The RMS Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York, New York. 1,517 passengers and crew lost their lives on that voyage.
The Italian Cruise Ship, Costa Concordia capsized on January 13, 2012 off the coast of Tuscany and began sinking into 224 feet of water. There were 33 deaths including one salvage worker. While the second tragedy has considerably less loss of life, it is still a tragedy. Both shipwrecks were avoidable.
Captain Edward J. Smith of the Titanic, ignored warnings about sea ice and trying to reach New York ahead of schedule orders the ship to increase speed through the iceberg filled waters. This error resulted in the Titanic striking an iceberg that created a large gash in the hull that filled the ship with water causing the ship to sink. There was also a delay in ordering evacuations, that may have contributed to additional deaths.
Similarly, Captain Francesco Schettino made a decision to alter the ship’s programmed course, allegedly to wave to a friend who was on shore. This maneuver placed the ship close to a 120 foot ledge that made a hole in the ship. The ship took on water and began to list. Reports say this captain also delayed the abandon ship order.
There is a difference. Captain Smith of the Titanic went down with the ship. He would not leave as long as there were passengers on board. Captain Schettino is a survivor of the Costa Concordia. He chose to leave the ship while passengers were still on board. I do not know the motivation behind his decision. Someone may have given him information that the passengers and crew were all accounted for and were to safety. I do not have all the information.
This does however make me question our current society. There seems to be a prevalent attitude of “all for self”. There seems to be a mentality that does not accept blame or even the consequences of our action. (I am not saying Schettino deserved to go with the ship, I am saying his actions maybe a symptom of a more selfish mindset. Future investigations will determine the reason for his actions.). There are other events that demonstrate my point including the participants in recent violent racial and ideological conflicts.
Who is at fault; who is to blame?
Consider a person accused of child abuse, who claims abuse as a child lead them to a life of abuse. Consider a person who suffers from alcoholism laying blame on a diseased alcoholic parent. Consider a student who shoots fellow classmates because he was the victim of bullying.
Where is personal responsibility?
- Why do we have to be like Adam and Eve who blamed God and the Serpent for their choice to eat the forbidden fruit?
- Why do we have to be like King Saul who blamed the people for his taking spoils when God said not too?
- Why can we not be like David who realized his sin was before God and admitted his sin?
- Why can we not be like Joseph who ran from temptation, because he knew he was responsible for his own actions?
Remember, you and I have a choice. We have the right, the ability, and the responsibility to control self. Remember there is no one to blame but you. My mom used to tell us, “Nobody can make you do anything, but die.”. Mom, you are right.