Charges were dropped yesterday against Ruth
"Grammy" Gordon, an 83-year-old
wheelchair-bound grandmother, who was originally charged with assault
battery, and assault with a deadly weapon, because an altercation she
last week with six airport security guards, that left all six
"Justice has been served," said the 95-pound
mother of three and grandmother
of six, as she sat in her wheelchair, aided in her breathing by an
bottle. "Now I'm going to sue every fool in the federal government
ignorance, stupidity, and just plain general incompetence. I'm an
and I won't be treated like this."
The problem began last month as Gordon was attempting
to board an airplane.
"These guys are supposed to be some kind of professionals,"
she said, "but
they're dumber than rocks. Here they were letting guys who looked just
terrorists walk through without searching them, and then they pull me
and tell me they're going to search me? I don't think so."
According to one witness, Bud Cort of Cuyahoga Falls,
Ohio, one guard, "who
weighed about 300 pounds, looked like he was drunk, and had his shirt
told this woman she couldn't board the plane unless they searched her.
was really rude. That's when the trouble started."
Videotapes showed that Gordon ran the guard down with
wheelchair, then sat on top of the screaming man while spinning her
circles. "Doofus was so fat he couldn't get up," said Gordon
with a giggle.
One guard who attempted to pull Gordon's wheelchair
off of the screaming man
from behind was hit over the head with an oxygen bottle and knocked
unconscious. A third guard, who approached Gordon from the front, was
left dazed on the floor. Witnesses said she was cackling, "Put your
an old lady, will you?" as she bashed both guards.
The tape also showed a fourth guard attempting to grab
Gordon removed a knitting needle from her purse and stabbed him in his
buttock. "What a wimp," she told reporters. "He started
grabbing his butt and running like a puppy that someone kicked."
"It was amazing," said another witness,
Scott Ryan, also of Cuyahoga Falls,
a professor of music at Ohio Express University and author of Yusef
Cat Stevens Declawed. "The whole crowd just stood there cheering
clapping. I mean, she was whupping butt."
A fifth guard that attempted to grab Gordon had the
seat of his pants set on
fire with a cigarette lighter than had escaped detection. "He just
whoosh across the concourse, screaming and slapping at all these flames
flying out of his rear," said Ryan.
A sixth guard did finally manage to get Gordon in a
body hug. "I think that
was the wrong thing to do," said another witness, who declined to
identified. "She just grabbed him by his greasy hair with one hand
cracked him across the jaw with her skinny fist. And down and out he
After all this, Gordon's chair was still sitting on
top of the first guard.
The tapes clearly showed her leaning over and yelling, "Apologize
to me, you
fat sumbitch, or when I'm done with you you'll just be a greasy spot on
As the crowd roared, the guard cried, "I'm sorry,
I'm sorry! Uncle! I won't
do it again!"
Finally, Gordon surrendered without further incident,
and was taken to jail
and released on her own recognizance. "We didn't have any
choice," said an
unidentified officer of the court. "Over 200 people showed up to
her. I think if we had demanded bail, there would have been a
Over 20 lawyers offered to defend her for free.
However, realizing the
precariousness of the case, Gordon was not charged with anything.
there's a jury in the whole country that would have found her guilty of
anything," said one of the lawyers.
"I'm flying again tomorrow," Gordon told
reporters. "And I suggest no one at
the airport so much as look at me wrong."
May 27, 2002
Bob Wallace [send him mail], a former newspaper
reporter and editor, and an
incurable lover of puns, lives in St. Louis