Monday, March 2, 2009

Would it be the same for you and me? Probably not.

For the past 24 hours, news of NFL players becoming lost in a boating accident off the Florida coast has dominated headlines. But I wonder if a group of teachers, or nurses, or social services workers found themselves in the same situation, would the Coast Guard make such a grand effort to find them? Would this story dominate the media? Probably not.

America has assigned a high status to certain individuals that has even affected how taxpayer money is spent. For example, when John F. Kennedy Jr.'s private plane went down in 1999, President Clinton assigned dozens of U.S. Navy aircraft and vessels to comb a large area of New England waters in a search and rescue effort, spending many millions of dollars, even though Kennedy was merely a private citizen. If an American serviceman fell overboard from a ship, you can be sure that the nation would spend a fraction only a fraction of the cost of the Kennedy search to find him.

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