I’m not laughing, because people getting killed of their own willful neglect and stupidity isn’t really funny. Yea, we have the Darwin Awards, but that’s not like 345 people getting crushed in a human stampede.
MINA, Saudi Arabia – Thousands of Muslim pilgrims rushing to complete a
symbolic stoning ritual during the hajj tripped over luggage Thursday,
causing a crush in which at least 345 people were killed, the Interior
The stampede occurred as tens of thousands of pilgrims headed toward
al-Jamarat, a series of three pillars representing the devil that the
faithful pelt with stones to purge themselves of sin.
So, here we have issue number one: primitive and moronic superstition. So great is the irrational fervor that human beings behave as cattle, and the do so with regularlity:
The site is a notorious bottleneck for the massive crowds that
attend the annual hajj pilgrimage and has seen deadly stampedes in the
past, including one in 1990 that killed 1,426 people and another in
February 2004 that killed 244. Seven of the past 17 yearly pilgrimages
have seen deadly incidents at al-Jamarat.
The latest crush came despite Saudi attempts to ease the flow of
traffic around al-Jamarat. This year’s hajj was marred by the Jan. 5
collapse of a building being used as a pilgrims’ hotel that killed 76
people in Mecca.
The stampede happened as pilgrims were rushing to complete the last
of three days of the stoning ritual before sunset, said Interior
Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki. Some of the pilgrims
began tripping over dropped baggage, causing a large pileup, he said.
Issue number two: Ignoring the plain reality provided by the fact of numerous past instances.
What this is, is not is a tragedy. The tsunami was a tragedy. This is simply the justice that happens when people allow their feelings and superstition to trump reason and good sense–even when they have good evidence to suggest significant and uncontrollable risks.
You know, I once got caught in a crowd so dense that I was unable to direct my own movement, or even stop. T’was about 10 years ago on 5th Avenue in New York City. St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I realized then what would likely happen if I–or anyone else–lost footing. I managed to extricate myself at a side street, after having failed several attempts at same. Never again will I allow myself to get caught in a crowd like that.
Failing all that, a good rule of thumb is to never allow yourself to be part of anything where you’re debased to the point of being referred to as a "pilgrim." It never ceases to amaze me; how easy it is to render human beings so pathetically meek, weak, and shameless. I’m reminded that Christians often refer to Christ as shepherd and themselves a flock of sheep. I don’t know about you, but that analogy makes me ill enough to want to vomit.
Screw anyone who thinks or claims that the wonders of humanity are the moral and intellectual equivalent of a flock of dumb sheep. Curse them a million times.