Saturday, April 14, 2007

Jon Corzine

I expressed my amazement in my last post, that Jon Corzine, the governor of New Jersey, should have been riding in a vehicle without a seat belt, which decision led to his current hospitalization. I find myself musing over this incident. We are told not to "blame the victim." In the case of a woman who has been raped, I fully agree. In Mr. Corzine's case, however, his current state of health is a direct result of a decision that he made, presumably, all by himself. I don't, he must have thought, need a seat belt for this short trip.

Jon Corzine is not a stupid man. He's been highly successful: a banker; an investment banker (believe me, not the same breed), the CEO of Goldman Sachs; a U.S. Senator. The only conclusion I can draw here is that he was convinced "it can't happen to me," even though he was riding in the front passenger seat, sometimes called "the death seat." The facts clearly indicate he was wrong.

Assigning blame is pointless; Mr. Corzine's present physical state is ample, possibly excessive, punishment for his lapse in judgment. I do wonder about the police driver of that vehicle, however. It's too bad he didn't have the cojones to make the simple statement, "I'm sorry, Governor, I can't start this car until everyone has buckled up." I regularly make that statement myself, when carrying passengers. Apparently he either didn't notice that his passenger wasn't secured, or didn't have the temerity to challenge him.

The latest ABC News article on the incident suggests that the vehicle's air bags may not have deployed. I'm not sure I believe that. This was Gov. Corzine's normal secure transport, chosen for protection. For all the jokes about New Jersey, one assumes the governor's security detail takes care of the car that protects his, and their, lives. But the Philadelphia Inquirer points out that the 2005 Suburban doesn't have side-impact air bags.

Whatever happened (and I'm sure we'll be reading follow-on articles for weeks yet), I've seldom seen such a clear case of cause and effect. It's not as though we haven't known for 50 years that seat belts protect passengers in a crash, even without air bags.

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