Case Study: The United Airlines Incident

Recently, headlines were ablaze with a scandalous story and an image that received iconic status over the last few weeks. The image was that of Dr. David Dao - spectacles off-kilter, blood on his face - being dragged down the aisle of United Airlines Flight 3411.

This image and the accompanying videos were burned into the world’s consciousness for weeks. They showed what appeared to be the wanton and violent abuse of a decent, peaceful member of the community, and is an excellent example of videos taken by concerned citizens driving real societal change. 

In this case, the public benefitted from the fact that many concerned citizens were able to take steady and complete videos from multiple angles. However, any one of the videos by itself may have been enough to trigger the outrage that ensued. 

Following the release of the videos made possible by the thoughtful actions of a few concerned citizens,the massive outcry also forced United Airlines to shake up their booking policy. United Airlines began offering up to $10,000 in cash to passengers to give up their seats in the event of a flight being overbooked. In short order, the entire airline industry (worth more than $150 billion) was hauled before congress to answer for their overbooking processes. 

The public outcry, congressional hearings, and policy changes show the power that vigilant citizens with cameras can hold over governments and billion dollar corporations. One person with a camera really can change the course of history, and because of these few citizens, we can hope to fly slightly friendlier skies than before. Keep filming the truth.