By now, all who keep abreast of the news are well aware of the tragedy that befell Germanwings Flight 9525, last month.
The co-pilot of that airplane deliberately flew the passenger plane into a mountain, killing himself and everyone else on board. The public can only speculate as to the thought processes of the killer, Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot of that Germanwings flight. But, as to one matter, the public need not speculate. Andreas Lubitz suffered from severe depression and should not have been flying an airplane at all, least of all a commercial aircraft, carrying 150 passengers and crew members.
Major newspapers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, have reported that officials of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, a prominent commercial airline and parent Company of Germanwings, knew about Lubitz’s mental health condition, and allowed him to pilot Flight 9525 anyway. That error in judgment, on the part of Lufthanza officials, that failure to take responsibility, is the root cause of the tragedy.
Unfortunately, the failure to take responsibility is all too often the root cause of many tragedies that would otherwise never occur.
Recall the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December of 2012. A very disturbed young man, Adam Lanza, killed over two dozen people, 20 of whom were children, as reported by the New York Times. Lanza then turned the gun on himself. Police investigators encountered an additional victim at Lanza’s home. Adam Lanza had also shot his mother. He did not own the guns he used in the shootings. Those belonged to Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy.
Nancy Lanza, who knew or should have known of her son’s psychosis, ought to have secured her firearms. She had not.
As with the recent airplane tragedy, a failure to take responsibility was the root cause of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Neither one need have occurred.Yet, in the case of Sandy Hook, the antigun groups wasted no time in calling for new bans on guns.
There are no similar calls for bans on use of large commercial airplanes. Of course such a ban, in the latter case, would essentially mark the end of the airline industry. Such action would also put hundreds of thousands of people, around the world – those who work directly or indirectly in the commercial airline industry – out of work.
But, apart from pragmatic realities, it is foolish to blame the entire commercial airline industry, much less the unconscious machine itself – the airplane – for the actions of one sentient, albeit deeply disturbed young man. It is also foolish to blame the entire commercial airline industry for the irresponsible behavior of those airline officials who, through their inaction, allowed a disturbed pilot to take control of an aircraft, thereby permitting the tragedy to occur.
Parallels certainly may be drawn between the Lufthansa incident and the Sandy Hook incident. But, while no bans are contemplated against the continued use of commercial aircraft, antigun groups argue vociferously for further bans on guns. The public is continually and wearily subject to the same bleat: “get rid of the guns!” No mention is made though – not a squeak – over personal responsibility.
Nancy Lanza saw a problem. She chose to ignore it. That negligence on her part allowed her mentally disturbed son to gain access to her firearms. The ensuing tragedy was predictable.
Similarly, Lufthansa officials knew or should have known that one of its pilots, Andreas Lubitz, was mentally unbalanced. But it looked the other way, allowing a mentally unstable individual to pilot a commercial airplane. As with the Sandy Hook Elementary School incident, the catastrophe that befell Germanwings Flight 9525 was also predictable.
If people act irresponsibly, the proper course of action is to deal with those individuals alone.
In Nancy Lanza’s case, her own irresponsible behavior was the proximate cause of her own death and those, tragically, of many innocent people.
In the case of Germanwings flight 9525, the cause of the tragedy falls squarely upon the shoulders of the Lufthansa officials: their failure to take immediate action to prevent a pilot, whom they knew or should have known to be unfit to pilot an aircraft, from flying.
Still, just as it would be imbecilic to blame an entire industry for the actions of a few airline company officials who fail to monitor the physical and mental health of their pilots, it is altogether inappropriate to chastise an entire population of responsible gun owners for the actions of the few who behave irresponsibly with their guns.
Obviously, it is ludicrous to ground entire fleets of aircraft because of the irresponsible actions of those who can prevent a tragedy from happening, but don’t. It is equally foolish to impose wholesale bans on firearms: punishing millions of responsible gun owners for the irresponsible actions of a few.
What should be done?
The answer in both cases is the same: calling not for overbearing, thuggish Government regulation and control over everyone and everything, but placing blame where blame properly lies, and dealing with it there.Copyright © 2015 Vincent L. Pacifico (Orca) All Rights Reserved.