I can say that Aps, bless her heart, is a very closed minded person. She is the type of person who thinks that their opinion is the only right one. Well, there are two types of opinions, uneducated and educated. I would like to think the latter is worth more than the former. She doesn't know things like ATC is not "in control" of aircraft, pilots are. Pilots are solely responsible for their safe flight, not ATC. A pilot has absolute authority over the airplane at all times and can simply answer, "Unable" if they receive a command from ATC that they aren't happy with. If any pilot, at any time, was unhappy with the kid in the tower, they could have immediately said "unable" and made the real ATC guy come on. Pilots don't blindly follow ATC instructions, or they shouldn't anyway. ATC is just another human being, they aren't perfect. But I wouldn't expect Aps to know this.
That being said, I have a lot of experience in the aviation industry. I have worked around planes for years, I am a licensed pilot and I am a licensed airframe mechanic. Air traffic control is not all inclusive and all the same. The guys working with airplanes in the air are way more stressed than the guys with planes on the ground. Ground control is just that. However, it is "tower" that clears a plane for takeoff.
That being said, I don't think this was a smart idea. But, the media is sensationalizing this out of this world. Aps, did you know that 50,000 people a year die in car crashes in this country? Just how many die in aviation accidents? I don't think it breaks 1000 to be honest, and that includes ALL small airplanes as well. Flying is very safe. What if this had happened at a dead po-dunk airport in the middle of BFE? Nobody would care because it wouldn't have affected a well-known busy airport. But does that make it any smarter to do? Does John Smith in his Cessna 172 not mean as much as John Smith in an airliner? I would like to think it wouldn't matter the airplane or airport, but it does. The media needs ratings BAD. This is the best way to get them. ANYTHING airliner related makes major headlines. Why? Because we aren't in control. Just like with Toyota, the cars would go out of control so it made major headlines. We don't like to not have control of our lives. But the fact is, control is only an illusion at best.
Sorry Aps, I will only agree with you up to the point of saying it was a stupid decision but to fire the guy? Nah, that was even dumber. Two wrongs don't make a right.