Nov 30, 2009


I read a really sad article the other day about a man who had to make the most difficult choice one could, to save the live of your wife or your son. According to the news account the wife drove over wet grass and spun out of control into a river. How she came across grass is anyone's guess, but apparently alcohol was not a factor. Anyways the husband arrived on scene within minutes and dove into the water to rescue his family, his teenager's best friend, and their dog.

The man tried to rescue his son, but he couldn't get to him. He could still reach his wife though and swam her to safety. The son's best friend and their pet escaped the vehicle, but sadly the man sat on the shore and watched his child drown.

I can't imagine a worse horror than a parent losing their child.

Details of what exactly happened haven't been made to the public it seems. I can only speculate as to why the father thought his child was beyond saving. Maybe it was the position of the car, the current, the fact that the vehicle may have hit bottom already, or an object impeded him from grabbing the kid. Still I would hate to be that man living with that for the rest of his life. His relationship with his wife will need serious work to keep it afloat, no pun intended.

I'm not a father nor a husband, but I would imagine most would agree that if given the choice I would always save my child. Still I'm not sure what I'd do exactly if given the opportunity. I'm sure if I ever got married my wife would insist I save the son and let her go to a watery grave.

I remember once watching Titanic with my then girlfriend. When the ship was sinking (sorry to spoil it for those unfamiliar) the main character made sure his love took off in a lifeboat without him as the women and children first rule applied. Rather than sail off to safety she bails on the boat and returns to the infamous ship insisting that his fate will be hers.

I told my girlfriend that if she did that I'd be so pissed. She asked why and I told her in the event of a disaster like that she is to take off in the lifeboat and to stay alive, regardless of what happens to me. She argued that point saying that we were to either live together or die together. I stated that was unacceptable, that if in the worst case scenario she is to survive even if it costs me my life. I told her she was to get off that ship, with or without me, and only worry about her.

She did not agree with me. She was never really grasped the concept that I'm right about everything. Sigh...women.

Truth be told no one knows what exactly they'd do in a life and death situation. Survival instinct may hit and one could knock over the elderly to get to safety. I remember reading a story years ago about a movie theatre that would play a prank during horror movies. When a scary scene appeared on the screen an employee would jump out brandishing a bloody knife, machete, or something of that nature, shocking the crowd. One night though during the latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre they decided a chainsaw would be in order. The result was a audience member who trampled and injured his wife on his spree out the door. She sued the cinema, but I never heard if she decided to stay with the coward.

I hope and pray I can do the honorable thing in any of those scenarios. My worst fear is being put in the position of choosing who's life to save, but right below that would be to act like a pansy which would result in someone paying the ultimate price for my cowardice.

Screw it. I'm saving the dog.

"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." - Sigmund Freud

Man had to choose: save wife or son


Miss Ash said...

The last bit reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where George trampled the kids/grandmother at the birthday party to save himself from the smokey oven. But you're right, who knows what one would do in such a situation.

Kelli said...

At Halloween one year Nate's Dad hid in the bushes with a (chainless) chainsaw. This woman and her roughly 6-7 year old son came up; he jumped out of the bushes, revving the motor of the saw. Before any of us knew it she had run about 6 houses away... leaving her child standing in my driveway. That kid now knows that Mommy put her own safety before his.

On a side note. When I was going into the hospital to have Nate, I had to sign a ton of release forms with crazy scenarios of how I could die or be dismembered during childbirth... Nate's Dad had to decide, on one of the forms, if it came down to it whether he would save my life or the child's. He chose me. Some people's mindset is you can have more children... but replacing your soul mate/love of your life is nearly impossible.

Kelli said...

After reading the article, I gathered the wife was out of the car and going under (maybe she couldn't swim) and the boy was still in the car. That makes more sense as to why he didn't go after the boy.

Mattbear said...

The sudden fright situation (like Kelli's chainsaw example above) is very different as it would be more likely to trigger the "Fight or Flight" response, which can be very overriding and cause people to do things they wouldn't normally do.

The article implies the wife was on the surface already (he could hear her screaming for help) but sinking and he just helped her back to the shore after trying to dive down to get his son. He says it was "too deep" for him to dive down for the boy, and given that it was dark out he probably couldn't have seen to get him out anyway.So I think the article's characterization of it as a "choice" is perhaps a little misleading.

The Reluctant Dragon said...

One of my favorite quotes:

"Coward: a man [or woman. whatever.] in whom the instinct of self preservation acts normally."

Sultana Zaraya