Tag: Costa Concordia

Profiles in Cowardice

It’s the must-listen audio of the day as the “captain” of the Costa Concordia refuses to obey the Coast Guard’s increasingly angry demands that he return to his sinking ship:

I ran this by a few native Italian speakers and they have told me the translation doesn’t quite capture the color of the Coast Guard’s language. At one point, he calls Schettino an Italian slang word for penis, the equivalent of calling him a little shit. But you don’t have to be a native speaker to catch the outrage in the call.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Schettino deserves what’s coming to him. It’s bad enough to damage your ship and then run it aground and roll it over. That’s incompetence. But abandoning drowning passengers and crew while you speed off in a taxi? Passengers panic in danger situations. But boat crews are trained for these situations.

I listen to to this recording and I can’t help but think of the brave crew of United 232, who saved 2/3 of the passengers in a fireball crash. I think of Arland Williams on Air Florida 90, passing the rescue line to other before his strength gave out. I think of the band aboard the Titanic playing until the ship went under the waves. And then I think of Schettino, comfortable in a taxi while his charges died. He’s now claiming he tripped and fell into a lifeboat — wasn’t that an episode of The Love Boat or something? I’m sure it will be space aliens next.

Fuck him. His name is already a byword for cowardice. Let’s focus our attention on the heroes. By the time we get the full story, it will turn out there were a lot more people on that ship like James Thomas than there were like Schettino.