Saturday, May 21, 2011

For What It's Worth... We've Had a Difference of Opinions

The other day, my very upstanding, smart, and gentlemanly friend and I were having a bit of discourse regarding this article:  College graduates cheer as paralyzed student walks to get degree with robotic exoskeleton.  I qualify his temperament here so that I can attempt to fairly present both sides of the story.  I believe we are of generally similar backgrounds (in the grand scheme of things), and from this comes two different opinions.  The following is our debate, presented in anonymity.  Where do you stand?

Person A:  Call me cynical and cruel, but I think that medical device should have been given to someone affected by a drunk driver, not some idiot who got behind the wheel and, luckily, only hurt himself. He could have killed someone, a family, children etc....and people are cheering for him? Please.

Person B:  On the other hand, I would say that an 18 year old who makes a mistake that countless teens who have gone before him have made, and ends up being paralyzed for the rest of his life has done a pretty sufficient job of punishing himself. He is helping the researchers with their work and was allowed to borrow the device to walk across the stage for seven steps during graduation. The research in which he is participating will be able to help others who will someday be able to benefit from this technology.

Person A Rebuttal:  You are probably right, I just have a less optomistic perspective on the whole news report. The adversity he is experiencing is a the direct result of a decision to get behind the wheel; which could have killed someone. I imagine my child driving someday and I loathe the thought of someone like this getting a standing ovation. Sure, he made the best of his situation - big deal, it was his fault. I know that sounds bad, but I have grown tired of the media making a 'hero' out of nothing. A teacher that changed someone's life, an honest police officer patrolling the streets, the soldier fighting for his/her country; those are heroes that should be getting our attention. IMO this article is best intended as a tech report on that device, opposed to the intended 'feel good story'. I just don't 'feel good' about his actions and the tradegy that could have befallen someone else on the road that night.

Person B Rebuttal:  I completely see where you are coming from, but I also have to think that the teacher, police officer, or soldier may have gone drunk driving one night and put the same amount of people in jeopardy with their actions. Though, because of an act of God they did not happen to crash their vehicle, we never know about it. They are able to chalk that up to a bad mistake and move on with a normal life. We cheer them on for their accomplishments without a second thought. I just can't see keeping from this man, every opportunity that is freely afforded to everyone else who makes the same mistakes just because he wears the outcome of his in a physical way for everyone to see.


  1. I agree with Person A. It should be a tech article, not a feel good article. Why should we applaud a person that makes bad decisions? Yea, he didn't hurt anyone else, just himself. Another example of how this country loves to reward criminals and ignores the victims.

  2. I may or may not have consumed massive amounts of alcohol in my younger days but I can honestly say that not once did I EVER get behind the wheel intoxicated. Its an easy choice to make and anyone who does it is selfish and does not take into consideration the other people on the road.

    That said, the fact that this student appears to have repented (good thing with today being the rapture and all) and is doing good things to help others to not do the stupid thing he did I say more power to him. Besides this research is important for a variety of reasons:

    A) I want a battle mech and I want it now.

    B) It can lead to bettering the lives of people who did not selfishly wield a deadly weapon across the roads of America.

    C) It is vitally important for our future robot overlords to walk erect and appear to be human to those who do not willfully and exuberantly serve them.

    ...I for one welcome our new Robot overlords.