Why I cuffed a drunk passenger on a flight – and why you should be concerned that I had to

Why I cuffed a drunk passenger on a flight – and why you should be concerned that I had to September 26, 2016


There’s a problem with laws that prohibit you from carrying into certain places.  Those “certain places” are never protected in meaningful ways.  If you go into a restaurant with a no carry sign, do you think the owners of the restaurant actually hire security in case things get bad?  Of course not.  The “no carry” sign advertises to criminals: the people in this establishment are easy targets.

But on airplanes, it’s different right?

Aren’t there air marshals on flights to take care of situations that might occur?

No, that whole program is a joke.

I was on a flight on Saturday on my way to New Hampshire, on my way to the Cheshire County Annual Republican Shoot. On the two hour flight, a drunk passenger kept causing problems.  He was yelling at passengers, the flight attendants, and would not calm down no matter what.  One newspaper reported incorrectly that the man was berating me the entire flight, which wasn’t true.  Had he come at me with that, I would’ve just kicked his ass.  However, I had to act when we were trying to touch down and he ran down the aisle.

“In all my years flying, I’ve never seen anything like it,” the passenger said.

When the plane landed, I held the guy down, while Charlotte police officer came on board and handcuffed him.  This is when he started yelling racial slurs at me.

“The sheriff handled himself extremely well. It could have gotten a lot worse because the guy was not backing down.”

While I appreciate the accolades, I’d much rather the government take safety seriously. Passengers in airplanes now are sitting ducks, but we shouldn’t be forced to choose between traveling and safety.

I discussed this in more detail on Varney and Company. Watch below:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • iamcrm

    You’re a good and great man, Sheriff Clarke. There aren’t many good men, even fewer great men these days.

  • Lorena Ashcroft

    As a now retired flight attendant I appreciate your assistance to the crew. We do have sky marshals, but not on all flights and even less in the past 8 years under the obama administration. Not to say they aren’t there. I have had to deal with unruly passengers on several flights in the past and had a few that needed to be physically restrained. Thank you for your quick thinking and action in this instance.

  • W. Leigh Cummings

    Wish it would have been Hitlary taking the punk’s place.

  • Mary

    Thank you, Sheriff Clarke. You are a patriot and I hope you are on my next flight. :-)))

  • Draw

    Well played Sheriff. I prefer to fly with you now.

  • Catman

    Sheriff Clarke, you touched on why I decided to drive from S.C. to N.V. & back instead of flying a few months ago. I don’t trust the TSA for anything except screwing up at best, and don’t trust those who want to take away my personal security when not providing it for me, either. The Orlando shooting happened while I was away, reminding me I had made the correct choice. I’ll never fly again.

    • Bill_G

      What does the Orlando shooting have to do with flying? Are you talking about that nightclub massacre or something else?

      • Catman

        It happened while I was on vacation & I found out about it at the range with 20 friends…all carrying shotguns & spending time honing skill. It reminded us of why we are taking the time to learn to defend ourselves better, as if we needed any further reminder. I have one bullet in my back from a gang initiation. I’ll be damned if I’m putting my life in the airlines’ or TSA’s bungling hands again….if someone cannot demonstrate the FACT that they have armed security to keep me safe? I don’t give them my business. It’s not worth my life.

    • civilwar1862

      I retired from aviation after 35 years. Screw TSA. And there is no way I’ll ever fly again save for a very serious emergency.

  • Bill_G

    Sitting ducks for what? Getting vomited on by some drunk? They already make us go through all kinds of security. Nobody on that plane has any kind of serious weapon. And the cockpit itself is locked so the passengers have no chance of taking the plane itself down. Honestly an airplane is probably the safest place on earth you could be. The worst thing that anybody could do is punch somebody else in the face. And both the probability and consequences of that are low enough that the government is right to worry about other things. Putting air marshals on every plane to arrest drunks would be a colossal waste of resources.

    And what’s the point in bringing up the concealed carry thing? Right now no one can take a gun on a plane – concealed or otherwise. Are you suggesting we change that?

    • The point is security on the plane, not the frisking at the gate.

      It doesn’t take a “serious weapon” to hurt or kill someone.

      And no, Air Marshals should not have to be on every flight. But airlines should have security of their own. Aircraft already have to staff their flights. Why can’t one of the flight crew be trained and designated as security if a situation arises? This is merely a training thing, not additional expenditure of any serious amount.

      The bottom line is: if you are going to create an environment where citizens are not allowed to protect themselves, then you must provide that protection for them. This applies to airplanes and restaurants equally.

      • Bill_G

        They haven’t created an environment where citizens are unable to protect themselves. They’ve created an environment where citizens are unable to bring any weapons on board and hijack the plane. You can certainly fight back if someone attacks you but they won’t be attacking you with a gun or a knife because they won’t be able to get it through security. And you won’t be defending yourself with one either.

    • MoreCowbell

      What a fucking idiot you are. Getting vomitted on is the least of your concerns over an unruly passenger intent on harm. You can be a white-guilt pussy all you want, and you probably get your ass kicked a lot and like it. Not all of us want to be cuckolds of thuggery.

      • Bill_G

        Then what are my concerns? What exactly is an unruly passenger going to do to me?

        • MoreCowbell

          Spit on you, grab you, manhandle you, smack you, slug you, beat the shit out of you — anything he wants to do since you seem not to care.

          • Bill_G

            So little if any lasting damage and the odds of it happening are pretty low. For that matter the odds are almost certainly less than they would be for me just walking down the street being that the offender has no opportunity to run away and will therefore almost certainly be arrested when we get to the destination.

            “since you seem not to care.”

            Not sure where you’re getting that from. I’m just being realistic about the risks I face in life. If you’re really so paranoid that you think you need a gun or a security guard on a flight then you should probably just drive. Take your chances on the interstate system.

          • MoreCowbell

            Look, you’re a pussy, I get it. That’s how you think. That’s how you live life. Letting others do what the fuck they want to you. You live with a risk that another male is going to humiliate you and do you bodily harm — or maybe even have his way with your wife — and you’re okay with it because you’re a pussy.

            I don’t live like that. Someone attacks me or threatens my family, I’m putting three 9mm bullets in them.. End of story.

          • Bill_G

            No one does what the fuck they want to me, douchebag. I’m not the one so god damn scared to get on an airplane because there’s no security guard and I can’t bring a gun. I can hold my own against travelers and whatever makeshift weapons they might have on an airplane. I mean the only reason you need a 9mm is because you’re too much of a pussy to actually fight someone without it. Well that and you’re paranoid and think you’re living in some warzone where everyone is out to get you.

            I mean seriously – what shithole of a neighborhood do you live in that this is even remotely an issue? I’ve managed to spend 36 years on this planet and haven’t once been assaulted. No one has once pulled a gun on me, stabbed me with a pen, or any other assault/battery. Not in my home, on the street, on an airplane, anywhere.

            Have you even been on an airplane, by the way? It’s mostly business travelers and families. The kind of skeevy tweakers that go around stabbing people are too busy dealing meth to your kids to have time to vacation anywhere. And even if they did they’d probably get picked up on warrants at the security line. End of story.

          • MoreCowbell

            You just admitted you have ZERO experience in these situations and

            ZERO experience defending yourself. You talk big about what you WOULD do in these situation, but inexperienced pussies like you will always allow themselves to be smacked around and victimized when the rubber hits the road. You’re no different, pussy boy.

            You think people conceal-carry because they don’t know how to fight, Jr.? Your 36 years is no match for my 56 years. I’m former military and a former golden-gloves boxer. You’ve never been in a fight in your life — you just said so — and you’d get your little ass kicked in a bout three seconds guaranteed if you ever attempted to stand up to a bully. But that’s not even the point, you stupid fuck. Bad dudes are never “unarmed.” There’s always a knife, a gun, or some makeshift weapon involved. You’re just fucking stupid to leave yourself exposed.

            And neighborhood? What the fuck does that have to do with anything? Try telling the corporate Christmas party in San Bernardino that they were just in the wrong neighborhood when the muslim couple killed them. Try telling the Army recruiters in Chattanooga they were just in the wrong neighborhood. You think crimes take place only in ghettos, stupid fuck? How fucking naive are you?


            Have I ever been on an airplane? If you knew what I do for a living, Snowflake, you wouldn’t be asking that question. I travel weekly, and I sit in the front cabin, so VERY familiar with airplanes and passengers, but you’re apparently NOT familiar with those things. And “mostly business travelers and families” doesn’t diminish the threat of the air-rage passenger intent on doing harm.


            Just dumber than a fucking bag of hammers. End of story.

          • Bill_G

            You’re a paranoid old fuck. All the stuff you’re whining about happens so infrequently that normal people don’t worry about it let alone prepare for it. I mean you may as well walk around with a kevlar helmet on – you can never be too careful about snipers, I mean.

            Anyway, if you weren’t such a jackass I’d pity you. Since you’ve been in the military though I’ll just assume you’ve got some kind of PTSD or flashbacks or whatever and drop the issue. Take care of yourself and try not to hurt anyone.

          • MoreCowbell

            Stay unprepared, pussy boy. You’re too stupid to convince otherwise. Just wear a fucking sign around your neck that says “I refuse to defend myself” so they go for you instead of me.

          • Bill_G

            Don’t forget to take your meds, old man.

          • MoreCowbell

            I don’t take meds, but I do work out 6 x a week, Kick your punk ass anytime you want.

          • Bill_G

            You ought to go see a doctor then. He’ll help you out. Working out won’t fix what’s wrong with you.

          • MoreCowbell

            Lighten up, Francis

        • Richard Allen

          Stab you with a pen in the eye comes to mind..or slit your throat with an unassuming edged object..No guns, or “knives” needed..

          • Bill_G

            Sure, it’s possible. Highly unlikely. But possible. In an extremely rare event I might even die from that attack. But most likely the other passengers would subdue the guy as I fought him off and he’d be arrested when we got to the terminal. I doubt having a security guard would do much good. And though a gun would be helpful that works both ways so if you allow those then I’m getting shot instead of stabbed with a pen and there’s collateral deaths and a rapid decompression when somebody shoots a hole in the plane. All told, this seems like a pretty low risk problem and the airlines are giving it the appropriately low amount of attention.

            In any case, the best way to not get killed in this world is to not give anyone a reason to kill you. Few killings are truly random. If you actually do have someone that wants you dead then maybe you should travel with a bodyguard.

  • Mach1club

    you get paid for your stories I suspect right? Proof your stories.

  • Richard Allen

    Bill_G, if you truly believe an Air Marshall, or someone trained in security type issues are not needed on a flight, you’re sadly mistaken. A knife, or firearm is NOT the only weapons used in attacking someone, sure they are stopped by airport security with such things before a flight. However, the supposed supermen terrorists of 9/11 hi-jacked those supposed flights with box cutters, and expertly flew those aircraft into 2 high-rise buildings..so no knives or guns needed, if you believe the official accounts. You say no long lasting effects can be had from an unarmed attacker? OMG, you sure live in a world of your own there. Lets assume you’re married a moment, and your wife is on a flight, she goes to bathroom, is over powered by a large assailant, gagged, and then brutally raped and strangled in there, while you sit out in the aisle, happy no one has any “weapons” on board. Suppose the person who raped and killed her is caught when plane lands, and sentenced to the death penalty for the Rape and murder of your wife..now that person dies too at the hands of the Executioner. You can sit there and say NO long lasting effects will happen? The death of a loved one at the hands of an unarmed attacker won’t bother you? See, when you’re spewing rhetoric at the masses on these comment sections, at least make it believable..OK? Incidentally, a person can easily kill another, barehanded, and anyone who believes otherwise is sadly mistaken…

  • Kim Jeffris

    Sheriff Clarke, America’s Sherriff, is a consummately professional police officer, a first rate citizen and an American treasure.