Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chance, Choice, and Tragedy

Please find a fairly recent article (within the past year) that describes a tragedy that a person or group of people have faced.

First, please offer a brief summary of your article (3-5 sentences).

Second, comment on whether or not you think this person had control over this tragedy--did this happen by choice or by chance? Explain your thinking.

Third, please read over the comments on this post and respond to the following question:
Which is the greater tragedy--one that happens because of a bad choice, or the one that happens by random chance? Explain your thinking.

Add your thoughts by adding a comment to this post.

28 comments:

Aaron H. said...

I read the article Hundreds show up to Berthoud soldier's funeral. The article is about how Staff Sgt. Justin L. Bauer died on January 10th and about the eight hundred people who showed up at his funeral. Justin died, during his second tour in Iraq, because a bomb went off next to his vehicle.

I don’t think Justin had any control over the situation. He can’t control where he was during the blast. He also couldn’t control when the bomb would go off. He had no control of his death. Therefore, Justin died because of chance and not of choice.

Emma said...

I read Gunman Kills 32 at Virginia Tech In Deadliest Shooting in U.S. History. This article is about a shooting at virginia tech. A young man walked in and shot and killed 32 to people there was another 30 injured.

I don't think that the people who were killed had any control over what had hapened. It was the shooters decision to kill all of those people, the innocent victims couldn't control what he did.

I think that it is worse when a tradegy happens randomly and you have no control over it. Because if you make a bad decission then it is partially that persons fault. When a tradegy happens randomly you normally have no control over the situation.

RachelK said...

I read the article,"DIA:Parking Garage Death Appears to be Suicide." The article is about a middle-aged man who appeared to have committed suicide in the parking garage of DIA on Sep. 7th, 2008. No other details were released at the time. However, I know all of the details because I knew who the man was and who is family is. His son is one of my best friends.

I do believe that this man did have a choice of the situation, because it was suicide. That is the sad part, that he controlled what happened to him. :( He (not mentioning name) died because of choice, not of chance.

I think it's worse when a tragedy happens, by both chance and choice. It's surprising and extremely hurtful either way.

alenav said...

I read Virginia Tech Leaves 33 Dead. It talks about how this shooting rampage was the deadliest in history. A young man decided to walk into a school, and kill 33 people while several others were injured.


No one had any control over this situation. Even if someone did have suspisions, the odds of someone being able to prevent it from happening are slim to none.


I think the worst kind of tradgedy is the one caused by a bad decision. Because then those around you and even you may have to live with the fact and knowing that it could have been prevented or changed.

JasonV said...

1. I read Iraq tragedy grows and it says it's sobering that we passed 4,000 American deaths in Iraq the same week we marked the fifth anniversary of our invasion of Iraq. It also says the war is growing at about 12 billion dollars a month and it has passed 600 billion total dollars. Bush and Cheney say it has been well worth the effort.
2. I don't think any of the 4000 men would have wanted to die but I am sure some of them were put into positions where they sacrificed their own lives' for the lives of their comrades, but the majority of them died by chance.
3. I feel that they are both equally tragic in different situations but the majority of the time a chance is worse because any last thing s the deceased may have wanted to be say are lost and their loved ones are never going to know what they were thinking or how they felt, and the dead people didn't know they were going to die either.

samh said...

I too read the article "Hundreds Show up to Berthoud Soldier's Funeral." This particular article is about Staff Sgt. Justin L. Bauer and how he was killed on January 10th while serving our country in Iraq. An estimated 800 friends, family members, and fellow soldiers and firefighters gathered today to say their goodbyes.

I do not think that Staff Sgt. Bauer had any control over this tragedy. He was simply fulfilling his duties and he did not know that this improvised explosive device was going to detonate near him. Because of this, it is fair to say that Justin died because of chance, not choice.

In my opinion, a tragedy caused my choice is just as bad, if not worse, than one caused by chance. Both are very hard to deal with, but knowing that the tragedy occured because of a bad choice can make it very hard for the people around the situation to cope.

JeniC said...

I read the article "Hundreds Show up to Berthoud Soldier's Funeral". The article talks about the funeral of Staff Sgt. Justin L. Bauer. It's estimated that 800 people showed up for his funeral. Bauer was killed on January 10th during a tour in Iraq.

Bauer could not control that the tragedy happened, however his choice to join the army greatly contributed to chance of this tragedy happening. If he had chosen not to join the army at all, this would not have happened to him.

I think that tragedies that happen because of a bad choice are greater tragedies. They show how minds of people can be disturbed without others even knowing. For example, it is sad that a person may commit suicide and their family will have had no idea that their loved one was even considering suicide. A mentally unstable person may do something tragic, make a bad choice, which they don't even view as a bad choice.

Shay N said...

The article I read was China: Roused by Disaster. The article describe the image of China after the biggest natural disaster in 30 years. It describes how children are afraid of what they see and how crowded the shelters have become. Although this disaster devastated many it provided the chance for people to come and help. Because of so much relief that is being provided the morality of the country is rising too.
The Chinese people didn’t choose for the earthquake to kill and destroy their homes. Nature just had this happen.

AprilH said...

The article I read was called The Hillsborough Tragedy. It talked about how many fans were entering through a tunnel which led to two pens that became overcrowded. The fans then became stuck in a crush and many people became injured or died. Ninety-six people died in the end and many people mourned and put flowers on the field.

I feel that the fans did have control because they could've talked to one another and kept on moving.

I think the greater tragedy is one that happens because of a bad choice because you could have thought about it more and in the end it was your decision to do it.

ellenj said...

My article is about the tornado in Windsor, CO this spring. It is about the destruction and devastation of this twister, how on one saw it coming and how people lost their lives for seemingly no reason. This even surely happened by chance. A tornado is something in the weather, and people cannot control it. What could be controlled, like warnings and watches, could’ve been better.
A greater tragedy is something that happens by a bad choice, because there was the option of not having a tragedy. For an example, if someone has drank more than they should have, and they CHOOSE to drive home, without a designated driver, and they get in a car wreck and kill someone, I think that is a much worse tragedy, since they had the option to do the right thing. Think that if someone was just driving along and ran into a ditch. Of course, the more publicized tragedy and the one that makes you think more is the one that happened by a bad choice.

Jake H said...

I read the artile "Witness survives by pretending to be dead." This one girl survived a Virgina Tech shooting by lying on the ground pretending to be dead. She says that he came in and just shot everyone.

She didn't have control over the shooter but was smart in pretending to be dead.

This is one event that happened by chance. It was by chance that some students ditched that one day and survived, and it is also by chance that those students who died decided to attend school. You can never predict those kinds of events.

Macy said...

I read the article, US Airways Plane To NC Ditches Into Hudson River. Just a few days ago, a US Airways plane was taking off, as a flock of birds flew in its path. Therefore, the birds flew into the engine, and caused the plane to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River.

The pilot had no control over this whatsoever. It happened by chance. The plane was in the wrong place at the wrong time, it was an accident.

The greater tragedy is one that happens by random chance because you have no control of what is going on, it catches you by surprise. If you had control over the tragedy it would not be as tragic because you would know the consequences.

Nicole said...

1.) I read the article "Menino Comments on 'tragic accident' that Killed Firefighter."
The article talks about a firefighter named Kevin M. Kelley. The ladder on the firetruck into a "high-rise apartment building." It then explains Mayor Menino's condolences to the fellow fire-fighter's and family.

2.) I don't think Mr. Kelley had control over this; at least there was nothing in the article that suggested that the ladder had been tampered with. It seems that it was a terrible chance.

3.) I think that it all depends on the situation. If the tragedy happens directly to you I think it would hurt more if it was just by chance. You couldn't make sense as to why this happened to you, and the cruelty of it all would hit you. Now, if the tragedy happened to someone else, especially if you knew them, it would hurt more if it was because you did something. Because then you would know that it was only yourself that you had to blame.

Allie~J said...

I too read Gunman Kills 32 at Virginia Tech In Deadliest Shooting in U.S. History. It's about how students at Verginia Tech were shot at by a gunman and how they recovered. Many of the students were witnesses but some were victims and didn't make it.
The gunman had a chioce and he chose to do the worst thing possible, murder, but the students maybe could have prevented it by maybe giving out a hand to him but also they probably didn't know it was coming; so it could go both ways.
The greater tragedy is one that happens by a bad choice because randomness is by chance and possibility and you cant control that but a bad choice is something you can control.

meghank said...

I read the article Woman airlifted after car crashes into creek. The article is about a one car accident in which the car ended up in a creek. The lady was driving ten over the speed limit around a curve on a highway.

I do think that the woman had control over the tragedy. Although she was only going ten over the speed limit she was still over. When you are driving along a curve you always slow down and she was speeding up.

I think it is worse when a tragedy happens by chance because at least when it happens by choice you know why it happened. When a tragedy happens by chance there is no telling why it had to happen to you and not someone else which makes it harder to cope with especially if you lose someone close to you.

nilec said...

My tragedy is the Virginia Tech shooting. In this shooting a man named Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people in two different attacks. This was the the largest shooting by one man in U.S. history.

Seung definitely had control over the situation and could have avoided this tragedy completely. I believe that a tragedy that happens by choice is worse because it can usually be avoided if more precautions would have been taken.

KatieW said...

1) I read the article, “Family with Larchmont ties dies by carbon monoxide poisoning in Colorado”. This article was about a family who won a house in Aspen and while they were up there, something triggered carbon monoxide. They all died from it and were found that weekend by family friends. It also talks about how involved this family was (especially in church) and it made a few comments on each person’s involvements/achievements.

2) These people definitely had no control over this tragedy. Nobody knew about the carbon monoxide and they could not have prevented it.

3) I think the greater tragedy would be something that happens by a random choice. If you make a bad choice, you know there are usually consequences you will have to face, and that could end up tragic, but it was all caused by that bad choice. On the other hand, if you make a random choice and it doesn’t turn out right, at least you know it wasn’t a bad thing. I also think you would have a lot more regret if a tragedy were to happen because of a bad choice rather than a random choice.

BrianW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adamc said...

1) I read the article two musicians injured in a crash that kills four and it was about the september plane crash that involved Travis Barker and DJ AM were the only survivers.

2) These people defenatly did not have control over this tragedy because they were not flying the plane.

3) I think that the worse tragidy is one that you control because the only person that you can blame is yourself and you will just get depressed over it.

BrianW said...

The article I read was, "US Airways Plane to NC Ditches into Hudson River."
1This happened during last week, after takeoff the plane was 3,200 feet then impacted by some birds and they got into the engine and the polite was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River.
2The pilot had no control over this incident. It happened by bad luck or chance, but the pilot did have control over was, he landed the plane so well into the Hudson that the worst injuries were broken legs. The plane crash could have been fatal if landed on the ground.
3. I think that a worse incident would be if someone was in a controlled of the tragedy because then you know whose fault it was because then you know there could have be something to stop it from happening not just wondering why the incident happened
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/plane-crashes-into-hudson-river/?hp

NowlanS said...

1. I read the article "Virginia Tech Shooting Leaves 33 Dead." In this shooting Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 Virginia Tech students and staff members. This was the worst school shooting in American history.

2. This tragedy occured by choice. Seung-Hui had a choice to what e did. He made a choice to kill all of those people and was the cause for so much suffering.

3. One that happens by a bad choice because you had the power to change it or make it never happen but you blew it and caused mass suffering because of a mistake. By random chance, you have no control and so you could not have done anything to stop it.

Liap said...

I read an article about the sudden death of John Travolta's son. His son (Jett)is said to have fallen ill and hitting his head in a bathroom. Jett had a history of seizures and this was the likely cause of thehead injury.

I think that this tragedy happened completely by chance. Seizures are unpredictable, and they can hit at any time. The other members of the family could not be expected to follow Jett around constantly and make sure he was okay. There was only so much that the family could control.

I think that the worst kind of tragedy is the kind that happens as a result of someone's choice, because this person is responsible for something horrible, intentionally or not, and will have to llive with that for the rest of their lives.

JasonV said...

I agree with Rachel about it being both, and I also agree with what Emma.
Aaron: I agree with you that Justin died by chance, but would it also be choice because he chose to be in the military in the first place?
Alena: I agree with your views about tragedy, that makes a lot more sense than what I was thinking

georged said...

Outcry Erupts Over Reports That Israel Used Phosphorus Arms on Gazans, The New York Times, 21 January 2009

White phosphorus, a conventional weapon used for creating smoke screens but is illegal to use against civilian populations has been reportedly used many times in Gaza cities. The home of Sabah Abu Halima was hit buy this weapon causing severe burning to his family, who died as a result. The Israeli army denies these claims but is currently "investigating" the situation.

Sabah Abu Halima was not directly responsible for the death of his family because had the Israeli army not used phosphorus in the city, they would still be alive. This was certainly not his choice. However, effectively all Palestinians are partly to blame because by being a citizen of a nation, you indorse its government and its policies.

If a tragedy occurs because of a poor choice, it is no tragedy; it is just a consequence. If however it happens because of fate, then it is far worse because it really could not have been avoided.

jamieG said...

A close friend of my friend Jessica reciently passed away in a house fire, and just yesterday Jessica discovered that Jermey didn't die originaly in the house. What happened was him and one other friend got out and realized that two people where still in the house. He went back in in attempt to rescue them but failed by going back in.


So in this case Jermey did have a choice but with full comtempt to save his friends he was willing to risk his own life to save them, not everything was lost because it was a very amazing thing Jermey tried to do. But with him gone it's very hard to accept that he could still be alive today.

allison t said...

I read the article "Owner Dies After Being Pulled From Lake, Dog Survives". It is about this old man, about 83 years old, that was walking his dog near a partially frozen over lake. His dog ran out onto the ice and the man ran out after it. He fell through the ice, and his dog fell through shortly after. Someone saw the dog in the water and called the fire department. When they got there they pulled the dog to safety and noticed a hat floating in the water. A diver found the man after he was under for about 30 minutes and he was rushed to the hospital. The man died shortly after he arrived at the hospital, and his dog survived.

I think the old man had control over this tragedy because it was his choice to go out onto the lake to save his dog. He could have called the fire department like the passerby did instead of willingly risking his life.

I believe that the worser tragedy happens by random chance because when it happens because of a bad choice you have partial control of the situation. When it happens by random chance, there is no telling who it will happen to or when it will happen and it is not fair to the person or people it happened to.

Pye said...

I read an article about a 13 year old girl from broomfield who was found dead in a ditch. The girl and her parents had a disagreement and she went for a walk to clear her head. two days later she was reported missing and it wasnt until almost 3 months later she was found dead.

I don't think that the girl had any control over the tragedy. It is natural for kids to want to clear their heads after a fight with her parents and even though the cause of death is unknown I dont think she could have done anything to stop it.

I think the worst type of tragedy is the kind that happens by chance. When someone makes a choice to incite a tragedy in someones life they usually tell someone about it before it happens. That means that there is always a chance to stop the event before it happens but when a tragedy happens by chance no one sees it soming and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it.

elizabeth k said...

1. I read Witness survives by pretending to be dead. This is about a student at Virginia Tech that pertended to be dead and is one of many that lived. She was found "dead" so they didnt bother shooting her. She was one of many to live.

2. She had no control over the killers decision and no control over everyone else who died. This tragedy happened by choice of the killer.

3. I think that the ones that happen because of bad choice are greater. They are because someone made a bad choice and made other peoples lives worse.