c/o Major Nelsen
Loud cell-phone talker removed from quiet car by policeBy Liz Goodwin
A woman who was escorted off an Amtrak train by police last weekend after she allegedly refused to stop talking loudly on her cell-phone has the Internet cheering her fate.
Civilians and quiet-car champions are supporting her ejection for violating policy at high volume during the 16-hour journey. It doesn't help her cause that she became belligerent when confronted about it by one of her fellow passengers.
KOMO News reports that Lakeysha Beard says she felt "disrespected" by the incident, though passengers said it was Beard who was being rude by refusing to stop yapping while sitting in one of the train's designated quiet cars. She had not stopped talking since the train pulled out of Oakland, California, 16 hours before it reached Salem, Oregon, when a passenger confronted her about the talking. That's when Beard got "aggressive," KATU reports, and conductors stopped the train so that police could remove her and charge her with disorderly conduct.
Amtrak created quiet cars in 2001 when a group of passengers who rode the Philadelphia to D.C. route every morning asked if they could reserve a car where cell-phone loudmouths weren't welcome. Ever since, the rare havens of quiet have become a battlefield between silence-loving rule-followers and rebellious cell-phone addicts. Gawker suggested, not without a dose of sincerity, that the cops who removed Beard from the train were heroes, and that Beard should be charged with "unspeakable crimes against humanity and sentenced to life on some distant planet where there are no reception bars, ever."
According to a very scientific reader poll at The Huffington Post, 77 percent of people were happy the woman was hauled off the train. And CNN personality Anderson Cooper blasted the woman on his "ridiculist" last night, asking "What could someone possibly talk about for 16 hours?" He even compared being stuck on the train with a person who would do such a thing to the "fifth circle of hell."
The Internet is full of tales of innocent people's quiet-car journeys being marred by loud passengers who ignore the rules. An Israeli blogger with a PhD in conflict resolution wrote a lengthy post about the best way to get a fellow passenger to shut up without starting World War III. "Always assume the transgressor is ignorant, not arrogant. This way you won't feel wronged and can communicate your message with less contempt and hostility," he suggests.
Meanwhile writer Christopher Buckley, a self-described quiet car Nazi, wonders why there would be any confusion as to the correct behavior in that part of the train: "The Quiet Car does not hide its light under a bushel. Prominent and explicit signs hang from the ceiling at five-foot intervals. They declare, unequivocally, that NO CELL PHONES ARE PERMITTED and that conversation must be kept to a minimum and in hushed tones."
(Chris gently smiles knowing today, the world ends. At least it happened once.)