April 2, 2012

Titanic Disaster and the shame of it

April 15, 2012 will be the 100th anniversary of the Titanic Disaster.

The Titanic was a passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City, U.S.A.

The passengers included some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as over a thousand emigrants from Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere seeking a new life in North America. 

2,224 passengers and crew members were on board. 1,514 of them died due to drowning or hypothermia in the ice cold water. 

J. Bruce Ismay - "Women and
children first?"  Hell no!
53 children died
109 women died
1352 men died

Most of these people died due to the lack of lifeboats. The Titanic was constructed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and its construction was governed by British Martime laws which regulated that with a ship of this size, only 990 spaces on lifeboats need be provided. The Titanic actually provided more lifeboat spaces than was required by law. 

That is the shameful part. There must have been a huge disregard in 1912 for human life. Providing so few lifeboat spaces in the event of a potential for disaster is like saying to a group of 10 people jumping out of an airplane - "We all have to jump - but only 3 of you are going to have parachutes." 

What were they thinking when they came up with a regulation that provided for the safety of only 1/3 of the people?

John Jacob Astor IV - honorable
in the time of disaster
A disproportionate number of the wealthy survived this disaster. The greatest number of deaths occurred among the crew and the steerage passengers. Oddly enough, J. Bruce Ismay, age 49, the Chairman of the Board of White Star Lines, who owned the ship, was able to get himself into a lifeboat and save his own life. 

John Jacob Astor IV, age 48, an American multi-millionaire died in the disaster. When they recovered his body, they found various currencies in his pocket totaling approximately $3,000. U.S. dollars. This is equivalent in today's money to about $67,000. in cash.  You could buy a house in the U.S.A. for $2,500 or less.  John Jacob Astor could have easily bribed himself into a lifeboat, but to his credit, he didn't. He let women and children go first. He was an honorable man. 

Let us pray for the repose of the souls of the poor people who suffered death so tragically in the Titanic disaster. Amen

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