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Re: [at-l] Whites Incident & Cell Phone
I hate to prolong the obvious, but since TJ persists:
This is the message RnR sent to this list. My computer says it was created at
1:27 a.m on Sept. 11. I got it when I turned on my computer about 9 a.m.
The complete message as it was received by me:
" Perhaps it's a little early for such, but it struck me that the
involvement of the Whites hypothermia victim with cell phone rescue should be
"If I read the report correctly, the victim called in a rescue request for
himself by cell phone and was waiting for rescuers.
"After reading the story it struck me later that this man was possibly
slackpacking the Whites hut to hut only carrying minimal gear and a phone. The
report said he had no pack when he was found.
"I feel it important since this brings up several very serious issues
regarding cell phone dependency on the AT for safety.
"If this victim had deliberately forsaken extra gear in order to slackpack
the Whites hut to hut, in order to save time and energy in an injured state, he
had probably brought the cell phone as a hedge against risk.
"If this proves to be the case, it would have dire ramifications for cell
phone use. It would mean the victim chose to bring a useless piece of gear
instead of more critical types.
"If the victim was relying on the cell phone to bail him out, it turned out
it failed to do so. Reports were scratchy on how well he communicated his
situation to Camp Dodge. As reported, this communication was useless to his
predicament and did not help save his life. The rescue occurred from nearby help
and was too late.
"If Camp Dodge was successfully contacted by the still-conscious victim it
failed to alert the Madison crew only a few thousand feet away. In this interim
the victim fell below the point of recovery. This incident has several gaping
failures, some of which directly involve cell phones, or possible false
confidence in them, that should be reviewed.
" Though the tragedy was probably mostly age and exhaustion related, I
believe this incident leaves open the possibility that this death occurred at
least partly because of bad reliance on a cell phone as gear."
It's my contention that this message doesn't warrant all the scorn heaped on
RnR, especially in comparison with other listers who have speculated, based on
no facts whatsoever, that the man may have committed suicide or was a victim of
depression. Please note that no less than five of RnR's 8 or 9 paragraphs begin
with "If." And one begins with "perhaps"
It was and is my advice that everyone, including RnR, should stop speculating
about the cause of this death at least until we have more than facts than we
have now. The official AMC analysis will be printed in a biannual issue of
Appalachia, probably in the Dec. 15 issue.