Every bit of advice we’ve been given ... has been wrong
August 17, 2019 5:22 PM   Subscribe

 
I didn't know anything about this and most of the links in the previously (and a previouslier linked before that) were no longer functional. This video doesn't really tell you anything, but there is a link in the description to an article, here, which looks like it might be more a little more informative.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 5:56 PM on August 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Here's the indictment, as the link in the previously is down. It's a fuckin' piece of work. Ho. Ly. Shit.
posted by klanawa at 6:21 PM on August 17, 2019 [8 favorites]


It's a fuckin' piece of work

That's nice, but the charges were dismissed.
posted by thelonius at 6:31 PM on August 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


I didn't see a link to it in any of the previously but this was the topic of one of the best episodes of the sadly dead Mic Dicta podcast. Link, RIP the best lawyers-being-funny podcast.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:31 PM on August 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


The indictment was dismissed because some of the evidence presented to the Grand Jury was misleading!

I thought a Grand Jury just determined whether there was probable cause for a prosecution?
posted by monotreme at 6:33 PM on August 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Me previously:
You know I am often pretty down on our criminal justice system but at least they did their jobs on this and god was it needed. The thoroughness of this investigation is something I’m more used to in UK police procedural than here in the US but god. Im so glad they’re going to jail. I mean if they don’t go to jail....?! Our justice system is so messed up who knows.

Me now:
No, I was right the first time, our system is a big ol tire fire.
posted by bleep at 6:40 PM on August 17, 2019 [27 favorites]


Texas Monthly ran a lengthy article about the accident last year, if you're looking for more information. It's from before the grand jury, though. monotreme, the judge ruled that the grand jury had been given prejudicial evidence, and so it could not make an unbiased decision about the case. The state can bring a new case to a new grand jury.
posted by Nerdy Spice at 6:45 PM on August 17, 2019 [17 favorites]


I'm looking at the Texas Monthly article that Nerdy Spice just posted. Oh wow, I didn't realize there were two other riders in the raft (they were apparently unharmed). How horrifying for them to have witnessed this firsthand!
posted by acidnova at 6:53 PM on August 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


I went in expecting a documentary, but it's really more of a meditation, or tone poem - at first, the pacing seems off-kilter in that way that the new generation of "sentences floating over stock video footage"-style news reports usually are, but when the Longmont Potion Castle credit came up at the end, things kind of fell into place for me.
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:56 PM on August 17, 2019 [9 favorites]


It seems Verrückt to me that instead of a system that prevented the rafts from rising a certain amount above the track surface, they went with poles and netting in the area where that was likely to happen. An undisclosed number of people of course got injured when their faces smacked into those poles and nets at high speed, yet the ride remained open.

And the only thing keeping you in the raft was a Velcro strap? Good lord.
posted by Robin Kestrel at 6:58 PM on August 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


More or less Verrückt than this thing?
posted by Gymnopedist at 7:51 PM on August 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


After reading the part in the Texas Monthly article where these dudes literally just put some bags of sand and weights in a raft and sent it down as the testing protocol, I would've said Verrückt had some Medieval-level construction methods, but then I remembered that even ancient builders had structural engineers that they listened to. I hope these charges are re-filed. They shouldn't get away with this.
posted by droplet at 7:52 PM on August 17, 2019 [14 favorites]


I read about this when it was being built, I read about it when it was opened, I read about the kid's death, I read about all the legal aftermath. It's one of those stories I haven't asked to have in my life but that I've been aware of across its lifetime for some bizarre reason.

This is the first footage I've ever seen of the slide in action.

I find that peculiar, but yeah. Thanks for posting!
posted by hippybear at 8:25 PM on August 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Every bit of advice we’ve been given ... has been wrong


On the off chance that it's true that experts were unable to predict the system's behavior, then that means that you don't understand the problem. If that's the case, then you don't build the ride.
posted by rdr at 8:58 PM on August 17, 2019 [23 favorites]


On the off chance that it's true that experts were unable to predict the system's behavior, then that means that you don't understand the problem. If that's the case, then you don't build the ride.

Not if you're a white guy in America, then you just blunder on through confident that you'll be fine in the end.
posted by axiom at 9:52 PM on August 17, 2019 [30 favorites]


This guy in the comments section sums up my reaction exactly:

"I want to be the first one in a bar to get a drink, I want to have the prettiest girl, I want to have the biggest record, the biggest everything." . . . . . YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH, when a manchild like that is put in charge of something everyone is safe.“

A child died for this ego-trip. People should have gone to prison for this. Disgraceful.
posted by Salamander at 10:02 PM on August 17, 2019 [37 favorites]


Oh wow, I didn't realize there were two other riders in the raft (they were apparently unharmed).

From the Texas Monthly article:
The two sisters who had ridden behind Caleb, both of whom suffered facial injuries, also received a settlement, of an undisclosed amount.
posted by zamboni at 11:34 PM on August 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


When industries are allowed to regulate themselves, innocent people pay the butcher's bill.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:34 PM on August 17, 2019 [33 favorites]


Oh wow, I didn't realize there were two other riders in the raft (they were apparently unharmed).

From the Texas Monthly article:
The two sisters who had ridden behind Caleb, both of whom suffered facial injuries, also received a settlement, of an undisclosed amount.


Sorry - my eyes clearly skipped over that bit. My fault for skimming.
posted by acidnova at 11:47 PM on August 17, 2019


This is America today - no prison time as long as you're rich, white, and part of the right tribe.
posted by benzenedream at 12:03 AM on August 18, 2019 [14 favorites]


I've seen some, um, thrilling rides before, and been on a few, but one where you are speedily propelled into the air with a chance that you might land back on the track again, but, then, maybe not...wow. I think I'll stick with base jumping and wingsuit flying.
posted by kozad at 3:00 AM on August 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


Seems like Republican fathers are happy to sacrifice their kids to the Moloch of deregulation. Has Scott Schwab ever backtracked on deregulation? What's your guess?
posted by rikschell at 6:47 AM on August 18, 2019 [9 favorites]


I hope new idictments are brought in this case, i can't believe that guy got off with nothing. I recall finding the construction and testing methods appalling when the story was first going around. The owner seemed like he was so stuck in his own mental margaritaville to care about anyone other than himself that i really wanted to see him brought down.
posted by WeekendJen at 7:39 AM on August 18, 2019 [3 favorites]


Even if at least Miles doesn't get fully prosecuted for obstruction of justice, I assume the victims are going to sue the pants off of the people responsible.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:00 AM on August 18, 2019


The only person who had a lick of sense was (unsurprisingly) the young, black kid at the beginning of the video who said he wouldn’t be riding because it was too scary. It looks like for the adult morons who designed this thing that their weight was probably enough of a counter to keep it mostly on the track but the lighter the weight the more likely to fly off the track. Is this not the most basic of physics? You’d think even white, sexist, bar-hopping, adult males with paychecks could figure this out. What an absolutely mundane predictable horror this is.
posted by amanda at 8:09 AM on August 18, 2019 [6 favorites]


It looks like for the adult morons who designed this thing that their weight was probably enough of a counter to keep it mostly on the track but the lighter the weight the more likely to fly off the track.

My reading of the indictment leads me to the opposite conclusion. More weight led to more air time, which is why they made some token efforts to limit the weight each boat was loaded with. Even their own test rides on the thing went airborne. They knew this thing was dangerous, they increased the danger by installing steel hoops to hold up the netting, they were getting frequent reports of serious injuries, they concealed those reports from investigators, they didn't maintain the ride, and they kept operating it right up until it killed the child of a state legislator. Jail is where they should be.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:56 AM on August 18, 2019 [18 favorites]


I’m reluctant to appear as though I’m defending the ride’s creators — I’m not — but the article does note that the ring-and-net system had been used on other rides of theirs. That in no way excuses the lack of proper safety engineering, but perhaps it explains why it wasn’t thought to be a problem from the outset. But that’s why proper engineering is so important — it saves us from ourselves.
posted by wintermind at 10:37 AM on August 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


This ride is a metaphor for modern capitalism: "Step right up and buy a ticket for this slide thing to distract you from the other miserable things in your life right it'll be fun. Oh woops we fucked up and now you're dead. We kind of thought that might happen but we were making money so didn't change anything. Sorry-not-sorry. Any criminal liability for us? No I didn't think so. Bye!" Verrückt indeed!
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 10:38 AM on August 18, 2019 [7 favorites]


I got as far as the shots of the ride after the accident with the visible blood in the water and noped the hell out. What a horrible thing those overly prideful, ridiculous men caused to happen.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:08 AM on August 18, 2019 [6 favorites]


(I started to write that sentence in the passive voice, as if the incident was an accident that just happened, and not the result of specific choices made by specific people, and then realized how wrong that would be.)
posted by jacquilynne at 11:10 AM on August 18, 2019 [5 favorites]


the article does note that the ring-and-net system had been used on other rides of theirs. That in no way excuses the lack of proper safety engineering, but perhaps it explains why it wasn’t thought to be a problem from the outset.

It can be really easy to internalize your assumptions and then not reexamine them when circumstances change. So safety netting that was fine when the hazard was people just falling off the edge is suddenly a hazard when the risk changed to being launched off the ride. Mmany of the engineering failures you hear about are like this.
posted by Mitheral at 11:31 AM on August 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


It does seem like any other ride of various sorts has a sort of a "top restraining rail" system for cars. Like, the wheels or whatever are between two layers so it can't come off the bottom layer. It should be possible to engineer something like that for this kind of ride that gives the thrill without the risk. Using a metal top net to "catch" people flying out of their airborne rafts... seems like something someone could have thought through a bit more.

Then again, mentioned upthread is Action Park...
posted by hippybear at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


The fact that so many people went on this deathtrap speaks to how much we implicitly trust what government does for us. I'm sure a lot of people looked at and thought it looked dangerous as hell, but assumed it met some kind of basic standards.

Want to see how an unregulated market works? Verrückt.
posted by Ickster at 1:10 PM on August 18, 2019 [26 favorites]


I feel like the 10-minute documentary is kind of, maybe, irresponsible journalism. I watched it and I commented but I’ve now read halfway through the Texas Monthly article and I’m halfway through the recounting of injuries in the indictment and I’m so disturbed about every aspect of this story. I’m not a water park enthusiast or anything but I don’t understand how this could happen in 2014, 2016. Where are the whistleblowers? Why would anyone work with these guys or pay them? I can only guess that the industry is so thick with bad actors that these guys must have seemed okay which is, to be very understated about it, chilling. I know there are so many epic, systemic failures being uncovered these days but these guys...? The really tragedy is that they themselves weren’t stopped by their own device.
posted by amanda at 3:40 PM on August 18, 2019 [6 favorites]


Yeah, the blood on the ride in the aerial shots is going to stay with me for a long time. I watched this video the day it was posted and I have thought about it every day since.

.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:15 AM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


With as much as I've read about this story i feel blessed to have avoided the visuals.
posted by bleep at 1:09 PM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I read the indictment when it was on MeFi, and it just wrecked me for a couple days. Hubris, ignorance, tragedy, greed. Not going in for more. Humans can be such shits. YThe Justice system didn't do its job, there should be prison time.
posted by theora55 at 7:47 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Here's the court's dismissal [PDF]. Did the AG really screw up in this case, or did the judge let the defendants off easy? IANAL.
posted by benzenedream at 9:25 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


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