Thursday, August 04, 2005

Death tolls and "survivors"

American news media was quick to lament the inferno on a Tornonto runway that resulted in everyone on board leaving the jet with their lives. Good Morning America did a report on how to survive such catastrophe, despite the fact that all passengers knew this without their report. They ran a story on what to do to avoid certain death, after the fact that everyone on board handled the "tragedy" without anyone actually dying. Look, if the women, children, stupid and lame aboard the aircraft all made it out unscathed, why act as though people are incompetent in the face of adversity?

The real story is that people know what to do. The people in the exit rows take their responsibility seriously, and the people seated in rest of the plane know what to do to do when danger is imminent. Hallelujah! Let's laud the comfort we should feel that we can be safe in dangerous situations. Let's make people feel MORE comfortable to fly, because passengers are smart people, not hapless victims when tumultuous circumstances arise. Shouldn't we feel good that danger isn't equivocal to death?

Why are media commited to instilling fear in people, when those confronted with potentially grave consequences all acted with great courage in the face of danger?

The story isn't about the "survivors." They ALL survived. Reporting on survivors implies that some on board perished. If everyone was a survior--doesn't that imply some died? I mean, if nobody died, who's a survivor?

I was in Seattle a few years ago for a great quake, in which the "death toll" was zero. Doesn't that mean there was no death toll? Were we all survivors of the quake? At no point did I feel my life was endangered, but the Richter scale was rounded up to the highest estimate, and I was awarded a purple heart in the eyes of the public told to to worry about my safety. Why even comment on death toll? Must there be death for an event to carry any weight? Sure, people could have died, but if they didn't, WTF?

Everyone's fine. Thanks for telling the world that, but shame on you for telling me that I'm not as bright as the random souls who boarded the plane without knowledge of event that would unfold, that they were more than capable of dealing with the event than the rest of us would be in if the same event was to befall us.