The role of the mediaWhat if Titanic had happened in 2001


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Kyrila Scully

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Perhaps if Bruce Ismay had learned how to stand up to his tyrannical father instead of cowering in his shadow, he might have taken a different course the night the Titanic sank. We'll never know. This is not a negative judgment of the man, but an observation that he had not developed a strong spine to be bold when push came to shove. Under those circumstances, it's no wonder he chose the lifeboat. He may have been fearful of meeting his father on the other side.
 
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steve b

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I thank Micheal for backing up my previous point just a little, he better explained what i was trying to say with my own words. I guess another thing worth considering when speaking of Mr Ismay is to remember the times in which he was born and raised. If memory serves me, he was born right in the end of or just post civil war. Now keep in mind i have no factual basis to back this up, only observations of what ive learned in studying history. But that was the way a man had to be in that day and age to be strong and survive. To a degree you had to be rather ruthless. In terms of providing for your family as well as yourself, it was dog eat dog in that age. so maybe that would help to explain some of his fathers tyranical nature. Ill still hold true my original point, which was to say that the man at that point in time was in a world we could never begin to comprehend. Everyone on that boat was. Think about it. A lot of the people werent even takling the sinking seriously at first, and when it became apparent that it was real, these people maybe had an hour to make life and death decisions as life was being lost all around them? Yes there was many heroic and gallant efforts made that night, some heroicism so brave i doubt the world will ever see the likes of it again. But for some it brought about an utter state of confusion and loss of rational thinking. Ismay very well could have that. Finally id like to comment on the loss of the society of the day. I think this is part of the reason that people become enamoured with this subject, because in a lot of ways Titanic also represented the loss of an age of innocense, something the world never recovered back from. Some may point to it as the start of the very deep and fast spiral downward we are in of morals that permeates the world. It was an age where peopel repsected people, and i dont think we are ever going to see it come back. Society has changed in the 90 years that have passed, and sadly theres no turning back the clock. I sincerely worry what the world will be like if i ever have kids or grandkids. Sometimes i think it better not to have them at all, because im not sure id want them exposed to the ills of todays society..Sorry for the ran
 

Tracy Smith

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In many ways, there was no such thing as "the good old days." People didn't respect all people: blacks, other minorities, Jews, women, and so on were all expected to "know their place" and if they wanted something different than what society assigned to them, too bad. The good old days weren't the good old days for everybody.

So far as the "women and children" thing goes, there is something that makes me quite uneasy at the idea of rational, intelligent adult women being considered as helpless as children and no more responsible for themselves. And, of course, this women being grouped with children didn't count for a whole lot if you happened to be a third class passenger.

Also, in a society where there were very little opportunities for a woman alone to support herself and her children, the men weren't doing them any favors by making them widows. Like I said above, if any group was to have precedence, it should have been families with small children
 

Kris Muhvic

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Jul 3, 2001
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Kyrila,
I agree with your response, I just hope you did not think I was making a justification for any callous behavior. I do find, as I believe you also do, aspects of today's culture appalling-take for example cell phone talkers in resturaunts and theatres! makes my blood boil!
I was only trying to explain the internal struggles that those on Titanic had to deal with, or any traumatic expierience for that matter.
However, as some have mentioned earlier, it was also a time of great parodoxes. Take the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911 for a reference, not much gallantry happening there. There was all the wonderful civility and decorum back then, which yes, is sadly missed today. But there was also the brutal, expliotive practices that for so long were tolerated. Thinking of that, I feel that we lost some truly great things over the generations, but did we not gain a few in return?
I do not wish you to see my post as some sort of challenge (remember- the wuss here
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Kindly yours-
Kris
 
Apr 7, 2001
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Michael,

If the crew were trained well enough, than the boats would have been loaded FULL. Having the boats half full would indicate to ME that the crew did not perform their duties as well as they should have. More control should have taken place with the passengers and the crew should have ORDERED them into the boats. That would have been the more expected behavior of a crewman.

I remember reading on one of the older threads that the crew were NOT well trained. I myself haven't done enough research on crew members to make a solid judgement as to whether they were well trained or not so I'll leave that open for conjecture.

It is true that Mr. Ismay found himself in a situation that he was far from expecting to happen and was not equipped to deal with. I am sure that once Mr. Ismay found out the ship was ill-fated, he had gone into shock and assisted loading the boats out of pure helplessness. There was nothing more this man could do but help. And help he did.

Kyrila,

Mr. Ismay's father was not a man to be stood up to by anyone. Mr. Ismay respected his father for the shrewd businessman he was. Whether Mr. Ismay's father was tyrannical in nature or not, he taught Mr. Ismay the cunning business practices he carried on with White Star. And his father should be commended for the admirable job of turning around a hopeless business into something successful. Mr. Ismay's father also taught him strength, endurance and determination. These were qualities that were needed to run a large successful shipping line such as White Star.

The comment of being fearful of meeting his father on the other side was a cold-hearted statement in my opinion and that would be an utterly ridiculous reason to jump into a lifeboat, don't you think?
 

Kate Bortner

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Teri, I was wondering if your statement that the lifeboats were not filled to capacity DUE to the crew's lack of training, can be backed up with fact, equating the two. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as if you've alined two facts to equal an answer and I'm not sure that the latter situation can be sited as a reason for the low number of persons in the early boats. From everything I've read, the early boats had low occupancy because the passengers who had made it to deck by that time were reluctant to get into the boats. They felt safer in the warmth of the big ship rather than tempt the unknown in a small boat on the cold ocean. Add into that the social mores of the time of politeness and the crew's training of allowing the passengers (especially 1st class passengers)their "way", I find it difficult to attribute the low occupancy in the early lifeboats to lack of training. AND if the crew's orders were "women and children" then a good crew member--who was TRAINED to follow orders--might not have had the presence of mind to disobey and just shove bodies into the life boats. I think there were MANY reasons the boats left half full, or less(hello, Duff Gordons? Just joshing, Randy!) Life was different back then. Being "an honorable gentleman" was an Anglo-expectation. Gentlemen of this time were big into duty and allowing the women to go first was as knee-jerk as opening the door for them. (keep in mind we've drifted into the area of "my opinion", here
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IMHO, it's hard to judge actions made by people 90 years ago without looking at how they viewed life. (note: I do not think anyone here is NOT doing that; I just wanted to weigh in)

Just some thoughts. Teri and all, if there is some documentation that these two things are related, I'll all up for the education. Thanks.
-kate.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hi Teri, sorry if I seemed to have rubbed you the wrong way on the matter of crew training. However, it has to be pointed out that good or bad, they had it while Ismay simply did not. Could it have been better? Absolutely yes! Lots of shortcuts were taken in that day and age, and not just by the Titanic. Unfortunately, it was the Titanic that got burned when the chickens of complacency came home to roost.

On the question of the boat loading, you may find reading Lightoller's testimony illuminating in this matter. (Go to the Titanic Inquiry Project site and read his Senate testimony for yourself.) He was of the opinion that loading the boats to capacity would be to risk having them collapse under the weight.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Apr 7, 2001
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Michael,

Whatever Lightoller's testimony was, those lifeboats were brand new so they couldn't have fallen apart that quickly and with that much ease.

Kate,

When I stated the crew should have commanded their passengers more thoroughly I was stating my own observation of the matter. They were given a job to do and did not do it correctly. If some refused to get in, fine. There were plenty of other passengers aboard that ship that should have been made to get in, had they COMMANDED the ship as they were expected to do. THAT was a part of their jobs - to assist the passengers. There's no if's about a duty to your passengers. It does not matter what year it is, the job is the same, to assist your passengers. Assist those passengers and as many as possible. A very stern crewmember might have made a big difference.

My gut feeling is that is what happened to Mr. Ismay: At first he was quite reluctant to get into the lifeboat. But after being insisted by a crewmember to get in, he finally got in. That crewmemeber played his part of being stern. All of the crewmembers should have behaved that same way when loading the passengers. You don't back down to the passengers just because they're first class. At the time of the loading of lifeboats drinks were not being served, lives were being saved. It's time to behave as a saving officer would, to command those passengers, not bow down to the first class whims and whimsicals. I can imagine how they might have been with their fluffs and cuffs, but like I said, we're saving lives here not serving drinks.

That is what I have to say about loading the lifeboats half full.

Teri
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hi Teri, the newness of the boats wasn't the real issue. The concern was whether or not they had the strength to hold the weight 65+ people while suspended in the falls. This isn't a real concern once it's in the water as the water...as with any boat or ship...actually serves to support the weight of the structure.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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steve b

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Micheal, just a question, but how would those boats have held up had the weather taken a sudden turn for the worse? Looking at the depictions of them i really wonder how they would hgave held up against rough seas, not to mention a torrential rainfall and high winds. I do know it was April and storms of major magnitude in that area that time of year are unlikely, but if that had not happened, you worry about the safety should something like that occur, especially when the calender says the start of ther Atlantic hurricane season was about a month away. I have no facts on this,thats why i
 
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Michael,

Wouldn't holding up passengers in the falls then go under the designing of the davits/boats? Seems to me on a ship such as Titanic, all possible scenarios should have been considered when creating lifeboats.

Teri
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Steve, you're absolutely right about the sheer unpredictable nastiness of the weather in the Atlantic. Had things blown up, those people would have been in very deep doodoo. The boats probably would have remained afloat had they not broken up. I understand they had sealed tanks filled with air to maintain boyancy in either end. (I recall reading something about this on the Titanic Researchers and Modeling Association website). Whether or not this is true, that doesn't mean any of the survivors aboard would have made it along for the ride. Waves have a funny habit of taking people along with them whether they want to go or not.

Teri, I have good reason to beleive that the weight of a fully loaded boat did occur to Harland and Wolff. The trouble is that the Titanic's crew weren't in on the communications loop on that one. All Lights could go by was his own practical experience. This failure to make certain that everybody knew what they should have was but one in a very long string of mistakes and oversights which ultimately killed 1500 people.

All possible scenerios should have been considered in a lot of things...like what do you do if five or more compartments are open to the sea? (Besides sink!!!) We can see this in hindsight, but that thought didn't occur to anybody. What we learned about in the comfort of our own studies, they learned about the hard way.
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Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
May 8, 2001
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HI all!
I'm in the middle of reading Eva Harts book "Shadow of the Titanic" and she stated that there was a nasty storm that occured the next day and had they not been rescued as soon as they were, they would have most likely perished. Colleen
 
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Michael,

After pondering the matter further, I'm sorry but this idea of being fearful that the boats would collapse after having been loaded to capacity is an unfit excuse for not filling them to full capacity. I just can't accept that. Mr. Ismay spared no change in having Titanic built. He had the best of everything for Titanic.

Unless there was some manufacture defect in the davits, all of the lifeboats should have been filled to capacity by the crewmembers.

Sincerely,

Teri
 

Paul Rogers

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I seem to remember reading that one of Titanic's boats was indeed tested with the equivalent of a full passenger load. My faulty memory is also telling me that the Officers were aware of this test and therefore Lightoller was bluffing about his doubts over the boats' strength.

Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read this.(Isn't that typical!) I must be getting old... Whilst I search frantically through my books and stuff, has anyone out there heard about this? I would be most grateful for clarification.

Regards,
Paul.
 
Apr 7, 2001
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Hi Paul!

Nice to see you again. Haven't seen much of you lately old friend!

You can imagine my great cheerful disposition at reading your post ~ the clarification would come in most handy, wouldn't it?

The awareness currently running through my mind is the circumstance that Mr. Ismay was a passenger and not a crewmember. If he had been a crewmember, there is no doubt in my mind he would have filled those boats to full capacity. He possessed the mental stamina and audacity needed to command the passengers to get into the lifeboats.

And I am glad to report that Mr. Ismay did attempt to take some menial command in the loading of boats but was reprimanded by Officer Lowe. After this incident with Lowe, Mr. Ismay stepped back a bit as commander, but still assisted with the loading of boats instead playing a more subtle role alternatively.

Teri
 
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steve b

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Colleen thats simply amazing to think that in what literally amounted to a matter of hours, this disaster could have taken on a scale of another magnitude had that storm hit. The only reason the thought came to mind was, when the wireless message was recieved stating that the nearest ship in the area was 4 hours away, while that might not seem like all that much time, in the Atlantic, it can be life or death with the fickle nature of the weather. Micheal thats where i thank you once again for sharing your knowledge, and the followup question i have, is when the boats were tested, was there any consideration put in to the test for endurance against rough seas? I highly doubt that element could be ignored during any such test, but then again a lot of things were ignored. Unfornately, as someone stated earlier, this was a tragedy born of complacency
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Paul, if you could find a source for all of that I wouldbe as grateful as anybody. You suggested that Lightoller may have been bluffing about his doubts about the boats overall stength. You may be right, but that's not the impression I gathered from the testimony I've read. Still, I have to temper that with the understanding that none of these officers were disinterested observers. With careers on the line in the wake of a disaster, they had a powerful incentive to take some "liberties" with the facts.

Teri, you're absolutely right. Those boats should have been loaded to capacity. However, we have to remember that in Lightoller's experience, things just weren't done that way with boats because of the risk I mentioned. It was very real, and if he had no information to the conterary, we're in a very poor position to second guess the man. What we have to ask is; What did they believe? What information did they actually have? That's what they would have acted on.

The impression I had was that at first, even some of the officers didn't quite believe the ship was sinking. It was when the reality came home that they...as Lightoller said...began to take more chances.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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