Posts Tagged ‘sccident’

ABC News, Princess Diana and the Health Care Debate – Point /Counterpoint

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Here’s the headline and the first sentence from a recent ABC News bit:

Princess Diana’s Death Offers Lessons for Health Care Debate, 12 Years Later. In Britain’s Beloved Royal’s Death, Experts Find Guidance in French Health System”

“The Mercedes 600 carrying Princess Dianaand her companion Dodi Fayed was traveling more than 85 miles per hour when it hit a concrete pillar head-on in the Place D’Alma underpass, crumbling like an accordion.”

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1. No, the car was not a “Mercedes 600,” (which was called the Dictator’s Mercedes, used since 1963 by the likes of Nicolae Ceauşescu, Josip Broz-Tito, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, Enver Hoxha, Leonid Brezhnev, Kim Il-sung,  Idi Amin Dada, and Ferdinand Marcos), nor was it the extended wheelbase, armored Mercedes S600 that Diana was using earlier in the day. It was a Mercedes S280 (or S 280, or 280 S, with a W140 body, registration 688LTV75) actually, one that allegedly wasn’t fixed properly after being stolen for parts earlier in the year. In fact, the S600 in question was used as a decoy to try to befuddle the paparazzi.

This is not the writer making a typo, it’s an error that tells you that Diana is merely being used a hook to get a convo going about the issue du jour, health care.

Does the writer (or editor, whomever) understand what she’s talking about? No. Did she negligently copy a mistake made by others before her? Apparently. Institutionally, would it be easy for the writer to fix her mistake at this point? No, she “knows” she’s right, because she’s a professional writer, steeped in the warm bath of the MSM. Do you think she’d poke through her numerous comments looking for new insights, or do you think she’d generally dismiss her commenters as a bunch of ”crazies?” (I too might generally consider her commenters crazies as well, but it doesn’t mean they’re not right about any particular issue, of course).  

Of course the S280 didn’t have its identifying badge on the back, so that makes things a little harder  to keep straight. (You see, the Eurotrash, they tend to be sensitive about such matters, matters like not having the best S-Klasse car available.) Anyway, the goal of using a decoy at the Ritz Hotel so long ago was to confuse journalists, and that trick is still fooling them today. Oh well.

 2. Now back in the day you had cars that would get crushed “like an accordian,” but modern vehicles are designed with crumple zones so that the front third of the vehicle gets accordianed leaving the passenger compartment relatively intact. (In Diana’s particular case, she wasn’t wearing her seat belt, but it might not have helped her too much anyway.) The car was crushed exactly not like an accordian, it behaved exactly as it was designed. (Ironically, Mercedes was a pioneer with this type of safety design, with a actual patent to its credit from 1959.) I’d be hard-pressed to think of another car model that would have been better for her to be in, actually.

Which do you prefer, accuracy or a bunch of adjectives and damned similes strung together? Is that a false choice? If the “good writers” (“Oh, she’s such a good writer” or “Oh, you’re style is wonderful!”) of the MSM have their druthers, it’s generally similes first, accuracy second. Oh well.
2.1.This concludes the nitpicky part. Mind you, we just discussed part of the first sentence, complete with flagrant, correctable errors that jump out at you. Not much point in continuing that, except to ask how does the writer know that the car was going not just but “more than 85 MPH”? Sounds  a bit on the high side – I don’t believe there’s a consensus on that score. Again, oh well. If the details aren’t important, why are there in the first place? Decoration? The World Wonders.

3. Scoop and Run vs. Stay and Play. You just can’t tell if the half-assed “Franco-German” approach to emergency doctoring contributed to Diana’s death. Now, of course a homeless person in San Francisco almost certainly would have gotten better treatment in similar circumstances. The SFFD or whomever would have pried open the car’s carcass as if it were a tin can and hustled her over to S.F. General with a quickness.

But you don’t know how it would have gone. At least with Scoop and Run, you know you gave it the old college try. There have been incidents in America similar to that of Natasha Richardson, but they are rare. Why? Lawyers. I beg of you, Monsier, watch yourself. Be on guard. America is place full of lawyers, lawyers everywhere, everywhere.So that’s a drain on society, but fear of lawsuits means that EMTs and first responders tend to try harder in America. They lack the cavalier attitude some French might have. Just saying.

(And the way, “Stay and Play” is a horrible phrase. Supporters of this approach should try to think of a better name. Yish.)

4. So, why did Diana die? A drunk driver, plus a flighty princess who encouraged speeding whether she knew it or not, plus a Parisian tunnel design with exposed pillars that wouldn’t pass muster in poorest part of Alabama, plus Stay and Play (as a possible factor, I mean she certainly had traumatic injuries from a horrific accident, no argument here) – add all that up and there’s your answer. (A conspiracy-free answer, you might note).

And as far as getting rid of the “Anglo-American” emergency response doctrine, well that’s not on the table. Why? Cause the lawyers will tear apart any kind of “well, we used to Scoop and Run but that got too expensive” explanation as to why it took 100 minutes to get the E.R.

So what does Diana’s death have to do with the American health care system? Not all that much, it would seem.

Just saying.