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The Big Tiger and the Big R

February 14, 2011

America is in a state of serious malnutrition – value malnutrition. One value lacking in particular is the value called “Responsibility”.

Case in point was the recent settlement of a tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo.

For whatever reason, three brothers decided to go to the San Francisco zoo after getting hopped up on marijuana and booze. Once at the zoo they decided it would be fun to taunt the animals. This turned out to be a fatal mistake when they turned their attack on Tatiana the Siberian Tiger.

Tatiana escaped her cage and launched an attack of her own, fatally injuring one of the teenage thugs.

Even though there were witnesses to the taunting, evidence of marijuana and booze, footprints on the handrail, and thrown items in the tiger pen – a court awarded $900,000 to the two surviving boys and an undisclosed amount to the parents of the deceased brother.

So, how does this story relate to emergency service? It relates in many ways. First, a society with no responsibility lends itself to reckless behavior, and reckless behavior leads to serious accidents.

When somebody doesn’t have to worry about responsibility, they don’t worry about consequences. If an accident happens, they can just blame it on somebody else. Or, simply blame in on bad luck.

We can also expect to hire workers who will refuse to own up to their mistakes. They will blame their mistakes on others, or expect blanket leniency for any egregious behavior.

What can we do about this problem? Like most big-time problems, the solution starts with “you”. You must first be a responsible person yourself. Next, you must expect responsibility from others. Your role with others will determine how much leverage you have with those expectations.

Even though all the evidence tells us that Tatiana the Tiger was seriously taunted, she still had some responsibility for her actions. She paid for her mistake, with her life. And, so did one of the brothers.

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