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! 🙂