Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's Not My Fault

The recent tragedy of the death of the Georgian Luger reminded me once again how often people today just can't admit doing something wrong. The fact that this track was designed and built to produce the world's fastest times, that no padding was placed around potential death traps, and that practice times were limited apparently played no part in the tragic events that led to this competitor's death.

I find it interesting that after the death there was padding placed around pillars; the start was changed in order to reduce speeds; competitors were assigned practice times; and plywood sheets now protect athletes. I wonder why, if there was no fault in the original design and construction of the track, were these after-the-fact precautions taken?

Not to beat a dead horse . . . but if Mark McGwire really took steroids to help his pain, then why wouldn't he voluntarily resign his homerun record? If all he did was to take these drugs to play the game, and if all he ever wanted to do was just play the game, and if the only thing that was important to him was playing the game -- then why hang on to the record? Wouldn't simply having played the game be enough for him?

I recently had some issues with the company that provides my prescriptions. A worker entered my information incorrectly, and the order was rejected. That in itself wouldn't cause many issues; however, this is a medication I need to live. When I called the company to see if I could resolve the issue, its position was that it was my fault for not answering my phone or e-mail messages. Though I was away from my home and there were no e-mails from the company, I was still informed it was my fault.

Yes, it seems as if in today's world there is no one who will stand up and say, "I made a mistake." As men we must teach our sons that there will be times when it is not only the manly thing, but also the moral thing to admit a personal mistake in judgment, action, or deeds. Until men choose to stand up and take responsibility for their actions, it seems our society will continue declining. As long as we doggedly maintain that "it's not my fault" -- no matter what the issue -- civility and courtesy in society are diminished, and we relinquish our roles as being the men God fully intended us to be.


Dr.A said...

Sad but true, we live in a society that is populated by a large group of "not me's". Yes, if Mr. McGwire had any kind of decency he would voluntarily revoke his alleged record because he obtained it under false pretense. But he is just another symptom of what ails us as a nation, namely, the aforementioned inability to admit wrongdoing.

No, there wasn't anything wrong with the luge run, of course not, but they decided to fix it anyway. Right. Always the need for a tragedy before someone does something.

How about airlines if they accept a 1% failure rate as acceptable collateral damage? How do they explain that 1% to the families of their victims? No, no-one wants to admit they're wrong. This is America after all and we are, at the very least, as perfect as money can buy.

agedwirehead said...

We may, and probably do, often make errors in thought. In the Information Technology world it happens a lot. In writing and publishing it also happens a lot. (Lets see, is it "affect" or "effect" here?) If you are not careful, you will get into the circular argument of omission vs. error vs. fault. vs. blame.

Working on the Manned Space Program we wanted to make certain we weren't responsible for people dying. But people have died as a result of that program. Was I some how responsible? I'm almost certain no deed that I did perform and no deed that I should have performed but didn't had any linkage to the causes of disaster. In my claiming this, however, am I not raising myself to God's level? How could I possibly know any of this with certainty prior to the reading of the Lamb's Book of Life?

A firing squad of 5 is provided 4 guns loaded with lethal bullets and one loaded with a blank, to relieve the conscience of the members of the squad.

Similarly, in this day of over specialization, the luge run was undoubtedly designed by a team, built by a second team, and operated by a third team. In communal efforts, errors always occur, but disasters miraculously don't.

Society only wants to blame when disaster happens, but ignore the thousands of other errors when it didn't happen.

As to the other example, what difference is it one way or the other? We have enough of a clue about character to make reasonable judgements. In a few hundred years folks won't care about baseball--actually, I'm pretty certain I won't care about it at all in well less than 50 years.

On this Ash Wednesday, we should be looking at our own failings, not Mark's or some hapless designer, builder, or operator in Canada. How have I disappointed God? But more importantly, how can I, today, let God work in me that wonderful perfection of over-abundant, overflowing love?

For me, the list of my disappointing God is long, as I am convinced it is for every person who has lived 60 years. My list is neither better or worse than any of my neighbor's. They are all bad. It is the list of how I shower God with glory that is so pitifully short and that I pray He will help me make much longer before he calls me home.

Ken said...

"I wonder why, if there was no fault in the original design and construction of the track, were these after-the-fact precautions taken?"

I do not disagree with the premise of your post, but simply ask the question in response ... What would have happened if they had NOT addressed the tragic circumstances once they had occurred?

After an infamous lawsuit filed (and won some years ago) Every cup of coffee I now buy now comes with a caution that the contents are hot. Does every such warning serve as an implicit indictment that the contents of my morning brew were intentionally made too hot for my personal safety? Is this warning after the fact an admission of guilt?

Or is it simply a move to limit any further personal injury and/or potential lawsuits? (Which I would add to your otherwise well-stated arguments as another sign of our ever increasing lack of personal accountability).

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that in every design of every product, there are imperfections. No person who designs anything does a perfect job. And, as time goes on, we learn from our mistakes. As a result, we hope that the designs we do next year will be better than the ones we did last year. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't design anything today, just because we may do a better job tomorrow. There are two kinds of "poor" designs. Those that are poor due to lack of knowledge or experience, and those that are on purpose, possibly to save money or lack of caring. Law suites should be reserved for the latter. I can accept the fact that when I use a product, I'm taking some risk. In the case of the McDonalds coffee, McDonalds could have made the coffee not as hot, and people would have complained that it wasn't hot enough. The lady who got the $ millions because SHE spilled the coffee cost us all a little bit of freedom. If she didn't want something hot, she shouldn't have bought coffee. When I pick up a cup of coffee, I expect it to be hot. If it's too hot for my taste, I can wait until it cools down to my liking. But it's my responsibility to not spill it on myself. If I spill it on myself, shame on me, not McDonalds. Adding a note on the cup that it might be hot is not only an insult to my intelligence, but doesn't do any good unless the customer knows how to read. Should we include a video tape with each cup for the customer to watch, in case they can't read? One of the biggest problems with our society these days is lawyers and political correctness. It makes me wonder why anyone would want to be in any business. No matter what you do, some lawyer is hidding in the bushes waiting for something to go wrong.

I'm sick of lawnmowers that won't run when you let go of the handle, cars that won't go into gear without your foot on the brake, laws that force you to wear seatbelts (I wear them all the time, because I want to. But the government shouldn't force me.), lighters that go out when you let go of the "safety" button, etc. I didn't have all of these "safety" features when I grew up, and somehow I survived.

Ed Blonski said...

Genesis reveals the first time the "It's not my fault" game was played:

The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

- Genesis 3: 12-13

Ironically, the Serpent doesn't play the game. He doesn't seem to care that it is his fault.

Scott said...

When we say something is "idiot proof" that is only until a bigger or better idiot comes along.
The Sliding Center track was a training facility that was in use prior the luge accident. There is no record of injury or death prior to this event. That having been said, the response when an accident happens is how can we make changes to prevent the same event from happening again. The pads on the pillar will not prevent the same accident from happening, but may absorb some of the energy from the impact. Raising the walls will not change the fact that if you reach that point you will crash, & not be competitive.
Enclosing the track may prevent some deaths, but create other risks. This can be said of every activity that we engage in that propels us faster than we can safely crawl.
Sports of any kind or about testing the limits in the pursuit of excellence. In that pursuit accidents can & will happen. This is the same throughout history. Any time that we count on or own skill or ability, without depending on our creator, we can meet with accidents.

Cristy Witherspoon said...

The biggest room in life is the room for improvement. Yes, we appreciate now the efforts of the authorities in sports to take precautions, but it took the death of a Georgian luger, named Nodar Kumaritashvili, to cause them to act. And yeah, accidents happen most of the time, especially in sports, but there has to be someone accountable for the wrongful death of this promising athlete. I sincerely hope his family got the compensation they're entitled to. It won't compensate for the loss of a loved one, but at least, they get to taste justice.
-Cristy Witherspoon