Just a few words about how heartless and stupid people can be.
I was sitting at my desk, writing a blog post about Sunday’s day trip, when a brief news blurb on NPR mentioned a helicopter had crashed at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle. My friend Greg flies KOMO’s helicopter from a rooftop helipad there. My blood ran cold as I got on Facebook to message him and his wife, hoping he wasn’t the pilot involved.
Pam came back quickly. It wasn’t Greg. I felt relief. But did it really matter? Was the accident any less tragic because my friend hadn’t been hurt? Of course not. Someone else’s loved ones had been killed. It was a tragedy no matter who was involved.
Of course, someone posted the breaking news story link from KOMO’s website to the Helicopter Pilot’s forum on Facebook. And people were commenting. Stupid, thoughtless people.
The accident had happened only minutes before — hell, the fire was probably still burning — and guys who are supposedly helicopter pilots were already speculating about the cause and spreading misinformation.
“Settling with power,” one genius proclaimed.
“According to witnesses, he was attempting to land on a roof and rolled off,” another amateur reporter added.
It was pretty obvious to me that neither of these “experts” had read the 150 words in the original version of the story they were commenting on — heck, why bother read before commenting? — which clearly said the helicopter was taking off when the accident occurred. Settling with power isn’t something that is likely on takeoff from a rooftop helipad. And it was an established helipad, not merely “a roof.”
Later, the first genius added another piece of fictitious insight: “Yea originally they said he was landing. Just heard there was a crane put up, and be hit a wire.”
“Just heard”? From where? None of the news stories — even hours later when the stories are more fully developed — say anything about a crane.
Other comments and speculations that were clearly not tactful or fully informed followed. I think some of them may have been deleted, but the responses to them remain. Most of us are agreed that this is no time for speculations — especially when there’s a shortage of facts to support them.
The situation was worse, of course, on KOMO’s website where the article appeared. Some cold-hearted conservatives rejoiced over the death of two liberals — as if they knew the political leanings of the pilot and his passenger and as if that actually mattered. One moron even commented that it was too bad Obama wasn’t on board.
Seriously? Do people actually think like that?
I spent ten minutes flagging obnoxious and offensive comments before finally giving up and getting on with my day.
But come on people, let’s look at the reality of the situation: There was an accident in Seattle that took the lives of two men. Men with lives and families. Men likely doing the work they loved. Men who lived and breathed and loved and dreamed, just like all of us.
Surely they deserve better than some of the uninformed speculation and heartless comments the reports of their death are attracting.
Rest in peace, guys.