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Thread: Some questions on this ND tragedy

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Some questions on this ND tragedy

    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.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    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.
    I think saying the kid apparently didn't have common sense is harsh. You have no idea if he was told that it would be fine. Maybe he relayed he was scared and he was then told to get up there and do the job.

    Maybe he thought working for Notre Dame was an honor and he didn't want to question the authority of those above him? Sometimes people take risks they shouldn't when they believe they have no other option.

    Also how are you sure he wouldn't have taken some blame if he was here to tell us?
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    I just heard about this and common sense tells me that he shouldn't been up on that tower in those winds. I don't know if it was his decision or someone else's but going up on that tower was a stupid decision.
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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by Cedric View Post
    I think saying the kid apparently didn't have common sense is harsh. You have no idea if he was told that it would be fine. Maybe he relayed he was scared and he was then told to get up there and do the job.

    Maybe he thought working for Notre Dame was an honor and he didn't want to question the authority of those above him? Sometimes people take risks they shouldn't when they believe they have no other option.

    Also how are you sure he wouldn't have taken some blame if he was here to tell us?
    I said the kid did have common sense based on his tweets, but didn't express it to the coaching staff. I said that was what's most disappointing was that he knew he was in a bad situation and didn't speak up.

    As far as your question... the way society works, I highly doubt it.
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Brutus, I understand and agree with your points on blame and personal responsibility. But I think what we've got here, and other situations similar to this, is a big case of hubris. We never think that stuff like this would actually happen to us.

    I can think of a lot of really stupid things that I've done in the past for a coach, employer or just because I'm an idiot and got away with it even though I probably shouldn't have. We put ourselves in dangerous situations every day but I don't think it's because of a lack of personal responisbility, we just think that the worst could never happen to us.

    I agree that the kid should have never been in the tower if they are only meant to withstand winds of 25 MPH but I'm not sure it can be pinned on the kid's lack of personal responsibility...
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    I don't know how old you are, Brutus, but I'm guessing you are quite a bit older than the kid who died in this accident. And I'm guessing that if the kid were older, and better understood the equipment he was working in, he likely wouldn't have been up there in those conditions. With age comes wisdom. It's easy to say he should've known better, but with most 20-year olds, a lot of times they don't know better and don't use the best judgement. An adult should have stepped in and prevented this tragedy from happening. Yes, in some ways 20-year olds are adults. But at 20, your judgement isn't nearly what it is at 30, 35, 40, etc. I don't hold this kid responsible in any way.
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    Blowing away bad memories Redsfan320's Avatar
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    I missed this. What exactly happened here?

    320
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsfan320 View Post
    I missed this. What exactly happened here?

    320
    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5736851

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by New York Red View Post
    I don't know how old you are, Brutus, but I'm guessing you are quite a bit older than the kid who died in this accident. And I'm guessing that if the kid were older, and better understood the equipment he was working in, he likely wouldn't have been up there in those conditions. With age comes wisdom. It's easy to say he should've known better, but with most 20-year olds, a lot of times they don't know better and don't use the best judgement. An adult should have stepped in and prevented this tragedy from happening. Yes, in some ways 20-year olds are adults. But at 20, your judgement isn't nearly what it is at 30, 35, 40, etc. I don't hold this kid responsible in any way.
    I don't know if you had a chance to see the Twitter messages he left to his account about an hour prior to his death, but apparently he fully knew the risks.

    Here is a picture of his Facebook page, which contain two Twitter messages from his account that synced over...

    (warning, these are chilling)

    http://www.indyposted.com/121057/dec...eclan-sulivan/

    Even the message before he got up there, he obviously new the risks he was facing. In this case, I don't think, even being 20, he was ignorant of the dangers.
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    I think the responsibility for this falls on the coaches 100%.

    Think of less dire circumstances, an athlete never wants to tell a coach he can't play due to injury. That's why the good coaches take it out of the athlete's hands and refuse to let them play and make an injury worse.

    In this case, the kid wouldn't want to admit to the coach(or video coordinator whomever his immediate boss was) that he couldn't or wouldn't do the job, especially because he was afraid. 99 times out of 100, the thing doesn't fall down and the kid would feel embarrassed because he refused to do the job. That's why the coach has to be the one to say "no one's going up there."

    The sad part of this, as with most young people in a similar less dire situations, the disappointment would likely be less than he had feared. If he had said something to the coach, I'm guessing the coach would have looked up and realized that he'd never want to put the kid at risk and accomodated.

    But again, because the kid was so eager to please, he put himself in harms way, and the coach has to be proactive enough to keep him from doing that.
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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    I've been climbing roofs to inspect damage for over 30 years. There have been many times, especially earlier in my career, in which I knew better than to climb a dangerous roof, but the implied pressure to get the job done overrode my "commen sense" telling me not to do it.

    I had many close calls, and thankfully never a fall.

    After each close call, I kicked myself for doing it. It always looks worse once you get up there, kind of like a high diving board.

    This kid should have been protected by the coaches. He shouldn't have been put in a position to have to stand up to them.

    If he were older, maybe a little more of the blame could go his way.

    It's on the coaches, IMO.
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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier Red View Post
    I think the responsibility for this falls on the coaches 100%.

    Think of less dire circumstances, an athlete never wants to tell a coach he can't play due to injury. That's why the good coaches take it out of the athlete's hands and refuse to let them play and make an injury worse.

    In this case, the kid wouldn't want to admit to the coach(or video coordinator whomever his immediate boss was) that he couldn't or wouldn't do the job, especially because he was afraid. 99 times out of 100, the thing doesn't fall down and the kid would feel embarrassed because he refused to do the job. That's why the coach has to be the one to say "no one's going up there."

    The sad part of this, as with most young people in a similar less dire situations, the disappointment would likely be less than he had feared. If he had said something to the coach, I'm guessing the coach would have looked up and realized that he'd never want to put the kid at risk and accomodated.

    But again, because the kid was so eager to please, he put himself in harms way, and the coach has to be proactive enough to keep him from doing that.
    Is that really a good excuse though? If I do something because I'm overly eager in my profession, does it make it smart? Does it make it right?

    If someone knows the risks, no matter how understandable the motives, a bad decision is a bad decision.

    I'm not saying the Notre Dame coaches shouldn't have stopped this from happening. But I don't really see how we should be teaching that it's OK for kids not to speak up against their better judgment just because they're eager to please their bosses. To me... ignorance is not a good excuse.

    Here's the thing...

    When I was 20, I was driving 2 hours away, 3 days a week for school in broadcast journalism. At the same time, I was driving an hour in the opposite direction for an internship at a radio station. This while holding down a part time pizza delivery job.

    There were a few times I had to call off class or the internship because of weather conditions. And truthfully, I felt awful about it. One night I called off the internship because of an ice storm. I kept second-guessing myself if it would get me fired because it wasn't 'that bad' or at least I told myself. I was really worried how the station would view my call-offs, even though they were for the right reasons.

    The next day, I found out a classmate from school had been killed while out driving in that same ice storm. Now that wouldn't have been me. He was not even in the same part of the state as I was. But reality hit me that night that I was smart to make the decision I did, even though it might have cost me a good opportunity early in my career.

    Had I not made that choice, and had it been me in an accident, I would hope that the blame is not put on the station just because they didn't tell me not to come to work that evening. I knew the risk, and had I gone anyhow, I can't on good conscious blame them for not stopping it themselves. As it turns out, they were fully supportive of my decision when I suggested it was not wise for me to drive an hour in the icy conditions. But I sure was nervous about it when making the choice.

    Given that, I totally understand the kid's predicament and I understand why kids his age wouldn't often speak up. It wasn't all that long ago that I was that same age and feeling a similar issue. But having lost a classmate that evening, as I would later find out, it made me appreciate having the guts to make a smart decision even if it may have cost me a job. You just don't fool around with your own safety.

    I think we should be worried about kids getting that message instead of suggesting that it's OK to ignore your conscience, because if something happens, it's someone's fault. Notre Dame officials made a very bad choice. No doubt about it. But the kid's own words suggest he knew he was in a bad position and apparently did not act on it.

    If he had just said something, anything about his concerns... who's to say the Notre Dame coaches wouldn't have let him off the hook? It's one thing that they made a bad choice not to stop it, but it would be completely different if they forced him to go up there despite the concern.
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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    A 20 yr. old young man is going to have a hard time standing up to these kinds of pressures. Should have known better? Sure, but I've got a 22 yr. old and a 20 yr. old and I can completely tell you that decision making is the last thing for them to develop.

    They can write a brilliant essay, solve a difficult calculus problem, or create a wonderful pice of art. But when it comes to making consistently good, principled, and well-thought out decisions, that doesn't always happen. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times to them, "what in the world were you thinking?".

    The coaches should have this kind of decision making capability and they should have been the one to make the call "don't go up there, kid". Its 1000% on their heads.

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Tucker View Post
    A 20 yr. old young man is going to have a hard time standing up to these kinds of pressures. Should have known better? Sure, but I've got a 22 yr. old and a 20 yr. old and I can completely tell you that decision making is the last thing for them to develop.

    They can write a brilliant essay, solve a difficult calculus problem, or create a wonderful pice of art. But when it comes to making consistently good, principled, and well-thought out decisions, that doesn't always happen. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times to them, "what in the world were you thinking?".

    The coaches should have this kind of decision making capability and they should have been the one to make the call "don't go up there, kid". Its 1000% on their heads.
    Well, yes and no. I agree that decision-making isn't always the strong suit of a 20-year old. Lord knows I made some regretful mistakes when I was 20. I kept clear of drugs, alcohol and most of the stuff that could get me in a lot of trouble, but I still made some stupid mistakes.

    But two things: the kid appeared to be thinking very clearly about it. He knew what he was doing was dangerous. Knowing the potential consequences of your actions is half the battle. And secondly, I also believe that we still have to be accountable for our actions at that age. You're right that we don't always make the right decision, but is that really an excuse? Does that let us off the hook if we made a bad decision?

    I was raised to believe that you should know the difference between right and wrong, and you should make your choices based on that knowledge. It's not easy standing up to pressures of authority figures at that age, but if we're to expect them to make smart decisions and avoid bad influences at that age, we should also expect them to be able to know when to take themselves out of harm's way.

    And again, that's not saying Notre Dame shouldn't have taken that decision out of the kid's hands. But the kid unfortunately knew of impending danger... really just wish he had brought his concerns to ND's attention, at very least. Perhaps it would have caused additional reflection on the safety risks and a better decision would have been made by the coaches.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Some questions on this ND tragedy

    If a 20 year old kid busts his butt and stays quiet doing his job, maybe he'll get a letter of recommendation from Brian Kelly to be a video coordinator at another school after graduation. Recognition from somebody with clout for doing a crappy job well can jump start a career. If he pipes up, there's probably 300 other kids at Notre Dame willing to hang out with the football team and watch practice every day.

    Look at it this way, despite the academic reputation of Notre Dame, this may have been his best shot for a foothold to a career. Most of us out there would put up with additional risk to keep that opportunity alive.

    I'm guessing there were other pressures to do a job and do it well despite the risks beyond someone of authority saying so.
    Last edited by paintmered; 10-28-2010 at 08:19 PM.
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