19 January 2009

Strikingly Pleasant, And Strikingly Unpleasant

Just now read through the AP/Yahoo piece on the developments in the investigation on the plane that was forced to emergency-land in the Hudson river on Thursday. Pleasant and unpleasant things aside, I heartily applaud the professionalism and cool-headedness of the pilots and crew that prevented the death of anyone on the plane. They deserve whatever commendations they might receive from whatever organizations might offer them.

However, one thing that really struck me positively was this:

The pilot, who has not publicly talked about the crash, canceled what was to be his first interview Monday, on NBC's "Today" show. The show said it would interview Sullenberger in a couple of days.

Stephen Bradford, president of the U.S. Airline Pilots Association, said he asked Sullenberger not to talk to the media to avoid jeoparding the association's "interested party" status with the NTSB, which allows it to participate in the investigation.

"If the NTSB perceives that we are in any way compromising the objectivity of the investigation by innocuously releasing information to the media, our status will be rescinded and we will be unable to help determine the causal factors leading up to this very positive and well-documented outcome," he said.

Also, nowhere in the article did any "anonymous sources" come forth to provide insider information. It bothers me to no end how so often information comes from sources '... who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly ...' on the matter at hand. I have a lot of respect for the crew of this plane, for their respective decisions to refrain from commenting before an appropriate time. Kudos to them!

Contrariwise, strikingly unpleasant to me was this:

Kelsey Higginbotham, a 20-year-old student at East Tennessee State University, looked at the damaged aircraft Sunday from behind police barricades.

She and a friend had been to Times Square, Central Park and the site of the World Trade Center, where nearly 2,800 people were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. She said she was struck by the contrast between one disaster in which so many people died and another in which everyone survived.

"It's a miracle," she said. "I guess New Yorkers can't take any more tragedy."

Attempting to establish a moral equivalency, via calling both simply 'disasters', between a malicious, willful attack and an accidental collision with a flock of birds? Whether it was Ms. Higginbotham herself attempting to draw this equivalency, or the writer of the article (or both): Shame on you!

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