The implosion confirmed of the OceanGate Titan has sparked a wide range of opinions about the actual attempted subsea journey, including comments on the now deceased five passengers, and the wisdom of such an undertaking.
Stockton Rush (61), the CEO of OceanGate, has been the focus of some of the (understandable), criticisms of the short voyage of the doomed ship. He was accused of cutting corners on safety and dismissing those who raised their concerns. Rush also openly supported wokeness in an interview undated, when it came to hiring white experienced submariners who he felt were not “inspiring” enough for younger generations.
“When I first started my business, you’ll notice that there are other sub operators out there. But they usually have, uh… gentlemen who were ex-military sailors, and you — you’ll be seeing a bunch of 50 year-old white men.” I wanted my team to be young, inspiring, and I can’t inspire a 16 year old to pursue marine technology. But a 25 year old, uh you know, who is a subpilot or a platform operators or one of our technicians, they could be.
I understand that Rush will be criticized for embarking on such a dangerous adventure. Also, that Rush is a woke person on some level but has allegedly ignored safety concerns. I understand that some people will believe that any rescue efforts that could have resulted in more deaths should not have taken place for those who knew what they were doing.
All of these criticisms are valid, and they all speak to the questioning of a person’s judgement. This is newsworthy and relevant.
What I don’t understand is that a lot critics have turned into “let’s dunk the rich dead guys,” as my RedState co-worker Brandon Morse described here. It’s almost as if some people, mostly on the left, and those in the media, from what I have seen, were taking a perverse delight in the deaths, especially of Suleman Dawood who was the 19-year old son of British Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood 48, also on board the sub.
Consider the CNN panel “This Morning”, which took place on Friday. The panelists, including CNN anchor Christine Romans, chief business correspondent, and the panelists, placed a lot of emphasis on those who died, even praising themselves at one point for not wanting to be like those who wanted the Titanic wreckage, as if being wealthy and wanting to do such a journey were character flaws.
This is a market that caters to rich thrill-seekers. It’s about ultra-high net worth individuals with $30 million and more. They’re taking 24-day private jet tours across the country. They are going to fly into the base camp of Mount Everest. Spending $250,000 on a trip to the bottom the ocean. Virgin Galactic announced last week that it will be offering trips to the space beginning next month. The cost is $450,000 per person to become a private Astronaut. They’ve sold over 800 tickets.
There’s an enormous market for a few super-rich people. These are people who made their money not by following rules but by breaking them, or by taking risks. They are by nature risk-takers. They got their money that way. They are thrill-seekers. One of the people that tragically perished in this trip had three Guinness World Records, and had done other stuff too, like going to space.
It’s a very expensive and addictive type of adventure travel.
ROMANS: It’s a dangerous thing to do. It’s because they know it’s a risk. It is a great thrill to be able do things that mere mortals will never attempt. By the way, I have no desire to climb Mount Everest.
This is the busiest time of year for SOLOMON. So, definitely —
MATTINGLY: I believe seven people died in that climbing season. Elie is a man with that much money and he’s willing to take on that level of risk.
HONIG: Neither am I rich nor am I a thrill-seeker.
Later, CNN’s Anderson Cooper invited a guest: Alfred Hagen. Hagen is a U.S. contractor who has taken two rides in the Titan vessel, to see the remains of the Titanic. He was also good friends with French deep-sea explorer Paul Henri “Mr. Titanic” Nargeolet (77), one of those who died last week in the tragic trip.
Hagen was critical of the focus on the wealth and status of Titan’s passengers.
I am tired of people insulting high achievers, disparaging wealthy people who want to break the trail for humanity, and then coming in to ban dead corpses. I don’t know what to say. These are the risk-takers. Humanity has always been driven forward by risk-takers. You know, taking risks is what makes us men. It’s the divine sparkle.
We would not have been able to cross the oceans if we had not taken risks. We wouldn’t have learned how to sail. We would have never left the shackles of Earth. We would have – but we wouldn’t be on the moon. We wouldn’t even be exploring the depths of the ocean.
James Cameron is someone I respect greatly. If he says that carbon fiber isn’t the right shell for the car, I will agree. We’ll learn from this and move forward.
Stockton Rush also had a point. Oceans are essential to our future. All the elements needed to power the green economy can be found on the seafloor.
I’m sure some will say that this deep-sea venture wasn’t “trailblazing,” however, with Rush and Nargeolet aboard it was because that’s what they did. Even though people may disagree, I find that what Hagen has said about wealthy people investing in the deep-sea is unarguable (regardless of whether one agrees or not with the “green” economy aspect).
It’s one thing for people to criticize Rush on how he managed things. But it’s quite another to rejoice when someone fails, or in this case dies, just because they’re rich and can accomplish what “mere mortals”, most likely, will never be able to.