Tuesday, 4 June 2013

07:58 – The lead article on the front page of the paper this morning is disturbing on at least two levels. A 53-year-old man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of a 32-year-old pregnant woman and her young son in a boat wreck that happened a couple weeks ago.

The man who was charged was driving a speedboat that collided with a pontoon boat on a local lake. There were four people in each of the boats. No one in the speedboat was injured. The woman and her son in the pontoon boat were killed. Her brother sustained severe brain injuries, and her husband was uninjured. Alcohol was not involved, nor was excessive speed. It was what we used to call an “accident”. There were many witnesses to this unfortunate accident. No one was at fault. No one did anything wrong. There was no gross negligence nor reckless disregard. But nowadays, it seems, someone must be at fault any time something bad happens. So they charged the guy driving the speedboat with involuntary manslaughter.

Oh, yeah. The other disturbing part. They charged the guy not with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, but three. The third count was for the woman’s unborn child.

Barbara’s dad continues to do well. His condition is still terminal, but he appears to be holding his own for now, and he continues to act like his old self. When I visited yesterday, I read him the letter that we enclosed with the first CARE package we sent to the Marine unit in Afghanistan. He was delighted that we were going to continue sending packages in his name. I commented that I guessed they didn’t have girl Marines back when he was in, and he replied, “Oh, no. We had ’em.” He then proceeded to tell me some of the nicknames they called the girl Marines back then, but I think I’ll leave those to my readers’ imaginations.

I told Dutch what my dad had told me about women flying four-engine bombers in WWII. My dad flew on B-17’s over Germany, and he’d told me that those huge bombers didn’t have power steering. When the pilot needed to move the ailerons or rudder, he did it by sheer muscle power via cables connected to the controls on his end and the rudder and ailerons on the other. Flying a B-17 was a matter of literally physically wrestling with the controls, and it took a strong young man to do it for any sustained time. And yet, as new B-17’s were produced in factories here, someone needed to fly them to the UK. They couldn’t spare men pilots to do that, so they loaded those B-17’s up with gasoline and turned them over to women pilots, who flew them across the Atlantic to the UK. Those young women must have been in superb physical condition, as tough as any man. I suspect those girl Marines Dutch referred to were much the same.