Let me make a big old preface to my post that what happened in South Bend yesterday was awful. And if the report is true that this hydraulic lift was built to withstand only up to 25 MPH winds, Notre Dame will have some explaining to do. Clearly, it looks like Notre Dame made a poor judgement to allow anyone to go up in that thing with those winds, and in this case, the repercussions may be warranted.
But as many here have seen in the past, I'm not big on the blame game. It seems as a society, we're too quick to look for someone to blame. Someone to be accountable. In this case, I'm not going to let the program off the hook completely because it totally defies common sense to have anyone go 50 feet in the air on one of those things in 50 MPH winds.
I do, though, have to ask... at what point do we also take individual responsibility into equation?
This kid clearly knew he was going into a bad, bad situation. I have no doubt that it's pretty tough for any 20 year old, who's undoubtedly living out a dream job, to stand up to a coach and say they won't do that kind of a job. But as these chilling tweets from his account indicated a mere hour before his death, he knew he was getting into a real bad situation.
I am not at all blaming him for this... but when do we as a culture start asking why it's not our own personal responsibility to raise self-awareness of safety issues with our employers even at the risk of being too macho or simply coming off as a wimp? I'm troubled that the kid didn't at least raise the issue with the Notre Dame staff knowing full well the situation he was getting into. If he raises the concerns and Notre Dame sends him into the situation anyhow, that is absolutely completely on them. I know what it's like to be that age and have a job that one wouldn't want to question anything you're told for fear of losing the job. But I also know a lot of kids do possess the common sense to make some rational decisions, and if they don't, it's a choice.
What happened in South Bend was a real, real tragedy. One that could have been avoided with any common sense by school officials. And that's a real shame that these adults didn't exercise any. But it's also disappointing that this kid did apparently have the common sense to know how dangerous a situation he was in, even before he got into it, and didn't speak up.
How do we delegate complete blame on others when we're not standing up to protect ourselves? That's been bugging me about this.