2018/08/15

Sky King

Sky King

By now many of you will have heard the strange and tragic tale of Rich Russell, the Horizon Air baggage handler who perished after taking a stolen Bombardier Q400 for a joyride on Friday. He's gone now, leaving behind a bewildered wife and family, but the internet has dubbed him the Sky King.

In this post-9/11 world, Rich's story is noteworthy in large part because the only life lost on his misadventure was his own. But Sky King's last flight has lodged itself in the public consciousness due to the manifold mysteries surrounding the case. They still haven't figured out how Rich, a ground services worker making minimum wage, managed to steal a 76-seat passenger aircraft by himself. Never mind the matter of how a man with no known pilot training pulled off a barrel roll in a commercial prop plane.


Rich credited his piloting skills to video games. Airlines could probably save on training by picking up that simulator.

Listen to the audio of Rich's conversation with air traffic control, and you get the impression of an affable, goofy guy with poor impulse control. We've seen enough hijackings to know this was not a guy with an axe to grind out to make a statement. Ideologues with martyr complexes always make sure the world knows the motive for their deadly theatrics. Rich didn't leave a manifesto. No sinister agenda has surfaced in his wake. Friends and family all agree he was the original guy next door.

Rich Russell

That's not to say there was no reason for Rich's theft and crashing of his employers' plane. We live in a universe of cause and effect, and "randomness" is just statistical shorthand for "We don't know why," not "There is no why."

This clip of Rich's chat with the control tower contains a chilling hint at, if not his motive, at least one of the forces that influenced his suicide by joyride. Listen for yourself. What stands out?


One of Rich's comments that sent up red flags with many listeners, and which is extra conspicuous due to the mainstream media's deafening silence on it, occurred during this exchange at 2:47:

Nah, I'm a white guy

Most reports are calling Rich a Millennial. However, all list his age as 29 years old, which actually places him at the tail end of Generation Y.

Rich was born at the close of the 80s. He was old enough to have had memories of the real America's last days. He would have been 12 when 9/11 happened.

It's come to light that Rich and his wife owned a bakery for three years. Someone else has since taken over the company. It's unknown why the Russells stopped running their business. All we know is that Rich had been reduced to a minimum-wage employee of a large corporation before he died.

Mourn for Rich Russell. We'll never know exactly what got into his head that fateful evening. We do know he was born in America and died in a strange country--the country the rest of us a now living in.

Some call Sky King a hero. They're wrong. Rich displayed no heroic virtues. In the end, he succumbed to rashness or despair. His final act is not to be praised or imitated.

Sky King does have wisdom to teach us. He may have felt the truth at his fingertips but was unable to grasp it. If an otherwise normal twentysomething American, aware that modern society has failed in its duty to provide the setting wherein he might flourish, can go full GTA on a commercial plane, imagine what the rest of us could do if moved by charity and a thirst for justice instead of despair.

23 comments:

  1. A sad commentary on a sick world. And I mean “sick” in the truest sense of the world, as in “affected with disease or ill health.”

    Although “spiritually or morally unsound or corrupt” fits as well.

    (All definitions courtesy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. St. Augustine said, "The purpose of your life could be to serve as a warning to others."

      Delete
  2. A man without purpose, simply looking for the best way to go out. I too once found myself wandering without purpose in unending despair. Had I not found the goal which I believe God intended for me, in another life, another time, i could see myself as easily having ended up in Rich’s shoes. Scary and sobering to be sure

    ReplyDelete
  3. Uh... wow. That is a strange one. Sad to hear he would choose this path. I had not heard of him, and that is pretty amazing. I'd have had a hard time swallowing that story in fiction, it just seems too odd.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are more than a few mysteries swirling around Rich's death. Conspiracy buffs are crying foul. If he really did steal a commercial aircraft by himself, execute those stunts with no training, and crash it without killing anyone else, he pulled off a million to one shot. Should've played the lottery.

      Anyway, we'll never really know what happened this side of glory.

      Delete
  4. Sky King stepped off the precipice many of us have gripped with our own feet. A yearning for adventure and greatness without a worthy quest for his talents and abilities. Without that greater purpose we will either be tools for the unscrupulous or end in self destruction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People think it's just a trite metaphor, but no.

      It really does stare back.

      Delete
  5. If you're going to die eventually, why not go out in a big way? It clearly didn't matter to him. I wish I could say this surprised me, but it doesn't. There's just nothing out there for normal people these days.

    Unfortunately, he won't be the last.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. War is being made upon normal people by the structures institutions that are supposed to help them--or at least go about their business indifferent to them.

      Something will be done. Only psychopaths will like it.

      Delete
    2. Brian,

      Well here's an interesting trend in Britian vis-a-vis the universities:
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6064623/A-Level-results-day-One-four-students-score-marks.html
      It appears that many top students are turning their backs on a university education despite good marks.

      xavier

      Delete
    3. It's ok to say that there's nothing out there for normal men these days. Normal pro-Western civilization men have been flushed down the toilet for the past 30 years and that weighs on their souls.

      The proposed solution is to continue the beatings until morale improves and hand out psychoactive drugs like candy.

      These sorts of sadly impressive suicides will continue until things change.

      Delete
    4. The faster you white men kill yourselves off, the faster Glorious Future can be ushered in!

      Delete
    5. Got to make way for the New Soviet Man or something.

      Delete
  6. Brian,

    Not only a warning but a call to arms
    1) we must purge with extreme prejudice all social justice ideology wherever it's found and take back our culture
    2) rebuild via solidities associations, D&D clubs, hunting parties etc
    3) become anti fragile via #2 as well
    4) defend and kill off any entryism

    TL;DR nourish the soul;save the world

    xavier

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good points. Brian, have you read Wild at Heart by John Eldridge?

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's nonfiction. The premise is that God created men with a need to fight battles and modern society has done everything to prevent that. Eldredge argues that when men don't have that, we get things like we're seeing now.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My dad and I talked about this guy for about 3 hours yesterday. I don't think there's anything more emblematic of the plight of the western man in the 21st century than what Rich did.

    When we hear about suicides in the MSM, I couldn't have given a shit about Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade (world-famous boomer multimillionaires living in high rises who have had children) but when I heard about this story, it struck me deeply. Another thing insulting about the way the MSM portrays this story is that they portray it as a news story of mental health and airport security when it's so much deeper than that. They're blissfully unaware and ignorant of the deeply profound and tragic story of manhood and the modern age that fell right into their lap. Or did they just choose to ignore it?

    In the modern age, we have all our premordial desires taken care of (food available anywhere, limitless pornography, social media, tinder, etc), but at the end of the day, tradition, fraternity, and the nuclear family are not venerated in the ethos of the modern west, and thus, modern man is left with a feeling of perpetual emptiness that can't be filled. Not only that, but hierarchical structures based on meritocracy in the modern age are hard and rare to come by, so you're perpetually this cog in a corporate machine, being milked for all you're worth without any share of the bigger pot, making money for old men who are higher than you in the corporate dominance hierarchy, where the only means of breaking free from it is indentured servitude by a means of a university education, which, most of the time, is worthless once you get out. It's impossible with a minimum wage job with no chance of climbing the ladder to get a house (that isn't in the suburbs and surrounded with boomers), to raise children, to fulfill a man's dream of ultimate meaning and responsibility.

    We have this guy subsisting on minimum wage, joking around with the ATC, knowing he was loved, apologizing if he ruined their day, not wanting to hurt anyone, and taking to the skies to break free from the chains of 21st century life. He stole a $36 million aircraft complete GTA style, did a barrel roll and loopty loop Star Fox style. He soared to the skies like Icarus and paid for the cost of freedom with his life.

    He's a folk hero of the modern world. And the reason he's venerated as such and it strikes us in such a way is because of the fact that there's a bit of Rich In all of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A beautiful and trenchant eulogy to the Sky King. I am deeply stirred!

      "Or did they just choose to ignore it?"

      They ignored it. The press serve the corporate oligarchs who are the mortal enemies of the people.

      Delete