Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Heroes And Villains

"It is hard to know who we might really turn out to be when the time comes: one of the passengers who snatched other people’s life vests, stepped on little kids, and escaped early, or one of those who turned back to save one more person more helpless than they and never escaped at all, like the missing musician, age 25, who let a woman with a baby take his place on a lifeboat."

9 Comments / Post A Comment

Aloysius (#1,808)

It's not that hard to know if you go into it planning to be the first guy.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

I am the missing musician, always.

Sutton (#1,490)

This is the terrifying thing, to me, about doomsday scenarios on any scale (well, other than the actual doom itself, of course): how fragile civilization is, how easily the time could come when only those willing to behave like animals will survive. Will the pride you take in being above all that keep you from surviving? Or will you shock yourself with the speed at which you are willing to descend into animalistic fury?

deepomega (#1,720)

@Sutton You may be comforted to know that there's a lot of research and anecdotal evidence that suggests people who actually are in mortal peril tend to help each other out. (Or maybe you're a werewolf?)

Danzig! (#5,318)

@Sutton Fuckin' Hobbes, man. Everybody just kind of takes it as a given that he had anarchy figured out.

deepomega (#1,720)

But… couldn't he have gone and held the baby? Like, how big was this baby/how small was this musician that they were interchangeable on a lifeboat?

cherrispryte (#444)

Can I ask something stupid? The boat was super close to shore, if the photos are correct. And they were in the Meditteranean. Were seats on lifeboats really a life-or-death necessity? I understand, yes if you've got a baby, but couldn't the missing musican just, you know, swam to shore?
I don't mean to negate his heroic act, and if he went back into the boat to try and save more people and then something horrible happened to him, he's definitely a Grade-A hero and all, but really – it was non-freezing water super-close to shore. Swim musician, swim!

SeanP (#4,058)

@cherrispryte Former naval officer here. It's actually a lot more difficult to accomplish that than you might think. I'm not sure what the sea conditions were, but even moderate swells can make swimming very difficult. Currents can carry you away from shore. You could be eaten by sharks.

Even getting safely into the water is hard – my understanding is that the ship pitched onto its side fairly quickly, so if he didn't get into a lifeboat right away, he may have been pitched or jumped over the side and struck a part of the ship on his way down. That happened to a guy on a ship I was on (also in the Mediterranean). We weren't sinking, but he managed to fall over the side and strike the side of the ship. We did our man overboard drill right away… but we never even found his body.

tl;dr: any time you need to abandon ship, the situation is extremely grave.

MollyculeTheory (#4,519)

If my behavior on the subway is any example, I am the person who hovers near where the next lifeboat was expected to arrive, muttering rude comments under their breath, initially trying to cram on then wussing out at the last second like "oh, ugh, there'll be another one in a minute," and then that's the last lifeboat and they're dead.

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