Wednesday, June 1, 2011

For What It's Worth... You were not wearing handcuffs

"He might be violent."  "He weighs too much."  "He's trying to kill himself anyway."  "Policy says we musn't try."

Are any of these reasons to let a man die?

Firefighters and police claimed they were "handcuffed by policy" this week as they watched a man take over an hour to drown.  Instead of going in after a person who was trying to take his life, they opted instead to hide behind rules and regulations.  A passerby even had to pull the man out of the water after his body finally got close enough to the shore.  In the aftermath, the 'what-ifs' and excuses seem garishly infantile in contrast to the fact that a person is now dead because of it.

True, it was not a young child swept away by the tide.  I am sure it is easier to deflect responsibility when it is a grown man trying to end his own life.  But the public location he chose, and the slow way in which he ended his life only convince me more that he was begging to be helped.

After the fact, agencies have vowed to dedicate funding to special types of rescue training so that an incident like this will not happen again.  But I am unmoved.  You cannot persuade me that lack of funding was responsible for this.  In fact, I do not stop at blaming emergency response personel.  I also blame every person that stood by and watched - stood by and did nothing until it was too late and then asked officials why they did not help.  To me, every spectator who witnessed this macabre event unfold played a part in securing this man's fate.

I am disturbed to think that anyone could have stood by without even trying to go into the water.  Without trying to get close enough to assess the situation.  Without trying to do something - anything.  I am even more disturbed to think anyone would have stayed to watch knowing that they would not be assisting.

Who knows... perhaps if I hurry I can catch a replay on You Tube.



  1. I am flabbergasted that nobody even tried to help. That goes for the public and the agencies involved. It says a lot about society and how people are too selfish to be selfless.

    That said I do disagree with you at a point. I think that although it is disappointing that nobody helped I dont think its fair to blame people for not trying. It would be unfair for a person to be asked to risk there own lives to save the life of a person who was trying to end his own.

    To me I see two things that need to be changed about society that are key point in this event.

    One: We should not prevent people from making the decision to cleanly and privately commit suicide. However we should give people the tools and help to that they require to keep them from making this most drastic of choices.

    Two: What is wrong with people! How can a bunch of people just stand on the beach and not try to help. What kind of selfish horrible society do we live in. What is wrong with our culture that people stand around watching the spectacle of a man slowly drowning.

  2. There's a lot of herd mentality. I bet that, with 'the authorities' saying, "stay back, sir, that man's dangerous." Trying to imagine my reaction if a couple of armed and armored cops came over and said that as I was taking off my shoes, I think maybe I'd be cowed. If, alternately I said, "f-- you" they'd probably restrain me, eh?