Ryan v OSNC

Jan C. Nielsen

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Dec 12, 1999
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My sincere thanks to Senan Molony for posting the information about Thomas Ryan's court case against the Oceanic Steamship Navigation Company. I found it absolutely fascinating. Interestingly, the defense put on a whole slew of captains from various steamship lines, who attested to the lack of any negligence . . . nonetheless, the jury found for Ryan on one negligence count . . . "speed."

It would be hard not to find for the plaintiff on that.

I have only the greatest respect for Thomas Ryan, an ordinary man, who felt the wrong, and the loss of his son. Rather than sit there, and be complacent, and let OSNC spit on him, he challenged this enormously powerful company, and won. His lawyers, Campbell and Scanlan, also deserve substantial credit --- it was a tough case.

You'll note, too, who testified for the plaintiff, versus who testified for the defense. Ordinary seamen like Scarrott, testified for the plaintiff. They were credible witnesses, in my mind. Guys like Lightoller, Boxhall and Sanderson testified for the defense. That says something about the motivation of these witnesses, particularly Titanic's surviving officers.

Captain Rostron, like the captains who testified for the defense here, spoke very sympathetically to Captain Smith, in his testimony before the Senate Committee.

It's easy to see that all the steamship captains, Titanic's officers, and OSNC's management were working together in one huge self-serving effort to cover the industry's posterior.

Ryan and his lawyers' story is a very positive one. It renews your faith in people.
 

Paul Rogers

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Ryan and his lawyers' story is a very positive one. It renews your faith in people.
Apart from those "people" who happened to be either steamship captains, Titanic officers or Managers of OSNC, I assume?

I must be weird. I actually have a great deal of sympathy for the Defence as well as for Ryan.
 

Jan C. Nielsen

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Why, on earth, would you be sympathetic to marionettes working for a huge steamship company, which has all the money, resources, and expensive lawyers, to hang guys like Thomas Ryan out to dry? Have you ever been a plaintiff in a lawsuit against a big corporation? Let me tell you, it's not easy to fight guys like that. You have to have courage, tenacity, resources, and commitment. Ryan succeeded, where a lot of other people failed. The deck is very much stacked against guys like Ryan. It's not at all an even playing field. And, while from Ryan's vantagepoint, it's about the loss of his son . . . from the defense's vantagepoint, it's all about money. Any reasonable person wouldn't sympathize with the defense, in the least. Never love something, that can't love you back . . . something like a big, ugly steamship corporation.
 

Inger Sheil

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Great work from Senan there! I know we've touched on the Ryan case before on the board - I've been interested in it since I first read Marcus' discussion of it in his work. This is a very valuable contribution to Titanic studies - Ryan must have been an extraordinary individual.

I must be weird. I actually have a great deal of sympathy for the Defence as well as for Ryan.
You're not weird at all, Paul - I think you've demonstrated a sympathy to the subtleties of the case and a recognition that not all things are black and white, simplistic polarities.
You'll note, too, who testified for the plaintiff, versus who testified for the defense. Ordinary seamen like Scarrott, testified for the plaintiff. They were credible witnesses, in my mind. Guys like Lightoller, Boxhall and Sanderson testified for the defense. That says something about the motivation of these witnesses, particularly Titanic's surviving officers.
To suggest that simply because they were giving evidence on opposing sides in this case says 'something' (unspecified, but negatively implied) about the motivation of these officers demonstrates an inability to understand the navigational practices of that era, not to mention the character of the men involved. Impugning their character simply because they provided evidence for the defence is unsupportable on the evidence that we have.

The Ryan decision - that speed was unwise given the prevailing conditions - is one that few would disagree with now. The Titanic's crew were themselves victims of the practices of that era - Geoffrey Marcus wrote at some length on the Ryan decision (which has too often been ignored in studies of the disaster), and also of the prevailing practices of the time. Merchant seamen knew - and feared - the possibility of just such an accident...Frank Bullen spelled it out in 1900, when he drew attention to the pressures put on men and ships by the demand by passengers and company owners for speed and precision.

Reading through their evidence in the Ryan case as summarised, the officers gave a fairly straightforward account of their experiences. To vilify them for having done so, or to characterise them as 'marionettes', does them a gross disservice. Same with the other merchant seamen called to give evidence - they testified to what practices were at the time. To expect the men of the Titanic to deviate away from these practices is unrealistic - to condemn them for not doing so is not fair. That those system and practices were flawed is self-evident - the ship sank, didn't it? Something was clearly wrong. These men would have had their own criticisms of the way ships were navigated and what they were expected to do, as per Marcus' remarks.
Any reasonable person wouldn't sympathize with the defense, in the least.
Any reasonable person, versed in maritime practices in 1912 and with the individual characters of the officers of the Titanic, would feel profound sympathy with these men. They were in a position where they had to bear the brunt of years of worth of pressures that had affected the navigational practices aboard these ships. By a combination of circumstances, these talented, conscientous and experienced men were caught up in a nightmare situation in which the worst case scenario that so many in their profession had feared for years came to pass.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>They were in a position where they had to bear the brunt of years of worth of pressures that had affected the navigational practices aboard these ships. <<

To say nothing about ever being able to work again. There was no such thing as "the dole" that I'm aware of in that day and age, and they did have families they had to think of as well as a need to put food on the table. They also had a vested interest in cleaning up contemporary navigation practices for obvious reasons. If something went wrong, they would be the ones doing the swimming and have to explain it afterwards...if they lived to tell about it.

These twin considerations would put them in a nasty bind where a desire to make things better got in the way of a need to avoid saying too much if they wanted to buy the groceries. Hardly an enviable position for any sailor.
 

Paul Rogers

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Never love something, that can't love you back . . . something like a big, ugly steamship corporation.
Jan,

Corporations, both then and now, are made up of individuals. It is unfair, by implication, to slander those individuals simply because they choose to work for a large organisation. Perhaps it is because I work for such an organisation (and have done all my working life) that I feel sympathy for those so-called "marionettes."

I also (believe it or not) feel loyalty towards the organisation that employs me. After all, it's thanks to it (and the individuals that comprise it) that I am able to feed, clothe and support my family. This attitude, I'd admit, appears to be somewhat rare these days; so perhaps I am indeed weird.
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Inger/Michael: Excellent posts! You both summed up my unspoken thoughts perfectly regarding those testifying for the Defence. I heartily concur with everything you wrote.
 

Jan C. Nielsen

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Well, I see that my shadows have been posting around again, re-setting the record wrong after I set it right.

I just got back from a whole day of marching that was, in part, addressed at these "large organisation(s)," particularly the ones involved in oil production. When we address organizations, such as corporations, we're not talking about "individuals." For that matter, Hitler and his brownshirts were "individuals." But it is what they did when they became a collective entity, that defined them.

It should be obvious to most people that a corporation owes its allegiance to its managers, who are basically running the organization as a totalitarian entity. There is no tolerance for dissent, or contrary views. Most, if not all corporations adopt the posture: "do what we tell you to do, or quit." Secondarily, the organization owes its allegiance to a group of shareholders --- it doesn't owe anything to your family, Paul. The organization doesn't feed your family . . . You do. If you weren't worth your keep, they would drop you like a leaf. Your loyalty means nothing to them. You will learn all this at some point in your life, perhaps now, maybe in a few years. Then, finally, you won't consider yourself wierd, any more. Get a life for yourself, Paul, outside your organization. It's a bad thing to identify with a company like that. It will cost you . . . someday.

Finally, it is important to adopt my perspective on such organizations, i.e., that employees are marionettes, so that you can truly understand Titanic's story. The OSNC's and IMM's cover up, the damage control, the manipulation of the testimony, facts, the pointing of blame at others, or raising red herrings, to deflect criticism, the impact of political pressure, money and coercion to create a false picture of an event. Unless you appreciate that fundamental reality, Titanic's story will always be sort of an enigma, or seemingly fatalistic, as it was to a multitude of others, including Walter Lord.
 
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>>Well, I see that my shadows have been posting around again, re-setting the record wrong after I set it right. <<

Nope. What your "Shadows" have been doing is rebutting your arguements.

>>When we address organizations, such as corporations, we're not talking about "individuals."<<

Yes you are.

>>For that matter, Hitler and his brownshirts were "individuals." But it is what they did when they became a collective entity, that defined them.<<

And you'll notice that when the survivors were hauled into court at Nueremberg, it was on some very specific charges that were aimed at them as individuals. When they finally had their appointment with the executioner, it was because they were convicted of these specific crimes.

>>It should be obvious to most people that a corporation owes its allegiance to its managers, who are basically running the organization as a totalitarian entity.<<

Wrong. A corperation owes it's allegience to it's stockholders who have a reasonable expectation that the money they provide for capital will turn a profit on that investment.

>>There is no tolerance for dissent, or contrary views.<<

How odd...I see dissenting views all the time with the outfit that I work for. I don't see a lot of people getting canned for them. That's not to say it doesn't happen, but in any such, it's a matter of individuals interacting and coming into conflict with each other.

>>Secondarily, the organization owes its allegiance to a group of shareholders --- it doesn't owe anything to your family, Paul. The organization doesn't feed your family . . . You do. If you weren't worth your keep, they would drop you like a leaf. <<

And why is any of that a problem? A person not worth his/her keep is a liabilty. Why should any organisation, private or public, keep somebody on the payroll who's a liability? A corperation doesn't exist to further the aims of "social (Deep beatific sigh) justice." It exists to provide it's stockholders a return on the money they risk when they invest in the company. The "Social (Deep beatific sigh) Justice" angle is best left to the clergy and charitable organisations which are best suited to taking on the job.

>>Finally, it is important to adopt my perspective on such organizations, i.e., that employees are marionettes, so that you can truly understand Titanic's story.<<

As a matter of fact, it's not important to adopt your perspective on anything any more then it's "important" for anyone to adopt my perspective, Paul's perspective, or Inger's perspective, or anyone elses perspective. What is important is to take all the events in context to understand why things went down as they did. If all you do is characterize the players in terms of stereotypes and not look beyond that, you end up not understanding anything at all.

Oh...and how are the employees "Marionettes?" I seem to recall your seeing the blue collar types at least as heros.

>>The OSNC's and IMM's cover up, the damage control, the manipulation of the testimony, facts, the pointing of blame at others, or raising red herrings, to deflect criticism, the impact of political pressure, money and coercion to create a false picture of an event.<<

Well, what of it? I don't know that anyone is pretending that any of these things didn't happen. Far from it, understanding all of that is indeed, as you pointed out...part and partial to understanding the whole of the events surrounding the sinking. They do not however create a false picture of the event. They are an integral part of the whole of the drama, and I see it happening here every day.
 

Paul Rogers

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Most, if not all corporations adopt the posture: "do what we tell you to do, or quit."
Again, you seem to be giving corporate entities a character. Whilst it is true that corporates have a separate legal identity, one cannot imbue them with a personal (and apparently negative) identity or character; an organisation's "style" (for want of a better word) comes from the people it employs as well as the "management" (another word loaded with negativity from the bad old days of labour disputes).
Secondarily, the organization owes its allegiance to a group of shareholders --- it doesn't owe anything to your family, Paul. The organization doesn't feed your family . . . You do. If you weren't worth your keep, they would drop you like a leaf.
I never said it owed me anything; this is a Straw Man argument. What it does do is give to me, as I give to it. It's a symbiotic relationship. My work gives me a sense of purpose, friendship and a feeling of achievement, as well as the purely financial rewards. In return, I give it my loyalty, (as long as it doesn't clash with my personal ethical standards), my skills and my time. If I failed to keep my side of the symbiotic bargain, then I'd expect to be sacked. Likewise, I can walk away from my employers should I feel they aren't keeping their side of the bargain. Should I fall sick, my employer will provide me with generous benefits; as it will for my family should I die. Frankly, I fail to see where the problem is.
Your loyalty means nothing to them. You will learn all this at some point in your life, perhaps now, maybe in a few years. Then, finally, you won't consider yourself wierd, any more. Get a life for yourself, Paul, outside your organization. It's a bad thing to identify with a company like that. It will cost you . . . someday.
Thanks very much for the advice, Jan. I'll just pop down the shops and see if I can get myself a life. Funny; I thought I had one... For your information, and in case you thought I lived and breathed my work, I do happen to know the names of my children, I spend most evenings with my wife and I have a fairly wide variety of interests and friendships outside of work. I'll admit that I don't tend to go on demonstrations, climb St Stephen's Tower (Big Ben is the name of the bell!) or chain myself to iron railings. I also don't go around saying that the people who do these activities need to "get a life" simply because I don't see things from their Map of the World. I believe that everyone else's view of the world is equally as valid as mine, and I tend to take offence when such courtesy is not reciprocated.
Finally, it is important to adopt my perspective on such organizations, i.e., that employees are marionettes, so that you can truly understand Titanic's story.
Why is it important that I adopt your perspective on such organisations? What makes you the fount of all knowledge and wisdom on this subject? Sorry, but I feel that your statement is rather arrogant in style, even if you didn't intend it to be read that way. I feel I can "truly understand Titanic's story" from my own perspective, thanks all the same.

We are terribly off-topic now. Perhaps it's best all round if we return to the subject of the thread. In the meantime, Jan, I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree.
 
M

Mike Anderson

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I absolutely love how Jan disparages corporations, group mentality, and his/her "shadows", but then goes on to say,

"Finally, it is important to adopt my perspective on such organizations."

Anyway, the article was fantastic. Hats off to Senan Molony for putting up such an important work for us to read. It's pretty amazing how much in the way of new or more explicit testimony was in there. Granted, the different claims need to be evaluated thoroughly, given the amount of time between the sinking and the case, but overall, the case (and the article!) should prove invaluable.

A shame, though, about the lack of detail regarding Lowe's testimony. On a side note, I've got to believe the four miles claim should be taken with a grain of salt. Nothing really conclcusive about the mystery ship, but the notes about the haze were interesting.
 

Phillip Gowan

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Hmmm. I went to work for BellSouth as a very young guy while still in college. Even in my 20's in entry level jobs I had good managers with high ethical standards that taught me more than I had learned in formal education venues. In entry level positions I made decent salaries and had fantastic benefits. Along my way thru 30 years of working for them I encountered a few jerks and a few managers from H-ll but if one hung in there those people always were taken care of by and by. The 401K offerings were seemingly without equal and in the 1990's the company's stated goal was "to be the best place to work in America." Most of us in my district thought it was. Those that didn't tended to be the loafers and non-performers. This huge corporation gave me many good opportunities for advancement, paid for a Master's degree for me (entirely), matched 100% of my contributions to 401K up to 10% of my earnings, and treated me with dignity and fairness during all the years I worked for them. Thanks to the 401K investment opportunities I retired at the ripe old age of 50.

Yes, there are bad corporations just like there are bad people. And there are great corporations just like there are great people. It is up to the individual to seek out the good ones. During the years that I was a District Manager one of the biggest problems I had was finding entry level employees--even though most of the ones we hired ended up making over $30,000 per year and the best ones sometimes made $50,000 in their first year on the job and we provided ALL the training. What we looked for was potential and personality. Back in 1996 I hired a fellow in Myrtle Beach named Anthony LaRocca. He was a diamond in the rough and I kept him in my office many hours trying to point out the opportunities he would have even with just a bachelor's degree, if he would just learn to understand the mechanics of a corporation. He was one of those rare employees that listened to what his managers have to say. Recently he became one of the top level managers in New York City.

I always scratched my head when I would hear interviews with people claiming they couldn't find a job and knowing I had 5 or 6 openings at those very moments. Go figure.
 
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I know I've said it before, Jan, but I'll say it again. The reason people argue with you is because you show no humility or generosity. Actually, I think you are right to be suspicious of corporations. Not because the individual people in them are necessarily "wicked", but because the drive for shareholder value results in short-term, inhumanitarian policies. However, I'm not very sure what we could do about this, though you might be.
 
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Jan,

As usual, you're absolutely beyond reason in your last post. I'm astonished at your consistently high-handed attitude when others express an opinion of their own. Your remarks to Paul about his "getting a life" and your recommendation that we all adopt your perspective are outrageous. What a lot of bullsh*t you're ladling out here.

Jan, if you marched less and listened more, you'd be a lot better off. This is a forum for intelligent debate, not a place to demand that all see the world as you do. I'm personally sick to death of your smart-ass remarks and general ill treatment of this board's membership.

Mainly I am angered that you could say what you did to Paul. Paul has more of a life than you will likely ever have with your sorry outlook and arrogant behavior.

Randy
 

Inger Sheil

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Well, I see that my shadows have been posting around again, re-setting the record wrong after I set it right.
This comment reveals a tremendous amount about how Jan views dissent and academic debate. There is an extraordinarily arrogant assumption that he has 'set the record straight', (i.e., that differing interpretations are inherently incorrect) followed with disparagement of those who, as Michael points out, rebut his arguments. This is a form of academic fascism.
I just got back from a whole day of marching that was, in part, addressed at these "large organisation(s)," particularly the ones involved in oil production. When we address organizations, such as corporations, we're not talking about "individuals."
We are talking about individuals - reducing individual lives to a faceless, monolithic entity by is a way of dehumanising them and demonising them. How could Harold Lowe, who wasn't afraid to talk about Ismay's conduct during the lifeboat, be steamrolled into a corporate identity? And why should all companies and all individuals be lumped together and roundly condemned simply by virtue of the size of the business? This makes as little sense, or shows as much lack of understanding, as those who would roundly condemn every single lawyer, barrister and judge as avaricious sharks of the legal system, or every self-defined crusading lawyer as a self-serving publicity seeker.
Your loyalty means nothing to them. You will learn all this at some point in your life, perhaps now, maybe in a few years. Then, finally, you won't consider yourself wierd, any more. Get a life for yourself, Paul, outside your organization. It's a bad thing to identify with a company like that. It will cost you . . . someday.
You have done Paul a great disservice. You know nothing of the circumstances of Paul’s employment — I doubt you even know the name of the company he works for — and yet you glibly assume to pass judgement on not only his relationship with the organisation, but also by extension his life as a whole. The admonishment to ‘get a life for yourself, Paul, outside your organization’ is arrogant and patronising.
It should be obvious to most people that a corporation owes its allegiance to its managers, who are basically running the organization as a totalitarian entity. There is no tolerance for dissent, or contrary views.
If that were true, Harold Lowe wouldn’t have felt free to tell the world about his exchange with Bruce Ismay.
Finally, it is important to adopt my perspective on such organizations, i.e., that employees are marionettes, so that you can truly understand Titanic's story.
The sheer bullying arrogance of the demand that everyone adopt your perspective on such organizations as a necessity is something I reject entirely. I suggest that it is important for you to develop a greater appreciation for the professional and historical milieu in which these men, whom you are attempting to reduce to a faceless cipher, lived and worked in.
The OSNC's and IMM's cover up, the damage control, the manipulation of the testimony, facts, the pointing of blame at others, or raising red herrings, to deflect criticism, the impact of political pressure, money and coercion to create a false picture of an event.
In your blanket condemnation of the Titanic’s officers you have yet to point out where, exactly, these men gave evidence that fitted into the corporate conspiracy that you propose. You’re speaking in vague generalities, blasting their characters and integrity simply because they testified, without any specific reference to what in their testimony in the Ryan case you find so objectionable.
Unless you appreciate that fundamental reality, Titanic's story will always be sort of an enigma, or seemingly fatalistic, as it was to a multitude of others, including Walter Lord.
The Titanic disaster is not a ‘sort of an enigma’ to me — it is an entirely explicable series of events, when viewed within the context of maritime practices of the era and human fallibility. I don’t need to resort to adopt your socio-political world view in order to interpret these events, and your reductive polarities (e.g. big bad corporations v. the ‘little battler’) do not accord with my interpretation. I have every right to apply my own research and critical faculties to arriving at that interpretation, and will not brook attempts to rhetorically bully me into accepting anyone else’s interpretation.
 

Jan C. Nielsen

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So now that you all have insulted me, lashed back, and gotten that off your chests, let's get back to the main thrust here. Thomas Ryan and his lawyer had a lot of courage to take on OSNC. So long as all of you equivocate on that, act sympathetic to captains, officers, corporations, and steamship company management, you're really missing the point, and making a monkey out of him. Ryan is a cut way above all these other guys, and in particular, way above the other company "marionettes," in my mind . . . he deserves recognition for what he accomplished. People like Ryan set the standards, they're heroes . . . without them, our society (already too complacent as it is) would be much worse off. I'm sorry, no offense, Paul, but otherwise we'd be like you . . . nothing controversial, working, believing in the goodness of corporations and managers. Those kind of people, and people like the officers on the Titanic, don't set any standards. People like Ryan do. You can only push a guy like Ryan so far, and then he pushes back. So, you members can have all your other guys in this story, including Boxhall, Lightoller, Smith and Rostron, Ismay and Sanderson . . . I'll take Ryan (and Campbell and Scanlan) for myself. In my mind, understanding a guy like Ryan --- what he is and what the others in this story aren't --- is central to understanding what really happened with the Titanic disaster.
 

Inger Sheil

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So now that you all have insulted me, lashed back, and gotten that off your chests, let's get back to the main thrust here.
Posturing as the wounded party in this scenario doesn't wash, Jan. You initiated the tone of this exchange, and have gratuitously insulted the participants in this discussion. You are not the injured party.
Thomas Ryan and his lawyer had a lot of courage to take on OSNC.So long as all of you equivocate on that, act sympathetic to captains, officers, corporations, and steamship company management, you're really missing the point, and making a monkey out of him.
No one here has equivocated on Ryan's heroism. In point of fact, if you were to go through the archives of this board you would find that I long ago raised the Ryan case and discussed it.

We are not 'making a monkey' out of Ryan. I have nothing but respect for him. You, however, have disparaged and vilified decent, honourable men - the officers of RMS Titanic - with no better justification than that they gave evidence in this case. You have yet to identify what exactly it is that you find so objectionable in their testimony in the Ryan case, other than the fact that they gave evidence at all.
Ryan is a cut way above all these other guys, and in particular, way above the other company "marionettes," in my mind . . . he deserves recognition for what he accomplished. People like Ryan set the standards, they're heroes . . . without them, our society (already too complacent as it is) would be much worse off.
Apples and oranges (and a few pears). I do not see this as an either/or situation. As is so often the case in history, I can feel deeply sympathetic to more than one side of a case. In this instance, I believe the circumstances warrant sympathy with both sides.

Without men possessing the personal courage of the Titanic's officers - those that lived and those that perished - we would be worse off.
I'm sorry, no offense, Paul, but otherwise we'd be like you . . . nothing controversial, working, believing in the goodness of corporations and managers. Those kind of people, and people like the officers on the Titanic, don't set any standards.
I don't know whether Paul will take offence at your characterisation of him here, but I know that I most certainly do. I've come to know Paul, and there is a reason why he is regarded as a decent, reasonable, thoughtful contributer and a kind man. If there's a choice between being like Paul, or being a self-constructed, self-satisfied would-be crusader who resorts to attacking him as you have just done, I'd rather be like Paul any day. Paul, and the others who have posted in this thread, have demonstrated an understanding that jingoistic polemical rhetoric about goodies and baddies is not the way to understand the real dynamics of the situation - and the individuals involved.
So, you members can have all your other guys in this story, including Boxhall, Lightoller, Smith and Rostron, Ismay and Sanderson . . . I'll take Ryan (and Campbell and Scanlan) for myself.
Ryan is not yours to take.

It is not as simple as divving up the participants - no matter how hard you try to make it that simple. You cannot have Ryan 'for yourself' - not when people others can respect both him and the merchant seaman who were also victims of this system.
In my mind, understanding a guy like Ryan --- what he is and what the others in this story aren't --- is central to understanding what really happened with the Titanic disaster.
You do not have a monopoly on understanding and interpreting Ryan's role in the Titanic story - others have their own interpretations and perspectives, which can and do differ from yours. I don't feel the need to whack black or white cowboy hats on the players in this story, as I know that neither history nor humanity itself can be reduced like that.

Some people in 1912 saw it that way as well - it's why someone like Rene Harris, who had a white-hot fury at the failings of the WSL, could also admire Harold Lowe and many years later characterise him as one of the finest men she had ever met.
 
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After re-scanning this thread I find it follows the usual pattern:
Jan strikes attitude of moral superiority /
Others reply quite politely with their views /
Jan patronises and insults all and sundry /
Angry responses by others /
Jan claims to have been insulted and re-strikes attitude of moral superiority .....
and the whole thing starts again, presumably much to Jan's gratification. We shouldn't cooperate with this attention-seeking device,as our behaviour is enabling. At the slightest whiff of any Jan-the-Giantkiller stuff, we should all stay serene .... and totally ignore his posts. Frankly, his posts should come with a health warning, so I'm going to give this strategy a go.
 

Paul Rogers

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People like Ryan set the standards, they're heroes . . . without them, our society (already too complacent as it is) would be much worse off. I'm sorry, no offense, Paul, but otherwise we'd be like you . . . nothing controversial, working, believing in the goodness of corporations and managers. Those kind of people, and people like the officers on the Titanic, don't set any standards. People like Ryan do.
In summary, a man who has never met me and knows next to nothing about me has assumed the following regarding my character:

1. I am complacent
2. I am not controversial
3. I work (!)
4. I believe in the goodness of corporations and managers
5. I don't set standards

I'll admit that at least one of Jan's assumptions is correct! I will admit also to being very tempted to respond with a few choice assumptions myself regarding Jan's character. On reflection, however, I'm going to take Monica's advice.

Thanks, Inger, for your kind words BTW.
 

Dave Gittins

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Getting back on topic, one thing that strikes me about both the civil trial and the two inquiries is that Lightoller never seems to have realised that his testimony was very damaging to White Star. All his talk of the calm sea, the possibility of a black or blue berg and so forth did not provide White Star with a way out. On the contrary, it showed that Titanic's officers were aware of possible danger. They then did next to nothing to avoid it. They covered the lights forward of the bridge. Heck, I do that routinely when sailing at night. I'm not surprised that White Star let Lightoller go so casually.

White Star cut it very fine in the civil court. The plaintiffs were saved by the invalid contract tickets. In the Court of Appeal, one judge wanted a re-trial, because he saw defects in Justice Bailhache's summing up.

I mentioned on another thread that there is an error towards the end of Senan's article. The case never went to the House of Lords. The decision of the Court of Appeal was handed down by Lord Justice Sir Roland Vaughan Williams. The "Lord" merely indicates his status as a Justice of the Court of Appeal. For non-British readers I might also mention that Lord Mersey was really a lord (baron). However, he would have been addressed in court as "My Lord" in any case, because of his status as a judge.
 

Jan C. Nielsen

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The point is, Paul, there's a complacent personality type out there . . . whether you fit the bill, or not, doesn't really matter to me. But I think that personalities, and underlying motivations of persons, and this "marionette" mentality is really key to understanding the Titanic disaster, particularly its aftermath. And, if you can think of a "few choice assumptions" about me that haven't already been mentioned, then speak your mind . . . don't be so complacent, or noncontroversial.