Yesterday was the worst day in the lives of a family from North Carolina. A 20 year old fell twenty to thirty feet from a mast on the Carnival Ecstasy at the port of Miami. The young man was later pronounced dead at the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.
What started as a tropical dream vacation instantly turned into a nightmare.
The local news stations rushed teams of reporters and film crew over to the port to cover the sad story. The reporters were all solemn and respectful in their tone and demeanor while covering the tragedy.
I wrote a short article about what happened and posted it on Facebook.
Cruel and hateful comments soon followed.
Joanna Medvesek commented: "WTF was he doing up there in the first place. Some people are just plain stupid. Did it not even enter his pea brain that it was RESTRICTED because it may be dangerous. Serves him right."
Samantha Mills de Rosas said "Idiot . . . Sorry no sympathy from me here."
Troy Madsen called the dead young man a "dumb ass."
Monte Mathews called him a "moron."
Ms. Medvesek’s cruelty was "liked" by 14 others on Facebook. Saying that a young person involved in an accident deserves to die ("serves him right") infuriates me. It literally spikes my blood pressure. How can people be so uncaring and abusive?
But others who commented on Facebook were kind.
Marianne Fearnside, who lost her son last year during a ferry cruise, summed up my feelings perfectly, saying "how very sad."
Leslie Hall was obviously troubled by all of the selfish and mean-spirited comments. She gave the matter some sensitive and meaningful thoughts:
"A man fell to his death on the Fantasy during my first cruise several years ago. He had been extremely verbal throughout the entire cruise, loud, obnoxious, he stayed hammered the whole time, and spent his evenings at the various bars complaining to everyone about how he didn’t want to work in the family business. One evening he decided that he should do handstands off the atrium balcony after a night of drinking and it ended in his death. Needless to say, even after witnessing his behavior throughout the whole trip, I could never think of a reason why it would have "served him right" to be dead.
That’s what’s wrong with so many people in this country these days – empathy and humanity have been replaced with the ease of speaking the hatred in their hearts without thinking first. For the [selfish], inhuman people who think death is deserved just because someone entered a restricted area, I truly hope no one close to you ever dies due to a sudden accident. I’m sure you wouldn’t walk up to his grieving parents at the wake and shake their hand and say ‘well, the moron deserved it’. No one should break the rules and go into a restricted area, of course, but by no means does that give any imperfect human being the right to place judgment on his lost life."
25 people on Facebook "liked" Ms. Hall’s comments. Others left respectful comments offering their blessings to his family.
I can offer no explanation for the wide disparity between the hateful words of some and the compassionate words of others.
September 30 2014 Update: USA TODAY reports that the young man "had been on an awards cruise for Macomb, Mich-based Student Painters, the company’s owner, Steve Acorn, said Tuesday. A group of five or six climbed up on the platform as the Carnival Ecstasy returned to port at the end of a three-day cruise. "They had seen a group up there the night before and thought it would be a good idea to go there at about 5 a.m. to see the sun rise over Miami," he said. No drinking was involved. "They were up there talking … and the radar system went on," Acorn said. "Based on where you were standing, it caught Kendall and threw him down."
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Photo Credit: Local 10 via Cruise Fever