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Accidents and Incident Threads: Victim Perspective

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by bowlofpetunias, Oct 12, 2014.

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  1. bowlofpetunias

    bowlofpetunias Oh no, not again! Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sydney Australia
    I have participated in A&I threads over the years because I do believe the lessons learned can be valuable. In many of my posts I urged people to consider the impact of what they are posting on those involved. Obviously in the case of a fatality the central victim can not be impacted as they are no longer with us, but the other victims are MASSIVELY impacted! It really doesn't matter how the victim would have seen it. Even if the victim had posted in the past that they "DEMAND wild assed speculating and analysis" of the event, their desires no longer matter. What the survivors are going through DOES matter!

    Today I am writing because I was recently directly involved with an incident that was discussed in an A&I thread, and it gives me a perspective that I would like to share.

    It is great to say "the family should not read this thread--they should go to the condolences thread." Some people post insensitive comments as if that disclaimer makes everything fair game. Well the loved ones were WARNED not to read them so if they don't heed the warning... The impact on the survivors is seen as less significant than the need/right to dissect the event for their own purposes.

    I can tell you that the family is and will be reading the discussion at the time they are the most raw trying to find answers and come to grips with their loss.

    Then demands for information begin! People at least recognise the family is hurting and tell them not to even read the thread, but they may not consider that the dive buddies and witnesses are victims as well. They are reeling, trying to absorb the magnitude of the event and their role in it. They are dealing with the police investigators, wondering about legal liabilities. They are second guessing everything they did and likely beating themselves up. They are trying to remember the details, and wishing they could forget them at the same time. If sleep comes it is unlikely to be an escape! When exhaustion wins and the guard is down, flashbacks and nightmares arrive. Yet the demands for information continue!

    Often even the people involved don't know exactly what happened so we can only speculate on our theories as we try to make sense of things and learn. Some people do want to legitimately discuss and learn from the event. Some people will post to learn so they can be safer, some will post to help others learn to be safer. Some want to look at it to feel safer. Some will post to feel safer, trying to convince themselves it couldn't happen to them because they would never do the thing or make the mistake being discussed.

    That is what eventually convinced me to reveal information about the incident, although I did it through others because I could not bring myself to participate directly.

    On the other hand, some just want to make themselves feel superior, and they deserve nothing. I received some good advice in this regard:
    "Posturing, know-it-alls trying to prove that they know-it-all, ... those whose mouths go "blah blah blah" but say nothing....." --Diver0001

    "Scubaboard is just the internet. You might feel a pressure to talk, to tell your story, but feel free to just ignore it. Especially if you go read the discussion thread, you might feel like you need to talk. You don't have to, just ignore us and focus on recovering." --JahJahwarrior.​

    That advice helped me a lot. Witnesses don't have to answer questions unless they want to. Nobody on the internet has a right to demand answers--it is OK to ignore them! I was fortunate that I knew a few people I was comfortable enough with that I could trust them to relay information. They cared enough about me to help maintain my sanity!

    Nobody HERE was THERE, so their opinions and comments may seem to be about the event but they aren't in reality! People can and will look at the situation to come up with their theories to examine. They are just that.. theories. They may say.. "I would have done something different" but they can not KNOW what they would have or would have not done for sure since they weren't there! There is value in examining those theories to learn from the discussion. There is value in discussing theories and reminding ourselves of things that might make people safer in the future.

    This event has happened the way it unfolded. Nothing we can say or do will change that. Life is about choices. Everyone involved in these sad situations made the best choices they could with the information they had at the time. No matter how much we may wish we could go back and change our choices we can not! This did not happen as a result of not caring. If we are honest most divers have made some of the same choices in the past but by sheer luck got away with them. They forget their poor choices or fail to recognize their errors. Divers get away with poor choices often enough that they forget those rules were developed as a result of tragedies! We often don't know what happened so we can only speculate on our theories as we try to make sense of things and learn.

    I think we need to learn from A & I that it is vital to be considerate of the surviving victims. The sad but ironic truth is that the family members who lost their loved one were more understanding and supportive than a high percentage of SB members who posted in the thread! No one wants to hurt anyone, but I can guarantee that things said here will hurt. We need to re-read what we write before we hit POST and consider the impact our words may have on others. Other comments that stand out to me in this regard.

    Sometimes making your point requires social skills beyond those of an elephant in a porcelain shop. --Diver0001

    I realise that I nearly always violate TOS in that forum, as I assume that family will be reading, and I adopt the attitude of condolences, even though the forum says not to. Condolences is not my goal in posting there. BUT I feel they are NOT out of order in the discussion, ever.

    Posters should NEVER lose sight of the loss and pain involved in one of these accidents! --gypsyjim

    "You can still express you opinion and be kind at the same time" --NetDoc

    If our posts are respectful of the needs of the survivors, perhaps we can help them feel safe enough to post the information we need to learn the vital lessons. If you are involved in an incident but don't feel comfortable posting about it directly please feel free to contact myself or another Mod and we may be able to relay information on your behalf. Our goal should be to try to keep everyone safe.

    Shouldn't that also include the survivors?

    If you wish to comment on this post please do so here http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/accidents-incidents/493514-discussion-thread-accidents-incident-threads-victim-perspective.html#post7242332

    Here is a link to a DAN article on the topic

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
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