Thursday, 24 April 2008

"It just doesn't wash"

Some interesting observations here from an American outdoorsman commenting on the canyoning tragedy in the Tongariro in which seven people were killed, particularly on the media's "almost surreal" focus on private suffering, and how Americans would have a different focus.  "Current news reports are concentrating on the funerals," he notes, "with the usual media focus on heroism, bravery and related subjects like faith, God, and healing."  In other words, what Lindsay Perigo describes as "the phony grief of the media ghouls."  He continues:

We Americans and our media tend to point fingers hard and fast after adventure fatalities, but Kiwis apparently follow the opposite philosophy to an almost surreal extreme. The prevailing New Zealand attitude seems to be that adventure requires risk, adventurers shouldn’t be coddled, the OPC is very professional, and no one could have predicted what happened. And I’d like to believe that, but it just doesn’t wash.

Read why it won't wash, and wonder why the media here aren't asking the same questions.


  1. Excellent. The media all seemed to get religion didn't they - empty brain idiots making one stupid comment after the other. Even some bloggers were saying not to blame anyone.

    Religion has been in our faces all the time and I want it out, because it clearly makes people stupid, and because its ubiquity oppresses everyone interested in ensuring this tragedy doesn't happen again.

  2. Well Americans are the sort of people who play their rugby with foam padding and stop the game when someone is tackled.

    I think the consensus that sometimes, just sometimes, shit happens is correct in this instance.

  3. So, religion caused this?

    Given the American way, go for it then sue when it turns to custard, the article is not surprising. It is a boiler plate line of enquiry for insurance company lawyers. The court of inquiry will cover the same ground.

    What appears to disgust anonymous is the reaction of the victim's families. Why arn't they blaming someone? This will happen again unless they do...etc.

    All the families are doing is leaving it to the constituted authority to investigate.

    Who cares about your irritation at the Christian response to personal loss? Unless its your loss its none of your business,.


  4. Well said George. It's easy to tell who is being the bigots in this case, and it ain't the Christians this time.

  5. Nobody said religion caused this.

    And it *is* my business as one of my children has been on this camp and had serious reservations on safety. 1 instructor per 10 kids is one of her concerns - the instructor does not know what half the kids are doing. And these are kids who are totally inexperienced with the outdoors - they have spent all their lives sitting on their asses playing playstation. This was not a tidal wave either - it was anticipated.

    There are many questions to be answered. If you disagree and think faith and forgiveness can just absolve everything then I'm pleased you are far, far away from my kids.

    This country is in big trouble, and it's because of the threat from within, not because of Islam or socialism, it's because the intellectual infrastructure has been eroded to the point that incompetence is the norm.

  6. Valid concerns are valid concerns. Take them up with OSH before it gets to the Coroners Court stage. I have been in charge of other's kids in the wild and its no easy task. Some are confident others not, some just plain naughty, but all my responsibility, even with their teachers present to help. 7 per guide was the max allowed on our safety guide and SOP.

    Personally I'm glad I'm away from everybody's kids.


  7. PC, I think everyone just waits for the official reports before starting the blame game.

    Let's not make the sycophantic American media our example.

  8. I agree with Blair.
    Wrong place at the wrong time and, quite importantly, made wrong decisions.
    I think the christians are all playing the right card right now - the same one a libertarian should -and that's to just deal with it (and not via a lawyer, or an ex-judge). Nobody was forced to go into that canyon.

  9. Wow, it wasn't until now (reading that article) that I realised the I went to school (same year) up to seventh form with the guide. Whoa.

  10. Ah, the usual racist prejudices on display. Anti-Americanism is quite ugly. Scratch the surface in NZ and there it is. Doesn't take much to find it....

    How about you jerk-offs consider what the guy is teaching?

    Firstly, the supervisors were careless. The whole show was casually and poorly run. If a building site supervisor or a factory manger ran his operations as piss poor as that, he'd be up on charges. The press would be baying for his head. So would most of you bastards. Hyporcrits the lot of you.

    Worse, there was no disaster recovery plan in place. Once in the canyon, that group was on its own. There was no backup whatsoever. Remember, we are discussing a group of children on an excursion here. Some of them were handicapped. This was not a group of adults well used to involvement in professional extreme adventure activities. These were children of limited experience, limited skill, limited physcial ability and various levels of intellectual maturity. They relied on the supposed intelligence, education and experience of the organisers. you know, the supposed professionals...

    What were the organisers thinking? Clearly not very much.

    The writer of the cited article points out that these events are not "accidents". There is plenty of precedence that can be studied and lessons learned well beforehand. The trouble is that those who should bother to find out (that IS a reponsibility of the organisers/superviors and guides) can't be arsed. This was an entirely preventable situation and there are people who should be held responsible.

    Enough of the Kiwi attitude of piss poor preparation, thoughtlessness, carelessness and casual stupidity. There is no excuse for willful ignorance.

    Perhaps, just maybe, someone may learn from this disaster. But then again, probably not. No-one's at fault, see?



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