Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And It Gets Worse

Chapter the Second, in which we continue to follow the curious case of Mr. Gilles Blackburn. Go read my last entry first, if you haven't already. After that, go read my first entry last. It's not relevant in the slightest, but I'm in a Lewis Carroll kind of mood today and enjoy the wordplay. By this time tomorrow I'll regret the previous two sentences. That one too, in all probability.

If I'm reading this editorial correctly, Mr. Blackburn stamped out some SOS signs in the snow, then kept wandering. On at least a couple of occasions, someone went to one of his signs, but Mr. Blackburn and his wife were by then nowhere around. I also enjoyed the offhanded mention that since there was snow on the ground, all Mr. Blackburn and his wife had to do when they first realized they were lost was turn around and follow their own tracks back to the trail they had left.

I'm no wilderness survivalist. I've needed to be rescued from the middle of city parks. In my defense, I was only afraid to climb back down from the statue because those park ducks looked fierce. The razor-sharp bills, the fleet webbed feet... I'm starting to get flashbacks. I'd best move along before I wind up back in therapy.

Anyway, the point is, even I know that the first rule when lost in the woods is stay put. Unless you absolutely need to move for some reason (like encircling park ducks drawing ever closer), find a comfy spot and wait for search-and-rescue. That's doubly true if you've somehow been able to signal your position with a flare, emergency whistle, fire, or SOS sign stamped in the snow. Of course, this may not hold true anymore if Mr. Blackburn achieves his dream of forcing search-and-rescue crews to cease operations. If there's no help coming, you might as well pick a direction and start walking. Personally, I'll be nervous venturing into my back yard without a trail of bread crumbs leading back to the shed.

As I mentioned yesterday, I can't quite demonize Mr. Blackburn. I hold out hope that he's still a victim here, being manipulated by sharks and weasels who see his tragedy as a way to make a quick buck. Who, you may wonder, could possibly be so low? And lo, we have an answer:

The lawyer for a Quebec man who barely survived being lost for nine days in the B.C. backcountry and watched his wife die in the ordeal says she's surprised by the level of animosity being thrust toward her client.

[snip, snip, snip your cares away]

Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Blackburn's lawyer, says the public appears to have lost sight of who the victim is in this case.

"I think it's important that people be reminded who's being sued here and why," Wilhelm-Morden said.

That's right, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, henceforth to be known as Weasel Number One. I love that she's "surprised" that people aren't falling for this nonsense. Since she presumably graduated law school, probably with flecks of ambulance bumpers already lodged between her teeth, I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she isn't actually stupid. However, it goes beyond disingenuous to suggest that this lawsuit is about improving services or contributing to public safety. This lawsuit is all about a payday for Mr. Blackburn, and more importantly for Weasel Number One. Those ads during Jerry Springer, encouraging idiots to file lawsuits when their idiocy backfires, don't come cheap.

I can almost understand Mr. Blackburn's lawsuit against the RCMP. I think he should lose it, but there may be an iota of merit to it. The RCMP has an explicit duty of care for Canadians, even when those Canadians are endangered by their own recklessness. However, suing the hotel is very close to the definition of chutzpah, and suing the search-and-rescue group is simply over the top.

I'd like to see the hotel countersue. Mr. Blackburn's actions caused them a lot of trouble, expense, and negative publicity. He should be billed for all expenses that they can reasonably attribute to him. Actually, my ideal scenario would be that they sue him, win, and are awarded a judgement of one dollar. I don't want him punished financially; I just want him to stop blaming others for his own foolishness. If he snaps out of this tomorrow, drops all the suits and publicly denounces Weasel Number One's opportunism, then all is forgiven.

In that spirit, I'd also like to nominate Weasel Number One as this week's Worst Person In The World, a completely meaningless award that I've invented for this blog, and -

What's that, Internet? Someone else already does a "Worst Person In The World" bit?

Huh. I didn't know that. Whoever it is must be pretty insignificant. I've certainly never noticed them saying anything noteworthy. Still, I don't want to rip off anybody else's fake, arbitrary awards. So, never mind, then.

Enough rambling. Here's the other end of Bookshelf # 1, with 12.5% fewer paint handprints! (Some of them are in behind the CD rack. Of course, you couldn't see all of them on the other end either. There was a monkey in the way, which happens a lot in my house.)

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