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Modern day intelligence test

Old 01-29-2003, 03:55 PM
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Default Modern day intelligence test

OK, folks, this is where you show just how smart you are, in a year 2003 kind of way. I'm going to describe a tragic situation, and you decide who is to blame.

4 teenagers take an 8' fiberglass rowboat out into Long Island Sound, in the middle of January, at 10:00 at night. They have no safety equipment, no VHF radio, no required lighting, only a cell phone. The boat sinks, and the 4 drown.

Now, who is to blame?

If you said the cell phone company, go to the head of the class! Honorable mention for answering city or federal authorities of some sort. A failing grade if you suggested that maybe these kids shouldn't have been out in the first place.

New York Times, New York Region, January 29, 2003, on line:

Accident Underscores Lack of Cellphone Tracking

City, state and federal elected officials said yesterday that the disappearance of four teenagers in a Bronx boating accident has underscored an intolerable delay in creating a tracking system to trace the location of emergency calls from cellphones in New York.

One of the teenagers placed a 12-second 911 call from his cellphone on Friday night as their boat sank in the icy waters off City Island. Police officials have said the operator mishandled the call by not relaying it to emergency units. But they have also said that the rescue crews were likely too far away to have arrived in time and that the call was too short and faint to pinpoint the boat's location.

United States Senator Charles E. Schumer was one of several officials who said that long-promised improvements to enable the 911 system to track cellphone calls might have provided critical information in quickly locating the boat. But whereas Mr. Schumer criticized state officials for the delays, other officials pointed fingers at federal regulators or the city.

Such sophisticated tracking systems are still rare around the country, experts said, but Houston and Rhode Island have the ability to trace cellphone calls to a specific longitude and latitude. New York City is about three years away from installing such a system, said Michael J. Farrell, the New York Police Department's deputy commissioner for strategic initiatives.

Senator Schumer and City Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr. said they were concerned that more than $162 million collected in surcharge fees from cellphone users in the state since 1991 had not been used to create a tracking system, as intended. They cited an audit by the state comptroller last year that said the state police, which receives the revenue from the surcharge fees, had spent much of the money on things like vehicle leases and winter boots.

In a response last year to the audit, state police officials said that the state law creating the surcharge never said it had to be used for wireless service, and that much of the money had been spent years ago, when technology for a tracking system was not even available.

"We have been doing this as quickly as possible," said Sgt. Glenn Miner, a state police spokesman.

United States Representatives Anthony D. Weiner and Joseph Crowley criticized the Federal Communication Commission, saying it had extended from 2001 to 2005 the deadline by which wireless providers were to make substantial progress in creating such a system.

"The tragedy," Representative Crowley said in a statement, "might have been averted if the cellphone providers stopped dragging their feet with the full compliance of the F.C.C."

State Senator Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat, said that city officials also bore some responsibility, in part because city dispatchers had mishandled the call and in part because the city had not, on its own accord, chosen to finance improvements to the system. Mr. Kruger said the city could have spent the $25 million now earmarked for a new 311 telephone system on the 911 upgrade instead.

City officials have said the 311 system will free the often overtaxed 911 system by giving people a place to report nonemergency incidents like noisy parties and open fire hydrants.

Police officials said that the city would soon be able to track the number of a cellphone from which a 911 call was placed, as well as the location of the cell site that first received the signal. But Mr. Farrell said the city was still several years away from installing a more sophisticated system, like that being used in Rhode Island. Such systems can pinpoint a call to within several hundred feet, experts said.

Police officials have cautioned that, even with such a system, it is not clear that rescuers would have reached the eight-foot fiberglass rowboat in time on Friday night. A person could have survived only about 15 minutes in the water, given the frigid water and air temperatures that night, police officials said. The closest rescue unit would have needed at least 20 minutes to arrive.

The families of two of the teenagers heard the tape of the 9:58 p.m. cellphone call yesterday at the 45th Precinct. According to a transcript of the call, one of the teenagers told the operator: "Hello...uh...we're...listen...we're on the Long Island Sound in a boat off the coast of City I...We're gonna die."

Afterward, Mel A. Sachs, a lawyer for the family of one of the teenagers, Andrew Melnikov, described it as "a desperate call for help." He said no decision had been made about legal action.

Internal police investigators recommended yesterday that the 911 supervisor in the case be disciplined for failing to follow proper procedures on relaying the call. No wrongdoing was found on the part of the operator who fielded the call and took it to the supervisor for advice, according to a senior police official. The official said that the operator and the supervisor had said in interviews that they did not think they could track the call because the sound quality was poor and they had not heard the caller's reference to City Island.

Eddie Rodriguez, the president of Local 1549, which represents city 911 workers, said it was "irresponsible and unfair to make judgments in public before the parties involved have been questioned and the investigation is completed."
Isn't it funny how the fault in these sort of things always seems to fall on the party with the deepest pockets? Odd how that happens, eh?
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:00 PM
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Un-F***ing-Believeable. This country has been flushed down the LIBERAL toilet!
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:03 PM
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I say the families should sue the cell phone companies for the childrens deaths, if some dumb ***** can get 3 mil for some spilled hot coffee, this should fetch the familes what do you ya think a cool billion ??.. un-f'ing-believeable..... thats the problem with a vast majority of the people in this country, nobody is willing to accept responsibility for their actions.
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:24 PM
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Of course the parents aren't responsible for where the kids are or what they were doing?
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:30 PM
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Originally posted by Clay Washington
[Shaking my head....]

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Old 01-29-2003, 04:32 PM
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Unbelievable. How could they forget to blame the boat manufacturer for making a boat that could sink. Or maybe the weatherman for not making the water warm or Nike for telling them to "Just Do it" Does anyone even know what responsibility means anymore?
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:36 PM
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Chris232 - SUE? This attitude is a BIG reason for many of the problems we are experiencing today!
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Old 01-29-2003, 06:26 PM
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no wonder my cell bill is always so damn high
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Old 01-29-2003, 06:37 PM
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I would sue the boat manufacturer......after all it sank.
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Old 01-29-2003, 06:40 PM
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Darwinism at work??? Survival of the fittest?? Thinning the gene pool??? If they were dumb enough to go out there........

Sorry, just being a realist.
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