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Washington Plane Thief Channeled White Resentment Of His Favorite Conservative Pundits

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(Photo: SounderBruce, Creative Commons)

A bizarre story emerged from Washington last week when 29 year old man stole a plane at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and took it for a dangerous joy ride before crashing into a forest.

Richard Russell, an airline employee, hijacked a Bombardier Q400 on Friday and flew the craft for 75 minutes. Air traffic controllers attempted to talk him into landing the plane while he discussed the ramifications of his actions. ”I’ve got a lot of people who care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this” he said.

Research by Heavy revealed that Russell was fond of conservative talking heads including Ben Shapiro and Sean Hannity, two individuals famous for stirring up white resentment.

This fact is interesting when contextualized by Russell’s in-flight commentary. “Hey, do you think if I land this successfully Alaska will give me a job as a pilot?” he asked an air traffic controller, who responded “I think they would give you a job doing anything if you could pull this off.”

Russell retorted: “Yeah, right! Nah, I’m a white guy.”

Writing for The Stranger, Charles Mudede points out that this sentiment dovetails with the world view that Shapiro and Hannity propagate, which holds that white people are disenfranchised on account of their race despite the fact that the levers of power—both economic and political—are controlled primarily by white men.

Broken and depressed, Russell blamed people of color for his shortcomings, goaded by the purveyors of fear in right wing media.

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