Thanks for the update Bill. The Supreme Court huh? Well if it gets that far, it would be a news sensation. Gee, Ismay's getting his wish even to this day. Titanic continues to make headlines. (Be careful what you wish for.)
The US system was based on a checks and balances system. The Judicial Branch oversees itself and the Legislative and Executive Branches and vice versa between the three branches.
The Supreme Court therefore handles cases that set a precedent either in the rules of law, judicial decisions or executive decision. They generally do not take cases that merely disagree with an outcome of a lower court unless some sort of fowl can be claimed or the case decision has set some sort of precedent or the aggrieved party feels that some sort of precedent needs to be set.
For example, the Supreme Court was not called in to decide a limited liability case back in the Titanic period, it was called in to make a decision due to the precedent of many nations passengers on a British ship owned by Americans that had not hit another ship, but an iceberg. There was no previous precedent on which the lower court could base its decision, so it sent it to the higher court.
But a lower court can make a decision that an individual may feel sets a precedent and they may call it to question to the higher court.
Abortions are an example of that. Whether one is for or against it, the basic fact was that the rights for someone who was not issued a social security card, did not have medical insurance or death coverage was now being given rights. That set a precedent and that precedent was challenged.
So it appears to me that early on the lower court in the artifacts case made a decision that did in fact set a precedent regarding salvage. Before Titanic, no salvage was limited to being contained within a single collection. But what was it that made the court make this decision? If I am not mistaken, the salvage folks requested that the artifacts be kept as one collection and available for display or some such thing. And that this was in fact requested by the salvage folks themselves. Therefore the ownership issue was never addressed and it is not clear to me who the owners of Titanic artifacts are. It seems to be that whoever the first finder was that they have ownership based on what I have read. Which is not all of the data by any means. And i am sure there are better experts than me here.
If what, 8 years ago, the artifact folks had gone to the Supreme Court to argue the decision, perhaps there would be a case. But this is a tough one. Yes, there was a precedent setting action at one time, but the part I find hard to understand is the fact that the folks requesting the salvage rights established the no selling unless to one agreement a long time ago when the lower court decision was first established and now they expect to go to the Supreme Court to fight their own request?
I think that I am confused. And as busy as the Justices are these days, I would guess that they may laugh quietly in their chambers, but this appears to be something that they really would not even consider.
But as I said I am no expert.
I have to admit, I saw an article in the paper a while ago regarding the Smithsonian gathering parts of the plane that went through the WTC and a burned fire truck door and I suddenly felt ill. They have acquired many relics and will save them for display. I know that some of this is a necessary evil. I have gone to the exhibits and they are wonderful.
So, I am torn, is it history? All I know is that my heart goes out to the families of the victims to see all of this arguing over all of this.
What I found even more disheartening was the $400,000 some odd that a renowned aution firm sold the original ( w/negative ) photograph of the flag raising by firemen just days after the unspeakable horrors of 11 Sept.
I try so hard to put that behind me... yet I think I never will. :-(
In my opinion there are different camps, all with very emotional issues here.
There are survivors who are still living. Eva Hart had said that she hoped that it would never come to disturbing the sight. How many living survivors feel this way? The Haismann family was able to be given a pocketwatch. Perhaps they see it as an opportunity for loved ones to be reunited with loved ones through a personal possession. My mom died and left a container of unused yarn. Her mother took the yarn and made a colorful afghan for me with it. When my grandmother died, all I have of her is that afghan and a silly apron we made cookies with when I was very young. My relatives were not lost in any tradegy. But having a little keepsake simply keeps them and my memories close.
But if my grandmother were famous, would seeing or knowing that folks on eBay or some such thing were haggling over the afghan and apron and paying 400,000 USD to own them fire me up? For me, no. Maybe others it would validate my grandmother's worth to society or something. Who knows.
But there is another camp, one of people who faithfully invested in Titanic as a treasure trove of historical artifacts in order to preserve them for people of tomorrow and they now stand to lose their investments.
Rules of Law are often not very clear to people who do not deal with them adn just as many are not clear on why the Limited Liability went to the Supreme Court, I feel that there was not complete understanding of ultimate future impact of the choice that was made in 1994. Negligence? Maybe not. Maybe it was simply oversight or because of its precedent setting, total understanding of what was being laid out as the Rules of Law were not clearly understood by the parties involved. Investors or the management of the firm. I would even venture a guess that even the legal representation were not clear on what had just transpired.
So based on that lack of clarity of the Rules of Law here when that initial decision was made, they may have a right to go forward to the Supreme Court. I am just not a lawyer and do not know all the "Stuff" that goes with all of this.
But that is not all. There is another camp. Mariners. Seaman. Crew. Lost at sea. Ballard said once that if he were shipwrecked that he would always hope that the other captain would go the extra mile to save him. But I also think that he has expressed his feeling that the wreck was a grave. Most people of the sea would hope that their remains would be respected and left as is.
Who is right? Who is wrong? I am not sure that a single solution will be decided in our lifetimes.
But Michael, I could not agree with you more, I too try really hard to put all of this behind me, but I too probably never will.
In regards to Titanic, the exhibits of artifacts and Titanic is excellent. It is extremely educational for all sorts, ages and backgrounds.
My hope is that if the salvage group needs to collect on their salvage expenses and that the owner is determined and that the artifacts need to be sold that they are sold to someone with a love of Titanic and a desire to share their collection with the world within a permanent venue. Where that venue is...that is for another debate perhaps.
However, I have pretty much exhausted my feelings on the salvage issue via TITANIC.DISCUSS (Taylor) and TITANIC.LISTBOX.(New man) over the last decade or so, I can sparsely sum up my feelings with you.
In my eyes the recovered papable remains from the wreck of the S.S. TITANIC stand as silent witness to an event exemplifying mankind's ultimate frailty. To ponder at, so as to muster the sorrow which they evidently will forever convey, is answer enough alone to have reclaimed these captured pieces from the unforgiving sea.
And however, in museums located around the world you will also find sorrowful tangible remnants of a *horror* conceived from the very thoughts of this same mankind...I am referring to the implements of WAR, (A vast array of these WAR weapons are berthed in a solemn environment at our State Capitol Museum here in Carson City) and the repercussions that surround us in our daily lives. Repercussions of this thing called WAR which devoure everthing in it's path!
I can really find no principle difference in the powerful sadness which both represent. So with this, we as caretakers of said (TITANIC) legacy should hold in our hands these precious artefacts, embracing the memory of those lost, and as loving caring human beings, institute everything in our power to never allow such a pitiful event as that of the sinking of the S.S. TITANIC to ever take place again...
I find it so unnerving how blind some can be toward a tragedy as that of the TITANIC or TWIN TOWERS. Yet, maybe they have never experienced the excruciating hurt that accompanies the loss of a loved one...cut down in the prime of their life...
Michael, you have apparently lost a great deal in your life and I fully understand and feel your pain.
Try watching faces of people pressed against windows trying to reach for help from a distant located cam camera. Helpless to do anything.
Two people from where I work, one still worked and one retired to work in the WTC, died going in saving people. A service was held the active employee has his name engraved in a wall. Some have lost family. One I know well has whole neighborhoods that were impacted with severe losses. How does one cope with that? They go to the wall and they place their hands on the etched name and cry as they feel each letter of the name along side many others.
The impact of WTC was hard on many people. People did not speak for weeks, months, on the subway to work. It was rather like a night of the living zombies movie than a big tourist spot. Even work was silent. Only recently have things seemed to be near "normal".
If one was there, they ask only one question if they survived, " ask why me?" Or better yet, "why not me?"
In regards to Titanic, people in those boats, they will never forget the images that no matter what they did that they as individual often had no way to help anyone. They saw and heard people that died and they were helpless to help in many cases. Frankie Goldsmith and the baseball games that reminded him of the sinking. He probably asked, why me? Why did I live?
I still say that the one thing from Titanic Cameron movie I will never forget was old Rose, "sat in the boats waiting to live, waiting to die, waiting for an absolution that would never come." I think that is where some folks are with WTC.
But you are right, people need to remember and have places to remind them. For me, it is too soon. In November 2001 I went on a trip to get away and I did not speak of September at all the entire time. Even writing this wells my eyes up with tears that I pray at some point go away. I think 28 people in my neighborhood were lost. And there are arguments over naming schools or not naming schools after people for their heroism. It is really sad to me.
What must Southampton and other places have been like who lost many on Titanic that were also the breadwinners?
I enjoyed the exhibits very much about the Titanic. The one I attended was in Baltimore and it was extremely educational. It was not just the display of tasteless stuff that belonged to other people. It was a scientific display of rusticles, ship models there were three that I noted. Things for kids to understand things. Steel and information on it. It definitely was worth what I paid to get in.
my only wish is that it was in a permanent place where one can just sit and read and look and write up things, like at the National Gallery of Art one can sit and study a piece of art for an entire day.
Our Smithsonian is free and unless it is a special exhibit has no time limit. Perhaps there is some way that somewhere someone will provide a home for the artifacts and perhaps a memorial to those who were lost.
I know that this is a very hard issue for you Michael. No need to express them here for me to be clear where you are on this issue.
The scene from Cameron's Titanic which had the deepest impact on me...when Chas. Lightoller was forced to draw his weapon...the all too aware passengers on the fringe of panic. That character portrayal of "Lights" submitted by Cameron was epic!
In regards to Frankie Goldsmith...one of my most cherished possesions is a WHITE STAR LINE menu (Cedric or Celtic, can't recall at this moment) listing Frankie and his Mother on-board during a July 1913 crossing...
Sorry this is so brief...I am pulling seven-tens...
RMST, Inc. issued its annual report on June 18, 2002. It states that the company is going ahead with obtaining an award for its salvor's lien. Additionally, the company mentioned that if the award is inadequate, the Court may, in its discretion, award them title to the artifacts.