Thingish Things

The Death of Accidents

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 20•11

Bus Driver Indicted for Manslaughter. Photo from

I have a general rule of thumb when climbing onto airplanes.  If the pilot appears sober; if he is not chanting in Arabic, and if he is willing to go up in the air, I’m willing to hitch a ride with him.  Doesn’t matter if it is raining, snowing, windy, or hailing.  He knows more about flying than I do, and if he’s willing to put his life on the line to move me from point A to point B, who am I to argue?

That may not be the smartest measure, but it is mine.  It is a bet that the pilot values his life as much as I value mine – and I think that’s a good wager.  It’s not a 100 percent assurance, but it is probably a 99.9. Same goes for any mode of transportation — bus, boat, subway, train, and auto travel.

It disturbs me, then, to learn that the driver of the casino bus that crashed on I-95 earlier this year killing 15 people is now up on manslaughter charges.  It was a horrific accident, and a terrible tragedy for the victims and their families. Lawsuits aplenty are appropriate. But manslaughter? Wasn’t this an accident?

Anyone over the age of 40 will likely remember accidents.  They were those things that happened by mistake prior to 1990 or so – unfortunate things that were really no one’s fault.  They just happened, and we lived with the consequences and moved on, however pained.  Accidents were a part of life.

Not anymore. The trend of criminal justice today is following the trend of civil justice. Someone is always to blame.  First we began suing ladder manufactures for building…ladders.  And now we are jailing people for making poor, split-second judgment calls.  

In Italy today, scientists are on trial for failing to predict an earthquake in 2009. They, too, are being charged with manslaughter – 300 counts of it. Does anyone think a scientist would fail to predict an earthquake on purpose?

It is amazing to watch mankind turn on itself.  Who will we indict next?  God?

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One Comment

  1. Your Friend says:

    Um. They guy has been previously convicted of manslaughter. Would you hire such a person and ask him to be responsible for the lives of others? The crime here is that the bus company is getting away with that stupidity.

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