blew up in the terminal, necessitating that airport and airline personnel contact the police. As I said earlier, she was throwing things at other passengers, she was screaming, ranting, raving and generally making a huge nuisance of herself - a definite no-no in today's post 9/11 world. Once the police arrived, they tried to calm her and she refused to listen, becoming more obnoxious with each passing second. Finally, the officers had no choice but to attempt to handcuff her. In typical fashion of those who believe they are above the law, Ms. Gotbaum intentionally collapsed, thereby causing problems for the police trying to cuff her, since she was now proving to be a danger to others. They had to drag/push her to detention since she refused to walk, locking her legs in an attempt to forestall the inevitable. She also didn't have her shoes on... What's that about?

The city of New York, however, would like us to believe Ms. Gotbaum did nothing wrong, whatsover. The New York Times is attempting to paint Ms. Gotbaum as a bon-bon eating SAHM with no problems at all, emotional or otherwise. Some articles written by a couple New York City newspapers are here:

Motherly Act Began Events That Led to Gotbaum Death
Gotbaum Twist
Betsy's In-Law Puzzle

Now, the middle link above is incredibly interesting. Apparently, a witness came forward saying they saw the whole thing and went on to say Ms. Gotbaum was "non-combative". What makes this so interesting is that the video was released today showing the whole thing and Ms. Gotbaum was anything BUT non-combative. She fought the police tooth and nail the whole way. I have to wonder if perhaps there isn't a Phoenix attorney who is doing more than slinging accusations against the Medical Examiner's office? Was a "witness" found via personal acguaintances of the Phoenix attorney who is representing the Gotbaum family? Does money buy justice if your last name is Gotbaum?

I also saw some of this story on yesterday morning's Today show. The Phoenix attorney was on there discussing this. At one point he made a statement to the affect that Carol Gotbaum had never had alcohol until three years ago and 36 months later she had a problem severe enough to require medical intervention. What does this say about Carol Gotbaum that she has such an addictive personality that she can become THAT attached to alcohol she needs to fly across the country for help? Also, where was her family in all of this? Carol Gotbaum apparently attempted suicide more than once in the past yet her family didn't think enough of her to send someone with her, ensuring she made it okay? Had a loved one been with Carol instead of everyone abandoning her at her greatest time of need, would things have turned out differently? Would someone she knew been able to calm her fears when she missed her plane?

All I can say to all of this is: PUH-LEEZE! This woman was completely out of control in an international airport, screaming at the top of her lungs, "I am not a terrorist." It seemed to me she suffered some kind of mental break and CLEARLY needed to be removed from the area, either willingly or unwillingly. Ms. Gotbaum let the police know, in no uncertain terms, that she had no intention of going willingly.

I have watched the video and read all the news reports on it. Without having been there myself, witnessing the entire scenario as it unfolded, I have to say my opinion is that that Phoenix police didn't make any mistakes, procedural or otherwise, and Carol Gotbaum's death is an unfortunate circumstance related to the consequences of her actions.

Instead of making this a media circus, all done with the intent of extorting money from the city of Phoenix, the Gotbaums need to quietly return to the solitude of their homes and gather with their loved ones. They need to mourn the loss of an obviously once great woman and come to terms with the fact that she had fallen so deeply into the depths of her own emotionally damaged mind that she killed herself unintentionally. It's sad to lose a loved one and so easy to blame others. Carol Gotbaum killed Carol Gotbaum, and no one else. To say otherwise is not just irresponsible but ignorant.

But who am I? This is just my two cents.