Sunday, March 25, 2007

More of the same old, same old

There's more evil tidings from Russia this morning: AP is reporting that several people died in a striptease club fire, the details of which read like this:

"The cause of the blaze had not been determined, but some witnesses said it broke out during a "fire show" that was part of the club's nightly entertainment, said Yevgeny Bobylev, a spokesman for the Moscow division of the Ministry.

The preliminary accounts indicated that a performer in the show inadvertently set his clothing on fire and that in turn ignited a nearby one-gallon container of flammable liquid, Bobylev said.

He said all the deaths were due to suffocation. About 150 people were evacuated, including four who were hospitalized"

You can add this to the fire in the home for the elderly last week in the north Caucasus, which took the lives of nearly l00 people(the nightwatchman ignored two alarms), the disastrous inferno in the Moscow drug rehab center that killed several dozen young people(doors were locked to prevent escapes(!)), and the numerous instances of people killed on the job in potentially hazardous conditions. Actually, this time of year, you could be killed just walking along the street, as jagged, torpedo-shaped pieces of melting ice fall from buildings. I remember vividly an excursion I took in the Solovki island canals a few years ago--the rowboats were all overcrowded, there were no lifejackets in sight and of course, no lifeguards. Also, I suspected that very few people with me could swim. It was truly every man for himself there.

All this points up a scandalous lack of attention, even indifference to human life and safety, and a corresponding lack of legal protections against this sort of thing. There is really no recourse if you are injured in one of these incidents, because there is no tradition of health and safety legislation there, and even if there were, what courts there are always rule in favor of the state or the wealthy owners of a given enterprise. People here often grouse about intrusive legislation and regulation, but I would err on the side of intrusive rather than have to live in an actively Darwinistic place, a near anti-state like this incarnation of Russia.

1 comment:

mishdiaz said...

Awful! Just awful!I really feel sorry for the old people. Funny how we really like it when it is cold enough around here for the icicles to hang off the roof. Never thought of them as a hazard until now! Hey...wasn't there a similar club fire in New York a few years ago. The pyrotechnics took off or something, I don't remember even if it was NY. Might have been Chicago.....