The Pursuit of Justice For Ethan Allen Deaths - Amtrak Train Crash in Washington State

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January 08, 2006

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My mother was one of the 20 victims of this horrendous tragedy. I cannot tell you how much this incident has changed our lives forever. She was a 69 year old out on a fun-filled vacation with other senior citizens and having a great time enjoying a fall color vacation. She was having a great time and called me 2 days before the accident, telling me how beautiful it was.I cannot believe so much of the feedback saying it was an accident, you tell that to the 20 families in Michigan that lost a loved one or even the survivors. Someone needs to stand up and accept responsiblity for this tragic event that has changed so many lives and left many of us very heartbroken. There is negligance and I feel either shoreline cruises or the boat captain need to accept responsibility, and stand up to their negligance and apparently there are many things negilgant, over loading, not enough crew members, no safety briefing, amongst other things. We the families know no amount of money can bring our loved ones back, their lives or priceless, but if it makes someone accept responsiblity and make changes in the tourboat industry there, so that no other family has to go through the hell we have been through, the lkawsuits will be worth it. I am sure if it was one of their loved ones, they would be singing a differant tune.

I always find it ironic how people such as Dick (above) want to create a society where no one is responsible for their actions. What Dick seeks is not tort reform. Dick wants people to be immune from being held accountable. Dick wants to re-draft our democracy and place it in the hands of the executives and legislatures, barring citizens from the third branch of government, our judiciary.

Dick consoles the families of the 20 dead with his old stand by "oh well, accidents happen." In Dick's America, no need to hold those who were responsible to any degree of accountability since if it happens, it must have been as Dick’s god intended.

Dick, don't give conservatives a bad name by suggesting that we create a 'free for all' society were no one is accountable. Most of the family members suing would consider themselves Republican and conservative. But then again, it wasn't your family that was needlessly killed, was it Dick?

I can't tell you how many people such as Dick that I have presented who I would call "armchair tort reformers." They know nothing about the justice system or tort reform. When their spouse or child is killed by a drunk driver, they want justice and become irate when they find out that they are the ones that placed a lock on the courthouse, barring their entry. If you haven’t had the need to access the justice system when someone else’s negligence takes the life of someone you love, you remain ignorant. You can have your opinion but it is decidedly uninformed. You don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

It was not God's will that resulted in the needless death of 20 people. It was negligence, pure and simple. It was a company which clearly had no business taking people out on the water for profit. Shall we encourage these companies in their behavior and chalk up their death tally as God's will? Or shall we let the court system do its constitutional job? There is only one place in America where the citizens speak directly, above the voice of politicians and lawyers. That place is in court. Those citizens are known as jurors. That process is one our founders fought and died for. The right to a trial by jury is one guaranteed by our Constitution. Don’t let the Dick’s of the world destroy our constitutional justice system and re-form our democracy into a two branch system. Dick doesn’t know the first thing about justice or the courts anyway. Don’t be a Dick.

Mr. Zdrojewski,
I am sorry for the loss that you and your wife have suffered. Lake George is a very small community, as is most of Warren County, for that matter. Have you ever been there? Have you ever sat in the park on a summer evening and listened to the Lake George Community Band? Seen the students of Warren County march in the holiday parades? Heard the fire trucks roar down Main Street and Beach Road, sirens and horns demanding your attention - not to alert everyone to a fire, but to announce that one of the local school athletic teams has just won a state championship? Or watched the fireworks shows that dot the lake on the Fourth of July? These shows are not spectacular, certainly nothing comparable to the shows you have most likely seen over the Detroit River, but they are enough to provide entertainment for the local communities, and the people who visit these communities. They are cause for people to not think about everything else that is going on this world today.
You write that you are concerned about ensuring that the right people pay dearly for this catastrophe. "American Justice," as I believe you referred to it, albeit sarcastically. You say that you do not wish to file a lawsuit, although you threaten to do so. And now you are calling for a boycott for tourism in all of Warren County.
I must ask you, Mr. Zdrojewski, do you really think that this is a productive way to spend your resources? And the resources of people whom you have never met, yet managed to save the lives of a few of your parent's friends? Obviously there was a problem with the system, and this was instantly brought to our nation's attention by the sensationalist media. I ask you, how is it that our society has evolved into a reactive society, rather than a proactive one? I strongly believe that a large reason for this is that we are in a competitive society, a "me-first" society, rather than a cooperative, "your needs before mine" society. We rarely take the time to thoroughly understand a situation; rather, we simply point a finger and assign responsibility, often negatively, rather than applying that energy into a constructive mechanism for improving the way our society functions. A lawsuit is a very archaic, reactive way of addressing a problem. If anything should be banned in this country, it should be retribution. Retribution will most likely be the demise of the capitalist society. I would like to think that the American population-at-large has evolved from the days of Draconian law, in which an "eye for an eye" was a matter of course. Perhaps instead of forcing our system to spend its energy and resources on lawsuits, we should force it to direct that energy and those resources into creating a more efficient, proactive system of checks and balances, to create a system that prevents tragedies like this, rather than one that reacts to each tragedy.
Mr. Zdrojewski, I urge you to reconsider your call for a boycott of tourism in Warren County. I am at a loss for how, in the end, hurting more innocent people will help you and your wife move through this tragedy.
Sincerely yours,
Eric Howe

My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to every family that was effected by this Accident.

Clearly this is what it was an Accident, pointing fingers, playing the blame game, boycotting a county. How will this bring what you've already lost back?
How are you truly letting the dead rest in peace, with an ongoing war?

I believe the company should face strict fines and that NY really should look at the requirements in place for sailing such vessels.

But it is also my opinion that your going a little overboard. The captain had been drinking the night before, can we say how much? Do we know if he had wine with dinner, or a cocktail prior to dinner or did he drink a case? And is it illegal for a captain, or a bus driver or anyone for that matter to have wine with dinner the night before work?

Boycotting Lake George would only cause more innocent people more pain, and in the end is that what you want?

My opinion may come based on the fact that I didn't lose someone due to this, but pointing a finger will not bring them back. As for any answers you may need, it was there time God wanted them more. Leaving nothing unanswered..

I am extremely sympathetic to everyone that has been affected by the Ethan Allen tragedy. It was an unforeseen accident. Lake George is made up of a majority of small business. Everday people depending on tourism to stay afloat and support their families. These same people are the ones who came to the aid and rescue of the survivors. They are the ones who used their own boats as a safe haven. I do understand the anger towards the owner of the cruise company. I feel if you would like to boycott the boating company, it is completely understandable. The boycott of an entire town would kill a community. The boycott of the county would have a rippling affect on all of the surrounding communities, that have nothing to do with tourism. Innocent people would loose their homes and businesses, that they have worked their entire lives for. Therefore I am suggested you should rethink your position on boycotting an entire county that is not responsible for the actions of one. You would be hurting many innocent people in the process.

I Wish to state that the report about the tragedy, killing 20 people will not Justify the end result. People are dead and the ones responsible are free to do as they wish according to Warren County District Attorney Kathleen B. Hogan. She is not preferring any charges against Captain Paris nor the boat company. "Now that's what I call American Justice!" The innocent are defiled and the guilty go free!

I understand that I and my wife can't sue Warren County. However, what I can do is to propose a boycott of tourism to Warren County. That area depends on tourism for tax dollars. I know that it will hurt small businesses as well, but this is the best that I can do. So, if everyone who reads this, passes on to everyone they know, that there is no Justice in Warren County, then do not make any plans for any kind of tour to that county.

Email everyone, phone everyone and just talk to every one you know to boycott Warren County. Tell them emphatically, that Warren County doesn't care about people from out of New York, just their money.

Ronald Zdrojewski

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