3 Fatal Accidents That Revealed the Dark Side of Human Nature
Humans are fickle creatures. We’re easily influenced, we fight among ourselves for silly reasons, and we’d gladly spend billions of dollars to create nuclear weapons just to scare people. Unfortunately, this dark side of human nature shows up far too often due to malicious or careless acts, and the worst offenders are the people that have complete control of a situation yet refuse to act and allow people to be injured or worse, die due to their choices.
To make you despise our race even more, here are three fatal accidents that truly revealed the dark side of human nature. Just remember that whenever there’s a dark side, there has to be a light side to coincide with it. For all the bad people in the world, there’s an equal amount of good people.
Picture Credit: Pexels
- Tesla’s First Fatal Crash
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or in a cave for the past couple of years, you’ve probably heard of Tesla. Tesla is an American automaker that specialises in creating self-driving electric cars. For a long time, they were touted as one of the most revolutionary inventions the past century, and it was hailed for paving the way to a future that could only be seen in the most creative sci-fi movies. Flying hoverboards, robot servers at restaurants, and self-driving cars—the future is already here!
Unfortunately, a lot of motor purists and concerned folks had just one question: is it really safe to let a robot drive our cars? We let robots (or rather, computers) handle tasks such as recording our finances, managing the temperature in our homes and even predicting what kind of TV shows we like so that we don’t have to sift through rubbish we don’t want to watch. However, could we trust a computer system enough to let it drive a car for us? It would have to know all of the streets, it would need to avoid other cars, and it absolutely must not malfunction.
Unfortunately, our fears were answered on May 7th, 2016 when Joshua Brown died in a car crash in Williston, Florida when he switched on the autopilot mode on his Tesla car. The car’s sensors were unable to pick up a large 18-wheeler that was crossing the highway, and the autopilot rammed into it at full speed. Tesla released a statement but focused on defending their technology more than taking responsibility for what happened.
Ultimately, Tesla said that the technology is new and requires consent from the driver before it engages the autopilot mode. It also mentions that the autopilot mode will not function unless the driver’s hands are on the wheel because you have to be prepared to take over at any time. Their technology couldn’t tell there was a truck in front of the car because of a brightly lit sky which meant that the car did not automatically apply the breaks.
The question here is: should Tesla have planned for this situation to happen? When a company researches and builds a new technology they should never release it to the public until it has been thoroughly tested and all possible problems have been ironed out. The fact that Tesla’s cars have the autopilot disabled by default and activating the system requires acknowledgement that the technology is in a testing phase means that Tesla was not willing to put in more money and time to test the system for flaws. Instead, they asked people to spend huge amounts of money to buy their unfinished technology and accept that it might not work and that it could kill them—anything for money.
- Talcum Powder and Cancer
Talcum powder is a common cosmetic product that a lot of people use. It’s used to absorb moisture, for example after a shower when you need to dry areas like armpits, between toes and around your fingers. Sadly, researchers have identified that talcum powder is linked to ovarian cancer when it is used around the genital areas, but there is no warning label that deters people from doing this in the first place. Instead, companies neglect these dangers and studies, and they’re swept under the rug because if it were to go public that talcum powder caused cancer, it would destroy an industry and a product that is used by many people around the world.
Unfortunately, Jacqueline Fox was a victim of this neglect. She died in 2015 from ovarian cancer that was caused by her regular use of talcum powder. Before she passed away, she began to see hints and news articles about the link between baby powder and ovarian cancer and hesitantly filed a lawsuit against the company that made her baby powder: Johnson & Johnson. Eventually, her family won a lawsuit against J&J and took away over $70 million in compensation and damage charges.
This new info about talcum powder came into the public spotlight and since 2013, J&J has spent over $5 billion to clear legal disputes over their drugs and medical devices. They agreed to pay $2.2 billion to settle a dispute that claimed they were illegally marketing an antipsychotic drug to children and elderly people. It was a huge scandal and one of the biggest health fraud penalties in the United States. They also had to pay another $2.8 billion to resolve lawsuits about artificial hips and a further $120 million for vaginal-mesh inserts that were faulty.
With over $5 billion spent in a couple of years to clear fraud penalties and lawsuits, you’d think that J&J would be at their wit’s end about all this money they’re losing. Yet despite losing so much money they’re still in business and their stock prices recently went up!
It goes to show that a company that produces medical and cosmetic products knows exactly what they are doing. J&J knew the risks of ovarian cancer with regular talcum powder usage yet they continued to market and sell their products. An ethical company would have pulled the product from shelves to preserve human life, but for J&J it was a calculated risk and they knew they would eventually have to spend money to clear lawsuits and disputes, but the money they made via their product was more than enough to cover the costs and still make a hefty profit.
Picture Credit: Pexels
- Manslaughter in Manhattan Construction Site
One of the most dangerous places to work in the world is a construction site. Not only are you fighting against heavy objects such as steel beams that could fall from hundreds of feet in the air if you’re not careful, but you also have the brave the elements and work against the earth around you.
Safety equipment in the construction environment is a pressing concern and there are laws and regulations that prevent you from acting recklessly, but sometimes these rules are ignored because it’s faster to get work done without having to invest in safety equipment, educate workers or put up warning signs. Unfortunately, this has cost lives.
On October 15, 2015, a 22-year old man known as Carlos Moncayo was killed when a 14-foot-deep trench he was working in collapsed on top of him and buried him beneath tonnes of soil and debris. It reached up to his next as he desperately tried to climb out, but by the time his co-workers dug him out he was no longer breathing. After an investigation into the company responsible for the construction site, it was discovered that they had not provided enough cave-in protection for the trench and didn’t support the area that Carlos Moncayo was working in. In other words, they neglected his safety and his death was completely avoidable.
The construction managers were well aware of the deadly hazards on the construction site because safety officials warned them several times. However, they neglected the warnings and needlessly cost someone their life. They were issued the maximum fine possible, but a further investigation took the managers to court. In court, the managers pleaded not guilty. They were “saddened” by what happened, but they didn’t “bear criminal responsibility” for what happened. Another lawyer was recorded saying that the managers had nothing to do with the death and that they did not intend to accept a fine or a plea.
With construction-related deaths on the rise, it’s easy to see that some careless managers have no care for the safety of their workers, nor do they actively try to improve working conditions. Managers will do whatever it takes to maximise their profits by hiring cheap labour and neglecting to provide them with essential safety equipment. It’s a shameless act that should be punished.
In 2016, the construction company was found guilty in court and the charges could be extended to manslaughter. It sends a very clear message to irresponsible contractors around the world that people will not tolerate putting profits ahead of safe working conditions and the well-being of their employees, and anyone that tries to push the blame away and not take responsibility will be tried in court and their companies could face huge charges. Although people still grieve for the Moncayo family’s loss, they can be at peace knowing that justice was served.