Monday, August 08, 2005

There have been further developments in last year's accidental death of a summer Crew coach in Alexandria (You can read my original thoughts here ). The parents of the crew coach have sued the Alexandria Crew Boosters organization for wrongful death, seeking both compensatory and punitive damages (including the projected income for the coach, who was planning on becoming a surgeon after college) .

One facet of our society which I'm not too keen on is the blame game. Whenever something goes wrong, fingers and accusations fly in gnat swarms and someone always ends up being the scapegoat, deserved or not, of the problem. A much healthier solution would be to accept that the dastardly event happened, recognize what caused it, and fix it for the future.

I'm sure grief is an incredibly powerful motivator, and perhaps my feelings would be completely reversed were I the parent who lost his son, or if I knew him personally. Without that firsthand experience though, I believe that this lawsuit will not do anyone any good. A large cash sum will NOT bring anyone back to life. Bankrupting a parent-run sports organization will NOT improve boat safety -- this is not some multinational company tacitly dumping toxic waste on playgrounds, it's a group of parents who love the sport of rowing almost as much as their kids in the program.

This was no more and no less than a tragic accident. No one is totally to blame and no one is totally free from it. For every argument stating that the Crew program should have forced their coaches to wear life jackets, there is the counterargument that all the coaches do wear life jackets by choice, and that anyone with more than a couple months of experience under their belt should know better than to hop in a launch without one. For every news story reporting that the Crew program illegally disabled the kill switch on the motor, there is the suggestive thought that a kill switch would have had little bearing on this specific case.

If the people involved are seriously interested in preventing the accident from happening in the future, then the work has already been done -- I'm sure the next few years of Crew members and coaches will be acutely aware of the hazards of the water and more likely to take the appropriate precautions, solely because of word of mouth. Adding litigation to the mix and painting the Crew program as a willfully negligent demon just cheapens the lessons learned, and will have a negative impact on everyone involved for years to come.

If you are a former or present Crew member, I would be interested in hearing your civil thoughts -- please leave a comment. You are also welcome to point any of your rower friends here via this link: .

If you have no interest in Crew, the daily flippancy will return tomorrow. You can visit Florida-Mike's ChompBlog in the meantime, since it just reopened with a brand new look. Here are today's news links:

Prisoners rewarded for not escaping into the maw of a tsunami
"I got 1,000 years of power. Come and get me."
I wasn't a racist, I was an Internet troll

Yesterday's search terms:
shirts making fun of clemson, starcraft medic nude, stamen stains on shirt, adult video bailey's crossroad, tom cruise outer banks, herndon reston merchandise parrots


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