THE TITANIC CRIME
THE TITANIC CRIME
The judgment of the world upon the shortsightedness, the moral manners, the criminal carelessness of the White Star Company in its failure to provide lifeboats sufficient to transport its passengers from a sinking ship should be crushing and exemplary.
In a calm sea, a gigantic steamship, freighted with thousands of lives, sinks slowly down. There is time and opportunity to carry off from the ship as many peple as the lifeboats will hold.
BUT THE LIFEBOATS WILL HOLD ONLY A FEW MORE THAN A QUARTER OF THE NUMBER OF MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN WHO HAVE COMMITTED THEMSELVES TO THE CARE OF THE STEAMSHIP COMPANY!
What a satire of modern civilisation! What irony of mechanical progress! From our four quarters of the horizon the ships of many destinations turn in thier courses and rush in response to the whisper of miraculous "wireless" to save the people on the stricken Titanic. But it is impossible to save them. No means have been provided for keeping the people afloat for a single precious hour.
This Titanic was the last cry and the faultless reach in the sceince and art of ship building . It was supposed to be irreproachable and incomparable. It was equipped with all the luxuries and sumptuosities of modern travel. BUT THE PRIME NECESSARY OF LIFE WAS LACKING . No means were provided whereby the 3,200 people might survive for a few hours an accident such as that which actually took place - an accident of the commonest and least avoidable kind.
The dispaches say that all the lifeboats of the Titanic are fully accounted for; that the means of escape that were provided were used to the fullest capacity. All was done successfully that the management company could have hoped for in such an emergency. THE AWFUL WASTE OF LIFE WAS PART OF THE PROGRAMME THAT MUST HAVE BEEN CALCULATED AND FORESEEN AS THE CONCOMITANT OF SUCH AN ACCIDENT .
The company simply took the risk. They staked the lives of passengers and crew on the chance that that kind of accident would not happen.
The Bureau of Inspection of Steam Vessels at this point gives statistics concerning the life-saving apparatus of the Olympic, the sister ship of the Titanic - almost identical with the Titanic incapacity and equipment. It appears from these figures that the thoery of the company was that lifeboat accommodation should be provided for one person in three of those on board. It appears that in actual fact lifeboat accommodation WAS provided for about one in six of the number that MIGHT HAVE BEEN on board the Titanic and for about one in four of those actually were onbaord the Titanic.
The White Star Company may have such consolation as they can get from that fact that OTHER STEAMSHIP COMPANIES ARE EQUALLY GUILTY . It seems indeed to be the settled custom of reckless parsimony in the transatlantic passenger service to provide life-saving apparatus for only a minor fraction of the peple who commit themselves to the mercies of the steamship corporations.
It is a kind of shallow fiction to say that - as is often said in extenuation of this great wrong - it is mechanically impracticable for a big liner to carry lifeboats enough in a manner convenent for speedy launching. The truth is, of course, simply that the inventive ingenuity of marine architects has not been applied to this problem. A thousand varieties of portable and collapsible lifeboats could easily be devised if the steamship companines were willing to pay for them.
It is a kind of gambler's spirit that rules in this matter. The steamship companies, in thier hurry for the last increment of dividands lie under the illusion that the inevitable disaster will always strike elsewhere than upon thier own greed and folly.
They stake the livs of travellers on their own anticipated luck. They invest money readily enough in every refinement of cookery in every device of obvious elegance and ease. THESE INVESTMENTS PAY QUICK DIVIDENDS IN THE SHAPE OF EXTRAVAGANT PASSENGER FARES . But it is supposed that passengers will not notice the lack of absolute NECESSARIES OF LIFE .
Henceforth The Evening Journal is determined that people who cross the Atlantic from New York SHALL NOTICE THIS LACK . There must be reform in this matter. and it must be immediate. Americans should refuse hereafter to take passage on ships that contain only facilites for death and destruction - in case of contact with an iceberg.
The reform should be enforced by law - under the severest penalties.
As matters stand, the great liners that come into this port carry the British flag, are subject only to the regulations of the British Board of Trade in regard to their life-saving equipment.
THE AWFUL EVENT OF YESTURDAY PROVES THAT THE BRITISH BOARD OF TRADE DOES NOT KNOW ITS BUSINESS.
It becomes necessary for the law to of the United States to intervene for the protection of the people of the United States that sail the seas.
THE FEDERAL AUTHORITES SHOULD WITHOUT LOSS OF FACE IMPOSE NEW REGULATIONS UPON BRITISH SHIPS AND ALL OTHER SHIPS ENTERING AMERICAN PORTS - REGULATIONS THAT WOULD MAKE THE LIFE-SAVING EQUIPMENT OF EVERY SHIP SUIT THE NUMBERS OF THE PASSENGERS AND CREW .
This is not a thing to discuss and dispute about - and forget. It is a thing to DO RIGHT NOW, WHILE THE SHADOW OF THIS TERRIFIC WARNING LIES OVER ALL THE LAND.
NO SEA GOING VESSEL SHOULD BE PERMITTED TO CLEAR FROM AN AMERICAN PORT WITHOUT BEING PROVIDED WITH LIFE-SAVING APPLIENCES OF SUCH CHARACTER THAT ALL THE SHIP'S COMPANY MIGHT HOPE TO LIVE AFLOAT FOR DAYS EVEN IF THE SHIP WENT DOWN - AS THE TITANIC DID - IN A QUIET SEA .
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