My Blog Week: January 5 to January 11
A Word on the Week
A point of convergence in two of the big stories of the week…
Let’s go back to 1997, not to rehash much of the unhappy story, but to consider the events preceding the death of Prince Harry’s mother. The accident, by official inquest, was blamed on the drunk driver, Henri Paul, who was ruled solely responsible. But there was a decoy Mercedes, employed only in anticipation of harassment by tabloid photographers. The route chosen was designed to elude paparazzi; the reckless speed (to be fair, high for conditions and not in compliance with the law, but not above 100 mph, as often reported) appeared engaged with eluding them in mind:
However, the obvious route after the Alexandre III tunnel is an exit slip road to the right, leading to the avenue George V or the avenue Marceau. Henri Paul did not take this slip road, but continued towards the Alma underpass. It has not been established with total certainty why Henri Paul made this decision, but eyewitness evidence placed a number of vehicles travelling close to the Mercedes at this point.
The Operation Paget inquiry report (2004-2008), Source: CBS News
The photographers charged with manslaughter were acquitted, though Judge Hervé Stéphan noted that no French criminal law could be brought to bear on this particular situation. It remains not only the majority perception, but a sequence of events reality, that the paparazzi chase was the instigating reason for the arrangements with cars and drivers; and as quoted above, may have led under direct pressure to a last-minute decision by Paul. If an event cannot be extricated independently from the circumstances in which it occurred, then the outcome or consequences cannot be supposed to have derived independently. Drunk drivers are always dangerous, but Paul did not expect to be driving that night, nor did the Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed anticipate making use of him.
UIA flight 752 did not take off in airspace where the shooting of missiles at passenger jets is a matter of routine. A convergence of circumstances made the accident unavoidable. If we could have removed the tensions, which at that point were pitched to the posturings of war—the tipping from posturings into acts precariously in the balance—we would not have seen this accident. There would be no environment for it, no sequence leading to it.
Legally, there is mitigation; there are lesser charges, but the guilty person is the guilty person. Someone in Iran fired the missile. His choice may have involved pressure, poor training, bad information, lack of leadership…the Four Horsemen, one might say, of workplace-related catastrophes. People with the instinct to argue that America can’t be held legally responsible are correct. But every opportunity analysis shows as potential departure from inevitability, every moment a factor in the timeline could have been prevented, can teach future process, and prevent future accidents. No one should argue a patriotic fib, as though they don’t understand this. America seems to have triggered events through a poor and precipitate use of information received. To the extent our clumsiness has sold out the people who provided it, we’ve made ourselves less safe, less likely to get good information in the future.
On Monday, the sixth Mr. Boots poem, “You Have No Whiffle Ball”, in which Boots, a little high on catnip, taunts his dog friend Poppet. Tuesday’s Impresario was part twenty-three, Regalus with a gentle dismissal for Pierre’s love, but a firm insistence that she herself will enter the arena. Wednesday, Yoharie, and a drive to the airport for Savannah and Rae. On Thursday, Frédéric Boutet’s “Memory” concluded, with Bostelette answering the Vardots’ question. Friday, a new Totem-Maker, new lessons about the Seeds, and a near disaster. Saturday, “Heroic Courage”, the second Bushido poem of the Eight series.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: January 5 to January 11