Am I the Only One?


Whew, maybe I do have a “hard heart”. In case you’ve been out of the news loop, you can read all about it here. I’ll summarize, a Sacramento radio station held a contest. Participants attempted to out drink each other and not go to the bathroom. The winner received a Nintendo Wii. The second place contestant, Jennifer Strange, died 5 hours later from water intoxication. Since then, the DJ’s have been fired, the Strange’s family is suing and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department is thinking of pressing charges. Huh?

The DJ’s are responsible? Huh? Ok, maybe I’m a little slow on the uptake. You enter a contest, sign a waiver (account differ as to what these said), get hurt (or die) and through no direct action on my part, it’s my fault? Say what? I know we live in a litigious society and that we love to place blame on “someone” for everything, but in this case? Did I miss the part where the DJ’s held loaded weapons to the participants heads and forced them to drink the water? I think that it is the responsibility of the participants to investigate the risks of the behavior in which they are about to participate. No one else seems to agree.

Alot is being made of the fact that the participants weren’t specifically told that water intoxication was a possibility. During the show, a woman called in (some reports have her a nurse, others as a regular caller) to warn everyone that it was a possibility. Yeah, the DJ’s were pretty callous and insensitive, saying “We know. That’s why they signed release forms.” Ok, hold up. Wasn’t one argument that the participants were “told” about water intoxication? Let’s say they weren’t. So, when the lady called in and informed you, what then? Obviously, the participants chose to ignore the caller. Hmm, they seemed rrreeeaaallll concerned with their personal safety.

Ok, well, let’s see if I’ve got this right. Let’s say I run a contest offering a diamond tennis bracelet to the person that can do a Polar Bear swim. Whoever stays in the water the longest, gets the bracelet. Everyone signs release forms. What if a participant jumps in and has a heart attack? Is that my fault? If I don’t specifically tell you that you might have a heart attack, it’s my fault? What about you? YOU entered the contest, YOU signed the waiver, YOU jumped in the water. Did YOU ever consider that it might be dangerous? Did YOU investigate before you participated in a stupid prank for a got darn video game system?

Well, that’s my $.02. I’m pretty sure that my opinion is in the minority. I’d love to hear what ya’ll have to say. And no throwing of large stones. Tiny pebbles only! ๐Ÿ™‚

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13 thoughts on “Am I the Only One?

  1. *preparing for the firing squad to throw stones at me as well*

    I agree with you here. I thought the point of a waiver is to absolve the radio station of any responsibility. Yes, I think the contest itself was silly, but aside from that, no one was holding her at gunpoint forcing her to gulp down more water.

    More than anything, this incident serves as a commentary about society at large. People knew before hand that the stunt could possibly be dangerous (again, why would you be signing a waiver if it was 100% safe?), but they will still put themselves in harms way to win a video game system. I wonder if they’d do the same stunt if it meant their child could attend college for four years absolutely free. Makes me go hmmm.

  2. Just a point of clarification, the participants never heard the nurse’s call saying the stunt could cause death.

    Having said that, many people don’t know the danger of too much water. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know about liability, but radio station DJs see too many stunts and comments lead to them being fired. You’d think they’d stop doing stupid stuff just to keep their jobs.

  3. @ Tasha – Don’t worry girl. We’ll block for each other. And no, I doubt that the folks who participate in these types of contests would have the same determination in a contest with a “real” prize.

    @ Angie – thanks for clearing that up. I understand that not everyone is aware of water intoxication, but in signing a release form your brain should acknowledge that, “Hmm, something could go wrong.” I’m not saying that contest wasn’t stupid or that the DJ’s shouldn’t be suspended for holding it. But criminal charges? There’s no acknowledgement of personal responsibility here.

  4. I think there is enough blame to share all around here. I think there is a certain amount of personal responsibility that needs to be acknowledged for sure. And I also think that the station should be held accountable for having a contest that puts people in danger. It’s like the old test behind freedom of speech. You can say what you want as long as it doesn’t endanger others. So saying, the contest sucked is okay. Screaming “fire” in a crowded theatre when there’s no fire and causing someone to be trampled to death… not okay. I think it’s tricky and a thin line for sure. But responsibility was dropped on a lot of levels with this one. So like I said above there’s enough blame to go all around. At least that’s how I see it…

  5. If your opinion is in the minority, then mine is right there with you. Granted, I believe that everyone has a price, but I don’t think the ends justified the means in this contest. I mean, what were they playing for, A million dollars, a new house, a new car? Nope. All they were playing for was a video game system. Maybe I don’t get it, but I’m not that pressed for a video game system to do something like that. The contestants are totally responsible for their actions and were so excited by the chance to get a video game system, that they put their life in jeopardy. I’m scared to think what they would have done if the prize WAS a million dollars.

  6. #!…no you’re not the only one as I feel the EXACT same way.

    #2…we just had a piece of the cheesecake you brought us on yesterday. T…THIS IS SOOOOOOOO DANNNNNNNNG GOOOOOOOOOOD! Girl! This was like…heaven on a saucer! Geez!

    How was it so light? So fluffy? So…..DANGIT! GOOD!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! We need to get together soon so you can show me how to bake this one. DELISH!

  7. I agree with you, when the nurse called the show she gave everyone the heads up that something could possibly go wrong. That should of been a warning to the participants.

  8. Alright ya’ll, we’re still in the minority, but we’ve got a little army going! *lol*

    @ Gwyneth – Hmm, not sure if I agree with the fire scenario comparison.

    @ Organized โ€“ Thanks for stopping by! Yep, all that over a damn $300 video game system. We didnโ€™t even go deep into our addiction to material things. That could be a post on its own.

    @ Creole โ€“ Great minds think alike on many issues! ๐Ÿ™‚

    @ Rose โ€“ 28 of sound mind and an adult!! Thatโ€™s exactly it!

    @ Beauty โ€“ My point exactly!

  9. I agree with you – whatever happened to personal responsibility? The radio station was irresponsible for having the contest, but no one held a gun to her head. What’s the point of signing a waiver, if it’s not going to be honored? I wish healing for all involved, especially the young woman’s children she left behind.

  10. You have a great blog by the way! Thought provoking.. and i feel like we think a lot alike! I’m with you here too. That’s what signing waivers are for! You waive your right to any recourse! It’s the fault of the person who signed if they signed and gave up their rights to sue (I assume) if anything goes wrong.

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