Victim Blaming: SO American

The local newspaper today had a sad article about a student pilot who was killed after stalling his Cessna on takeoff and crashing nose first into a gravel riverbed. After reading through the piece I browsed the comment section which, to no surprise whatsoever, most comments were a version of “student pilot flying alone???;” “flying in such high winds??;” making assumptions and blaming the victim. What is it about American’s in general that we cannot help but rush to judgement, often blame the victim and offer feint sympathy under a cloud of disdain? It’s not like you are dead or he harmed anyone else? How else is a student pilot supposed to learn to fly? And heavy wing? Growing up flying in Alaska, really great bush pilots told me more than once: “wind is what makes airplanes fly.” Yes, that is a simple understatement that omits high pressure verse low pressure, trim, power, etc, but the point is accurate. 25 knot winds are more than manageable in a 172.

My point is: I wish folks would offer condolences to the family who know doubt will one day consume these simple, harmful, condemning remarks. And even if he was flying beyond his skill or exact permission, he’s dead, writing a ticket or throwing him in jail or issuing a fine is mute.

Rest in peace.

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