t was one of those “Death on the Ice” days: sunny, but with an icy wall of wind. It’s reminiscent of what the poor sealers from the SS Newfoundland faced the day after surviving a barrage of snow and freezing rain.
Of the 132 men stranded on the Front that March 31st in 1914, only 54 were still alive when rescue finally came two days late.
Tragedies dot our history like a string of dark pearls. But no matter how often they occur, they still make us pause to consider how we can do better.
How we can stop this gut-wrenching pain from affecting more families now and in the future.
March 23 also brought news of a much more modern type of tragedy: five lives lost on the Trans-Canada Highway in an accident early Tuesday morning.
The crash happened near the Long Harbour turnoff, a busy stretch of road when workers head to or from jobs in Long Harbour, Come By Chance and Bull Arm.
A passenger van and a pickup truck collided in the dawn hours.
The van caught fire, and police were helpless to do anything for several hours.
The pickup driver was seriously injured, but is expected to survive.
It was clearly a gruesome scene. As of that afternoon, authorities had still not released any names.
It wasn’t clear whether all victims had even been identified by that point.
Drivers, along with residents in the area, say this stretch of road can be treacherous. There’s at least one steep turn that has seen more than its fair share of collisions.
So now, the soul-searching begins. Should this be the watershed event to really spur more serious action?
Better enforcement, higher fines, rerouting roads?
Is there a death toll that will finally spur more drastic action?
Or should we pay our respects and carry on until the next moment of carnage?
Last week, police clocked a fleeing vehicle at speeds of up to 175 km/h.
Police say speed kills. Others dispute that, pointing to statistics that don’t back it up; stupidity and inattentiveness are the real culprits.
None of this really gets to the heart of the matter.
Over the past century, motor vehicles have become increasingly fast, efficient and comfortable.
Along with that has come a degree of complacency. It’s increasingly difficult for some to remember they are hurtling along narrow strips of pavement in large chunks of metal.
A small difference in speed one way or the other is essentially moot if those chunks make contact.
You have to wonder whether too many drivers are too absorbed in their own bubbles to care — not just the skeets and the drunks, but all of us.
Today, we extend condolences to those affected by this horrible crash.
Tomorrow, let’s do something about it.