FanDuel - WFBC

November 22, 2010

Child Dies After 50-Foot Fall Out of Luxury Suite Fall at Lakers Game: A two-year-old boy died after a 50-foot fall out of a luxury suite at Staples Center in Los Angeles following Sunday's Lakers game. Lucas Anthony Tang's parents lost sight of him before the accident.

posted by rcade to basketball at 03:28 PM - 68 comments

A terrible thing, but entirely preventable. I would never have let my kid crawl around unattended anywhere, much less in a box at a basketball game.

posted by irunfromclones at 03:16 PM on November 22

I'm shocked this doesn't happen more frequently with drunks raining out of the luxury boxes.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:20 PM on November 22

I agree, although a tragic accident, frankly if you are not paying attention to what a 3 year old is doing every minute, especially in a public place with so many people around, you are negligent. I feel bad for everyone involved as this is something that will haunt them forever.

posted by Atheist at 03:22 PM on November 22

I agree, although a tragic accident, frankly if you are not paying attention to what a 3 year old is doing every minute, especially in a public place with so many people around, you are negligent.

Then every parent in the whole world of a three-year old has been negligent. It is absolutely impossible to have never, ever let your eyes roam from your child. The parents could have thought the other was watching or that one of the many other adults was watching or they could have been momentarily distracted. Kids get away from their parents. It happens. That's what makes this a freak accident.

posted by bperk at 03:39 PM on November 22

Actually, the kid was 2 years old, not three, and the parents shouldn't let him out of their site, especially when they are three levels up in a basketball arena! And why have a 2 year old at the game? Get a babysitter. It's a tragedy, but there's no excuse for it. The "I thought someone else was watching him" excuse is lame, and that's when tragedies take place. If you can't watch your 2 year old in a strange environment, with danger (obviously) present, you are negligent.

posted by dyams at 03:55 PM on November 22

Where's Gloria Allred?

posted by graymatters at 03:59 PM on November 22

My wife and I worked conflicting hours when my kids were toddlers (they're only a year apart). I enjoyed hanging out with the kids. I had season tickets to Royals Stadium back then, so we enjoyed countless games together. I didn't hesitate to take them out to eat, movies....you name it. They were pretty well behaved. But when it was an adult gathering, it was time for a babysitter. Anyone that has kids knows that you can't take your eyes off of a 2 year old. It's bad enough at home, where you've child proofed everything. If you want to enjoy a night out with friends, don't take the kids.

I'm not trying to beat up on the parents. They're facing a horror that will never go away, and thoughts and prayers should be going out to the family.

posted by kcfan4life at 04:08 PM on November 22

It is absolutely impossible to have never, ever let your eyes roam from your child.

Then you don't take the child to a luxury box with an open railing with a potentially lethal drop. Period.

This is a tragedy for the parents but as a parent with three kids (one of whom is two years old), I have to say that with any reasonable standard of care this should not have happened.

First of all, I never would have brought my two year old. I would have gotten a baby sitter or either my wife or I would have stayed home.

If, for some reason, I HAD to take my two year old and I saw that open railing, I would have (thought of Eric Clapton and his child, put my heart back in my throat) and NEVER EVER taken my eyes of my child. Taking your eyes of your two year old child in this situation is like giving them a box of razor blades to play with.

I don't know what the parents were thinking, but this is clearly negligence and borders on criminal negligence.

posted by cjets at 04:36 PM on November 22

but this is clearly negligence and borders on criminal negligence.

freaking ridiculous. Now you want to charge the parents with a crime, after what they've been through?

I'm the parent of 2 kids myself, and I'm a VERY overprotective parent..everyone makes fun of how overprotective I am...but even I have lost track of my children for a few minutes. Especially in a crowded area, with a lot going on...I've had times when I thought my wife was watching and she thought I was, etc. It happens and it happens alot. Heck, this same thing almost happened to my son..we were at a baseball game and they wandered down to the front row and we were watching intently then all of a sudden he starts trying to climb the railing..my heart stopped as we were too far to physically stop him from doing anything, but we started screaming and luckily he stopped. Point is, all it takes is a few seconds.

I can't believe that those of you with kids aren't more sympathetic, as this scenario happens to EVERYONE whose had kids, no matter how closely they watch them.

posted by bdaddy at 04:49 PM on November 22

When they were little, I took my kids to games a few times where we sat a few rows from a railing and a big drop. I spent more time watching them than enjoying the game.

posted by rcade at 04:50 PM on November 22

Now you want to charge the parents with a crime, after what they've been through?

What they're going through is a nightmare, but that doesn't mean the authorities should not investigate whether a crime occurred. A story says the family was taking pictures in the suite when the accident occurred, so it does not sound like exceptional negligence took place.

posted by rcade at 04:53 PM on November 22

freaking ridiculous. Now you want to charge the parents with a crime, after what they've been through?

It really depends on the specifics of the case. But it is worth investigating. If both parents were getting drunk and ignoring the child, then hell yes, I'd like to see them in jail. OTOH, if it was just a momentary lapse, then it would not seem to rise to the level of criminal negligence. But it is clearly negligence.

And you want to talk freakin ridiculous? Why are you interested in protecting the parents when the real victim is the two year old, who apparently lived through the fall, and died in agony on the way to the hospital? The criminal negligence laws are there to protect the victim, not the grieving parents who could not bother to hire a babysitter.

ON EDIT: What Rcade said.

posted by cjets at 04:57 PM on November 22

But it is clearly negligence.

It isn't clear to me that it is negligence.

I can't imagine how this could be a crime. Maybe if they saw their kid climbing the rail and thought it was okay anyway. It is more dangerous driving your children to preschool, yet parents do it every day.

posted by bperk at 04:57 PM on November 22

It isn't clear to me that it is negligence.

Not watching your kid + open railing = negligence.

Or, to quote my lawyer friends, "Res Ipsa Loquitor" ("the thing speaks for itself")

posted by cjets at 05:03 PM on November 22

It isn't clear to me that it is negligence.

Negligence, in a legal sense, is defined as "conduct that is culpable because it falls short of what a reasonable person would do to protect another individual from foreseeable risks of harm."

The details that are coming out are tragically said: "The parents of a 2-year-old who died after plunging 50 feet from a Staples Center luxury suite had been taking photos of the boy just before he fell, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Officials said the family was looking at the digital photos and lost track of the boy, who somehow went over the top of the glass partition, police said."

posted by rcade at 05:03 PM on November 22

Yes by all means - sue the Lakers, the City, the building management, the caterer. And while they're doing that have the state ensure that the parents are locked up for good long times too. Let's ruin as many lives as possible.

Why do people feel like they need to have an opinion on something like this - swiftly and immediately and seemingly most importantly - unyielding?

Not watching your kid + open railing = negligence.

I really can't understand how you can just simply and so decisively come to such a conclusion. I hear a story like this, and my only reaction is how tragic and awful that must be for the parents. You guys can't wait to frame them as murderers. It's just so fucking tasteless and compassionless. I can't help it. Bugs the shit out of me. Terrible scourge of the internets.

You judge the worst moments of peoples lives in a second or too armed with the ammunition of a couples sentence in a news report that at best is two degrees away from the actual event and written to be salacious, to boot.

Ugh. I've known people who've had something similar happen to them - and make no mistake - it happened to them. They weren't negligent, they weren't anything but loving parents. SHIT HAPPENS. You effectively have so little control over the really important things. The big things. The ones that kill you. It's truly fucking staggering.

Maybe it's my fault. I'm taking it too seriously. It's just a comment on a message board. But still - god damn distasteful is distasteful.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:20 PM on November 22

You guys can't wait to frame them as murderers.

Since when does negligence equal murder? And how does your ridiculous hyperbole help this conversation at all? Does wildly overstating what I said somehow help this post?

You effectively have so little control over the really important things.

They had control over one thing. They could have chosen not to bring the two year old to the game. A two year old has no business being at the game, much less the luxury box.

And once there, any reasonably competent parent would know to watch their wo year old child at all times. But, honestly, that's beside the point because the right choice to make was to not bring the child.

Being a parent is a hard fucking job. And you have to give up so fucking much. So when I see this type of irresponsible choice, it makes my blood boil. Does that make me the scourge of the internets? So fucking be it.

posted by cjets at 07:14 PM on November 22

Weedy, hope you feel better after that.

This is a tragic, tragic, event. No one should have to live through something like this. The parents will never have a day in their lives where they won't think about their son.

That, however, does not change the fact that they were negligent. Do I want them to go to jail, no. Do I want them to be able to sue the Staples Center for not putting toddler proof railings in, absolutely not. That's the main driver behind the police investigating something like this. To set up the causes, and ensure that the appropriate actions are taken.

As to things like this happening to people, I will have to disagree with you there. As others have said, the couple had options. If they choose not to hire a baby sitter, then they have the obligation to communicate with each other on how will be watching the boy at all times. I have kids, I can not say that I did a perfect job of watching them. However, if something had happened due to my not watching them, it would have been negligence on some level. Every parent of a 2 year old knows that they have to supervise the environment like a hawk, looking for every hazard, for they know the kid will find each and every one of them. The adult beverage left unattended, the stairs, the serve ware by the appetizers, and yes, that railing. These parents had 100% control over whether, or not, their son had time to climb that railing.

posted by dviking at 07:22 PM on November 22

I really can't understand how you can just simply and so decisively come to such a conclusion.

I think you're overreacting by what he and others meant by describing the parents as negligent. There's a difference between negligence and criminal negligence. I don't think it reflects a desire to punish them to say they were negligent; it is a simple fact. They neglected to supervise their toddler and it cost them dearly.

I'd compare it to the accidents that killed Mike Tyson's child and all the times some toddler wanders off and drowns in somebody's pool, as that kid did at Tommy Lee's house. I don't think it shows a lack of compassion or bad taste to evaluate why a fatal accident happened and who bears the responsibility. Tyson's four-year-old died because a dangerous cord on a treadmill was not secured. The four-year-old drowned in Lee's pool because he wasn't supervising it during a children's party, even though he was sitting 10 feet from the water.

Should we shrug off both of those tragedies and avoid saying anything judgmental because "SHIT HAPPENS"? I think there's more value in assessing some blame to encourage people to realize what can happen when they aren't mindful of kids in their care.

posted by rcade at 08:12 PM on November 22

Weedy..I'm with you 100%. Can't imagine the other side of the argument and just don't get it. Especially for those that have children. God bless you if you ever turn your back for a minute on your child, as I'm sure there'll be some heartless SOB saying you're criminally negligent for not keeping your eye on them for that instant when a freak accident happens.

posted by bdaddy at 08:30 PM on November 22

I thought about this all afternoon.

Being a parent is a steep learning curve. Accidents happen, and things can never be the same after some of them. People here saying the parents are negligent are probably just pointing it out as a reminder to themselves and others (I would hope) and not as a pile-on on the parents, or a dismissal, or a "Well, shame on them, they should have been better parents."

Because most any conclusion other than "What a terrible accident/how truly awful for them/I hope such an accident never happens to me and mine" is unkind and unworthy. Even unintentionally, it amounts to the nastiest sort of gloat imaginable.

posted by Hugh Janus at 08:59 PM on November 22

Great post, Hugh.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:48 PM on November 22

Should we shrug off both of those tragedies and avoid saying anything judgmental because "SHIT HAPPENS"? I think there's more value in assessing some blame to encourage people to realize what can happen when they aren't mindful of kids in their care.

No you should avoid saying anything judgmental because we don't know the whole story, we don't know what really happened and the same event could happen to anyone. I don't know what happened, I really only the outcome. Kid went through the railing... And here come the hindsight police!

I'm sure you're a fine parent who is attentive to his children and did his best to keep them safe. I'm sure it wouldn't take an example such as this to strengthen that resolve. I'm sure you had it from day one. In this case any assessment of this event doesn't make that more or less.

When I say shit happens, I don't mean it a dismissive fashion, I mean it in it's absolute - you can be the most attentive, loving caring parent in the world and you get exactly zero guarantees.

It's this illusion of control. We don't have it. And I wish more people's knee jerk reaction would lean more to compassion than blame. But it just isn't so. Whatevs, I'll live.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:08 PM on November 22

Agreed. It sucks that a life was cut short like this, and it's natural to want to blame someone, but sometimes pointing a finger is just cruel and unwarranted.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:08 PM on November 22

Agreed. It sucks that a life was cut short like this, and it's natural to want to blame someone, but sometimes pointing a finger is just cruel and unwarranted.

There's a difference between "cause" and "blame", between "reason" and "fault". Trying to identify the cause of an accident is not the same thing as seeking to blame someone for it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:47 PM on November 22

Trying to identify the cause of an accident is not the same thing as seeking to blame someone for it.

I agree. It simply seems to me that some previous posts were about blame, not seeking cause. When words like "criminally negligent" are being thrown around, is there a cause being sought? Or is there blame being assigned?

posted by tahoemoj at 01:13 AM on November 23

For the record what I said was "borders on criminal negligence." And, based on later stories, it would appear that I was incorrect about that.

And I'm not trying to pile on to the parents grief. I also said that this is a tragedy and heartbreaking and I mean that.

But I have a fundamental disagreement with those who would give the parents a special dispensation simply because they are grieving parents. I thnk parents have a unique responsibility with children, a special duty of care, that is particularly high when the child is at their most vulnerable.

posted by cjets at 01:41 AM on November 23

I have no children and want none, partly because I'm a selfish person and the level of commitment inherent in having a child seems to me a strange thing to offer gladly, but mostly because I'm clumsy and inattentive at the best of times and therefore filled with a holy terror that placed in charge of an infant, I'd get it hopelessly wrong with disastrous consequences.

I'm reminded in this instance of a line from Jude the Obscure: "But I don't admit that my failure proved my view to be a wrong one, or that my success would have made it a right one; though that is how we appraise such attempts nowadays - I mean, not by their essential soundness, but by their accidental outcomes."

If those of you who have kids and are piling in behind the "I blame the parents" argument can honestly say that you never lost sight of your child for a moment in a potentially dangerous place (which, where a 2 year old is concerned, is surely just about everywhere) then my hat's off to you, but I suspect you're either not being honest with yourself or you're from another planet. If you're human, the only difference between these parents and you is that your luck held and theirs didn't.

It's tragic. It's horrific. It has ruined the lives of numerous people. And for all the blame flying around in here, no one will ever blame the parents as much as they'll blame themselves for the rest of their lives. Should they have special dispensation because they're grieving parents? Absofuckinglutely.

posted by JJ at 05:44 AM on November 23

I'm sure you're a fine parent who is attentive to his children and did his best to keep them safe. I'm sure it wouldn't take an example such as this to strengthen that resolve.

Even the best parent needs reminders from time to time about things that could happen if they're not being attentive and cautious. When they were little I sat my boys in foul territory at a baseball game close enough to get hit by a screaming line drive. A ball struck concrete in front of us a few inches below one of their heads. Never made that mistake again.

posted by rcade at 07:15 AM on November 23

I thnk parents have a unique responsibility with children, a special duty of care, that is particularly high when the child is at their most vulnerable.

Do you really think other parents think differently from you? Everybody makes mistakes; thankfully few have such grave consequences.

It's like a car accident, a boneheaded left turn on red, a guy's family is killed and it's his fault. You tell him that, or anyone else that, and what purpose are you serving? Now everybody knows you're a better driver than he was. It was an accident you would have avoided. Had his family been yours, they would be alive. So you aren't just a better driver, you're a better husband and father. Congratulations.

After all, the proof is in the pudding. You can just look at the end and draw all the conclusions you need.

posted by Hugh Janus at 08:27 AM on November 23

It's tragic. It's horrific. It has ruined the lives of numerous people. And for all the blame flying around in here, no one will ever blame the parents as much as they'll blame themselves for the rest of their lives.

Here, here!! Right now my sympathy is with the unfortunate family. If something like this were to ever happen to one of my kids, I don't think I'd ever be able to forgive myself for that moment of inattention.

My sympathy will be considerably undermined, however, should these poor parents next try to turn this tragedy into a big payday (which would most probably come at the urging of some sharp liability lawyer).

posted by billinnagoya at 08:49 AM on November 23

You tell him that, or anyone else that, and what purpose are you serving?

You tell him that, and you're being cruel. But no one here is talking to them directly.

You tell anyone else that, and you're being sensible by learning from the mistakes of others.

You can just look at the end and draw all the conclusions you need.

So it's OK to draw conclusions, it's just not OK to talk about them?

posted by rcade at 09:49 AM on November 23

Do you really think other parents think differently from you?

Yes. I see it every day. Parents who don't put their kids in car seats. Parents who don't put helmets on their kids on bikes. Parents who bring their one-month olds to elementary schools. Parents who CHOOSE not to vaccinate their kids.

Nobody's perfect, but there's an awful lot of mistakes that can be avoided. This was one of them.

As Weedy Said, shit happens. So much of what a parent does is to lower the chances that the any given accident or screw up will be lethal to your child. That's why we use car seats, helmets and keep two year olds out of potentially dangerous situations.

Most people wouldn't bring their two year old to a luxury box with an open railing. That's because it greatly increases the chances of something going wrong. Again, it's a tragedy but a preventable one.

posted by cjets at 10:04 AM on November 23

no one will ever blame the parents as much as they'll blame themselves for the rest of their lives.

I'm sure that's true. But the real victim is the child, not the parents. Someone needs to speak for the victim.

It's like a car accident, a boneheaded left turn on red,

No, as discussed above, it just isn't. It's much more than a momentary lapse.

Should they have special dispensation because they're grieving parents? Absofuckinglutely.

Would you give that same dispensation to a nanny, a child care-provider, a pre-school teacher? If so, we'll just agree to disagree.

If not, then how can you hold someone hired to watch a child to higher standard then you would their parents?

posted by cjets at 10:10 AM on November 23

Count me among the people here who can't believe how hard some of you are coming down on the parents.

JJ has said very well what I was going to add:

If those of you who have kids and are piling in behind the "I blame the parents" argument can honestly say that you never lost sight of your child for a moment in a potentially dangerous place (which, where a 2 year old is concerned, is surely just about everywhere) then my hat's off to you, but I suspect you're either not being honest with yourself or you're from another planet. If you're human, the only difference between these parents and you is that your luck held and theirs didn't.

Conversely, I do not understand this statement:

A two year old has no business being at the game, much less the luxury box.

The Staples Center is not some deathtrap. Sure, there was clearly a potential for danger here, but this kid could just as likely have drowned in the bathtub at home or gotten run over by a drunk driver while playing in the yard or choked on a marble at daycare. Maybe they should just keep him in a bubble?

posted by bender at 11:04 AM on November 23

That's why we use car seats, helmets and keep two year olds out of potentially dangerous situations.

Any situation is potentially dangerous to a two-year old -- the playground, the backyard, the tub, the bedroom, the living room, a crib, a toddler bed. A parent has to weigh reasonable risks against the bubble option. Different parents draw the lines in different places, but harshly judging parents because they don't draw the line the same place you do is ridiculous. I think parents should spend less time worrying about their children getting kidnapped and more time reinforcing crossing the street properly. I live across the street from a school, and most parents look both ways themselves and hold their kids hands most of the time. Instead, they should make sure their kids do left-right-left at every single street, at every single parking lot, whenever cars are around from six months old. It is excessive and takes too much time, but they should do it anyway. Am I going to blame a parent if their child gets hit by a car while carelessly crossing the street? No. Is it preventable? Yes.

posted by bperk at 11:58 AM on November 23

I think some of you have lost track of what is really the issue here.

Blame HAS to be determined for several reasons. 1) To determine the cause, which is the only way to help prevent this from happening again.

2) to determine liability. Sadly, there are tons of lawyers just waiting for this type of "Accident" to occur so that they can sue the crap out of everyone that has a dollar. If the authorities determine that the parents own the lion's share of responsibility, that protects everyone else. The Staples Center, the person/corporation that rented out the suite, the builders, the inspectors, etc..

This is not any different than the 1000's of car "accidents" that occur each day. A very small group of which have no real cause, the majority have causes that need to be examined.

Keep in mind that at this point we only know what we've been told, that the parents were busy taking pictures. Does your view change if we find out that either parent had been drinking?

There are risks involved with everything, parents just own the responsibility for minimizing them for a 2 year old.

The accent on the word accident is mine...I just have a problem with people being quick to call something an accident, when it was easily preventable. A person driving the wrong way on a street doesn't cause an accident, he causes a collision. A child left unattended in an obvioulsy dangerous situation is not an accident waiting to happen, it's a tragedy waiting to happen.

posted by dviking at 12:54 PM on November 23

A child left unattended in an obvioulsy dangerous situation is not an accident waiting to happen, it's a tragedy waiting to happen.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on what constitutes "an obviously dangerous situation" then.

posted by bender at 01:11 PM on November 23

Blamefilter: Blame HAS to be determined for several reasons.

I dislike this thread. Accidents happen. I'm leaving now.

posted by tron7 at 01:18 PM on November 23

The Staples Center is not some deathtrap. Sure, there was clearly a potential for danger here, but this kid could just as likely have drowned in the bathtub at home or gotten run over by a drunk driver while playing in the yard or choked on a marble at daycare. Maybe they should just keep him in a bubble?

I do have children, and I had to say "No" to many things I may have wanted to do when my children were very young. If I didn't have a sitter, I stayed home with my kids! No, you don't have to keep your child in a bubble, but what could a 2-year old really gain from going to a professional basketball game? Is he going to watch the game? No. A two year old has no idea what's going on, and only wants to do what they usually do: Get into stuff, crawl around and climb on things, etc. They have to be watched CONSTANTLY! You don't take your eyes off them, even though I've been pissed off in the past many times with parents who go places where there are other adults, etc. around, so they feel they can take time off and someone else will watch out for their kid for them.

This is what people sign up for when they have kids. Their single life is over. Maybe they can't go to to the luxury box for the game, but this sounds like one of those, "We'll just take him with us so WE don't miss what we want to do" type of situations.

And for all the people who are angry about points of view being discussed on this site, that's what the site is for. If it's a case where all people who post are "allowed" to do is type a bunch of "Oh how tragic" and "My thoughts and prayers are with the family" stuff (even though that sentiment does run through most, I'm sure), then we should just eliminate the thread altogether.

posted by dyams at 02:31 PM on November 23

Nobody's perfect, but there's an awful lot of mistakes that can be avoided. This was one of them.

And no matter how careful you are you will make mistakes that are avoidable. There are no perfect parents. There are better parents than others.

You just have to hope that when you make your mistakes luck is on your side and you don't end up paying for it.

posted by justgary at 02:44 PM on November 23

When I was two years old, I used to sleep in a crib with high (to me) railings -- over my head. One morning I woke up in my crib, and I was bored. So, I climbed out of my crib -- don't ask me how -- toddled across the floor, got my bedroom door open, toddled down the hall, got my parents' door open, and climbed into bed with mom. She rolled over and looked at me and said, "Oh. No."

From that point on I was a climbing catastrophe. There was nothing -- no thing -- that I would not attempt to climb: tables, chairs, dressers, my mom's china cabinet, the family dog. The real topper was the child safety gate at the top of the stairs. When it became clear that I could monkey over that thing in under ten seconds, my parents got rid of it, and set to teaching me how to go up and down stairs. I took a few tumbles, you bet. The fact that I lived to adulthood without major injury isn't proof that their style of child-rearing is superior -- maybe they should have raised me in the way that most kids today are raised, which to be honest sometimes strikes me as semi-incarcerated. I don't know what the "should" is in this case. I just keep thinking about my two year old self, and how rapidly I could get into trouble.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:58 PM on November 23

I weep for the life cut far too short.

I weep for the anguish of the parents and their sense of loss.

I know that regardless of those who would blame them for the tragedy, God will forgive them.

I pray that they will be strong enough to survive this, and that they will understand that the love of God will see them through.

posted by Howard_T at 03:18 PM on November 23

Someone needs to speak for the victim.

Bully for you!

posted by Hugh Janus at 05:26 PM on November 23

Howard_T -

If God were paying attention none of this would have happened and the Miami Heat would loose every game. Obviously God doesn't care, or isn't paying attention, or caused the whole thing in the first place. I think it is silly to presume God will forgive them, which in a way implies that God recognizes it is their fault but will overlook it and forgive them anyway.

Thanks for the sermon.....NOT

Not to start anything but I just feel when someone wants to evoke God and religion into a discussion not related to the subject, Atheism deserves equal time. I chose to think stuff just happens as the only alternative is to think God actually makes everything happen, including two year old kids falling to their death. Now that will teach em a lesson. Thanks God keep up the good work.

posted by Atheist at 06:03 PM on November 23

God save the real atheists from the proselytizing ones.

posted by JJ at 06:40 PM on November 23

Inappropriate as hell. I'm also an atheist, but to begrudge Howard_T the invocation of his faith in expressing his opinion is as wrong as any other stifling of expression. Think about where and when to fight your battles; you're making the rest of us look bad. Evangelism cuts both ways, and is equally offensive when the intolerant share your beliefs.

posted by tahoemoj at 06:41 PM on November 23

I dislike this thread. Accidents happen. I'm leaving now

Well now, there's a solid argument....take your ball with you, no one wants to play with you anyways.

Accidents do happen. I said so in my post. However, most of what some people call accidents are truly preventable mistakes. 2 year olds being left unattended in a suite in the Staples Center is a preventable situation.

And, yes, blame/fault/negligence HAS to be determined.

posted by dviking at 07:38 PM on November 23

So I guess this isn't the time to hand out FSM pamphlets?

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:26 PM on November 23

This is what people sign up for when they have kids. Their single life is over. Maybe they can't go to to the luxury box for the game, but this sounds like one of those, "We'll just take him with us so WE don't miss what we want to do" type of situations.

Sounds like that to me too. That doesn't mean I know what happened, but from what I've seen, this attitude is all too familiar among some parents.

Someone needs to speak for the victim.

Bully for you!

Way to cherry pick one comment for no particular purpose. But I'll try again. I've had trouble expressing this before so I have minimal hope that it will be understood now.

A two year old child is as much a person and deserves the same rights as any other person. People seem to forget that in their rush to sympathize with the parents. I do understand that. It's a heartbreaking tragedy for the parents.

But ultimately, this is all about the death of a person. If this were an adult, no one would be questioning an investigation into who is culpable. Why do it with a small child?

posted by cjets at 10:07 PM on November 23

Nobody is questioning an investigation.

I'm questioning your rush to let everybody here know that you would never fuck up like that.

Fact is I'm sad and bitter about this; seeing good parents (the proof is in their children's survival) crow about negligence from bad parents (the proof is in their children's death) is hard to take. Like I said upthread, your intention doesn't matter: you're a good parent telling people how good parents like yourself would never lose a child to an accident they didn't expect. It does all boil down to this.

I wrote "bully for you" when I meant "you're a bully." As it turns out I don't have the proper distance to make that judgment, and I apologize for my pointless rudeness.

I really do hope your parenting continues to be good, though, and that you never know what you're talking about here. Best of luck.

posted by Hugh Janus at 12:47 AM on November 24

With "luck" being the operativve word.

Trying to find some positive spin on our treatment of this story: at least no one has yet (explicitly) said "speaking as a parent" as though the childless could never understand. Implicitly, we're treading a fine line, but so far I think we've done well to avoid actual cliche.

Thought experiment: if the parents of this kid were friends of your and you knew that they were good parents, could you still take as tough a stance? If not, why not?

posted by JJ at 04:30 AM on November 24

It would be cruel to tell the parents what they already know.

I disagree with the stance that toddlers never should be brought to events like a Lakers game. There's often a lot of stuff to do at a sporting event that young kids enjoy, and it can be a fun shared family experience.

... seeing good parents (the proof is in their children's survival) crow about negligence from bad parents (the proof is in their children's death) is hard to take.

There's no crowing in this discussion. Everyone else is as heartsick about it as you are, but we disagree on whether it's unacceptable to state the obvious fact that the parents played a role in this fatal accident.

posted by rcade at 09:26 AM on November 24

Thought experiment: if the parents of this kid were friends of your and you knew that they were good parents, could you still take as tough a stance? If not, why not?

Again, I'm sad for the dead child. I'm not really judging the parents, and yes, maybe they were absolutely perfect parents up to this time. But even if I were the parent in this situation, I wouldn't expect people to understand and/or not take a tough stand. I'd know I made a mistake, a huge one, that would alter my life forever. It's a risk you take when you have children. Your only job when they are small is to keep them safe, period. I always had a goal that my kids would be good people, successful, good students, etc. But my main accomplishment is that me and my wife kept them healthy and alive. Maybe that sounds a tad dramatic, but believe me, it's not easy, or a given, that kids will stay alive without constant, 24 hour, 7 day a week supervision. You have to be ready for them to bolt off into traffic unexpectedly; to pick up anything they see and put it in their mouth; to grab something and shove it in a electrical socket; etc. And it doesn't really change until they are much, much older than 2. My wife and I would constantly make sure one of us was watching our child at all times, no exceptions. And it's exhausting. That's why some parents fail, and I'm NOT saying these parents were necessarily bad parents. But they failed this child, failed to keep him safe, and he's dead. I can forgive them, and would absolutely be there for them if they were friends of mine.

But to respond to your thought, it wouldn't matter to me what my friends and/or others thought of me if I was the parent in this situation. It would boil down to whether or not I could/would ever forgive myself. And I'm really not sure if I ever would. I honestly feel very deeply for the horrible pain they must be enduring.

posted by dyams at 09:31 AM on November 24

With "luck" being the operativve word.

Certainly.

Anyone that raised a child to adulthood without incident, no matter how fantastic the were as parents, had luck on their side.

Parent X: "I spent my entire life making sure my child was safe."

AND you had luck on your side. To believe otherwise is to be in denial.

posted by justgary at 10:43 AM on November 24

So now being vigilant about your responsibility to ensure your young child is safe is "luck?" OK, but then you have to attribute luck to pretty-much every single thing in your life, without exception. I guess I was lucky a tree never fell on my child, or that a runaway truck didn't fly through my living room wall.

posted by dyams at 10:55 AM on November 24

JJ:

Thought experiment: if the parents of this kid were friends of your and you knew that they were good parents, could you still take as tough a stance? If not, why not?

I guess I'm not sure what you mean by "as tough a stance". No one is getting in the parents' face; this is a discussion on a website that they've almost certainly never heard of. What is entirely possible is that there is someone reading, or even commenting, for whom this strikes a nerve...but that's another matter really.

I have had personal experience with the death of someone close to me (best friend, not a child) through an accident. The situation is different because he was an adult and made his own decisions, but I think there are enough commonalities (especially given that I was there and part of the undertaking in which he died). The experience gave me a lot to think about as far as the preventability of accidental deaths. I understand the difficulty that many people are having with the word "accident" and the different meanings we give to it. Without personal experience, we do tend to think about an "accident" as just "shit happens", but that type of "accident" is really quite rare. It is almost always the case that somebody could have done something that would have prevented the accident. The thing is, in my experience, it's rare that you get a red light, an unambiguous "THIS IS A FATAL ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN" sign. More often it's a combination of yellow lights.

So it comes down to how we treat yellow lights. It's a worthwhile exercise to do this, the next time you drive. How do you treat a yellow light? If you're like a lot of people, you slide through a yellow light. You speed up enough to get through another one. You develop the habit of trying to get through them as quickly as possible. You get out of the habit of seeing them as a danger sign, and you get out of the habit of seeing them as a cautionary sign, as a signal that you need to chuck your assumptions and pay closer attention to the situation. Good drivers don't do this...but a lot of people who call themselves "good drivers" do.

And that's where the analogy breaks down in our case. My best friend didn't die because we were blowing through yellow lights. He died because we were driving through a great big long series of yellow lights. We were doing that on purpose -- we were engaged in an activity that always involves risk, and not in the astronomical odds "you could get hit by a meteor" sense. What we were doing was qualitatively different than taking a kid to a stadium, even one with a balcony, and never mind that there was no kid involved. We took a risk, we evaluated the yellow lights, and we deduced that we were "safe", meaning that the problems we would run into would not exceed our ability to deal with them. Our reasoning wasn't flawed, and we weren't ignoring information about dangers -- it's just that the problems were in fact greater than we had estimated them to be.

That's what people mostly mean when they say that something is an "accident": that they didn't anticipate a problem happening, or that they didn't anticipate its being as sudden or severe or intractable as it was. The argument that an accident is "preventable" hinges on the belief that a reasonable person should have anticipated the severity of the problem, that it would or reasonably could play out as it did, and that people in this case failed to do so. Describing any other circumstances as a "preventable accident" is humpty-dumptying the meaning of "preventable". If I never go near a river again, I won't drown on a river as my friend did.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:11 AM on November 24

There's no crowing in this discussion. Everyone else is as heartsick about it as you are, but we disagree on whether it's unacceptable to state the obvious fact that the parents played a role in this fatal accident.

"A role" is as inaccurate a characterization as "crowing." But "blame" didn't work rhetorically, so you softened the issue. I do that, sometimes it's hard be pithy without misrepresenting something. From your upthread response to me, about conclusions, it's clear when we focus on just a few words of someone else's writing, we can misunderstand each other easily. People are complicated, their thoughts are complicated. Simplifying them makes one-liners easier, but also less true. I do this too.

I guess my general point here is that we don't control who reads what we write, and that unless we have no problem appearing cold with regard to certain topics the chance of upset is great enough that extreme caution should be counseled. Especially before telling everybody how these things never happen to sensible/responsible/good people. There's probably a word for that other than "crowing" that's a little less, uh, corvid.

I should have stopped after my first comment.

posted by Hugh Janus at 11:31 AM on November 24

There's probably a word for that other than "crowing" that's a little less, uh, corvid.

Heh. If you're going to throw out words like that, I must concede rhetorical defeat.

posted by rcade at 12:11 PM on November 24

As a lawyer in CA, and a parent of two kids under 10, and a (partial) season ticket holder for the LA Kings (who share Staples Center with the Lakers), I have mixed feelings after reading the article and the posts here.

Obviously, it's a tragedy, and there's no minimizing that.

However, there's no question in my mind, based on information in the article and other public information about the incident, that the parents were negligent and that their negligence was a "substantial factor" in the death of their child ("substantial factor" being an important term in CA negligence law). Is it "criminal negligence"? I don't practice criminal law, so I don't really know. I do, however, think it's fairly unlikely that the Los Angeles County District Attorney would prosecute them for this.

As a parent, I can't even conceive of bringing a two year old to a sporting event, much less letting the child crawl/walk around unattended in one of the Staples Center luxury suites. Kids that young get nothing out of the game, and they tend to annoy people around them who want to watch the game. Of course, relatively few people in the luxury boxes actually care about watching the game.

Unfortunately, I think that Staples Center also has some potential liability. I'm familiar with how the suites are laid out, and it's arguably negligent to allow such a young child into one given the configuration. Under California law, it doesn't matter if the parents were "more negligent." Anyone whose negligence is a "substantial factor" in causing the death can be held liable. That triggers insurance coverage and the potential desire of the insurer(s) to settle to avoid a potential huge jury verdict and high defense costs (that's what happened when the Columbus Blue Jackets settled with the family of the girl hit with a puck). The question for me would be whether these people are the actual suite-holders and, if so, whether there was any sort of liability waiver included in the contract for the suite.

Do I think any legal action "should" happen? No, but it would hardly be the first time a negligent parent sued someone else in an effort to hold that other person liable for something that was primarily the parent's fault.

All in all, this pretty much sucks for everyone. I'd be willing to bet that Staples makes some changes to the luxury box configurations (just like the NHL put up nets following the Columbus incident).

posted by zddoodah at 12:40 PM on November 24

I wrote "bully for you" when I meant "you're a bully." As it turns out I don't have the proper distance to make that judgment, and I apologize for my pointless rudeness.

Thank you. I appreciate that. Clearly we disagree but I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this is a reasonable manner.

Like I said upthread, your intention doesn't matter: you're a good parent telling people how good parents like yourself would never lose a child to an accident they didn't expect. It does all boil down to this.

When you say intent doesn't matter, you really leave me nowhere to go. This is not about me being a good parent. I'm far from perfect. And I'm scared to death everyday that I could lose my kids to an accident I don't expect. It's a fear that will never go away. It is an intrinsic part of being a parent.

All I can do is manage the risk to my kids and make decisions based on that. As rcade said earlier, stories like this remind me to be vigilant as a parent. And (i'm not sure how to say this without sounding like a jerk) maybe it will serve as a lesson to other parents to consider these decisions carefully.

With "luck" being the operativve word.

Absolutely. So much a being a successful parent is a result of luck. I am a safe and careful driver with them but that doesn't mean an out of control truck or drunk driver won't kill us all. Or any other number of myriad examples.

But that doesn't mean you don't try and minimize risk along the way by making smart choices.

Thought experiment: if the parents of this kid were friends of your and you knew that they were good parents, could you still take as tough a stance? If not, why not?

I would still think that they made two avoidable tragic mistakes . But I would never say that to them. What's the point?

posted by cjets at 01:07 PM on November 24

Discussing the tragedy this family has to endure, made me think it was a perfect time to wish everybody a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. While the risks of traveling are relatively low, the holiday weekend does create a higher travel risk than normal. So everybody exercise extra caution to ensure the safety of your family. If one good thing comes from this discussion it might be that the tragedy we are discussing serves to remind us how even one moment of poor judgment or a momentary lapse in attention combined with unlucky circumstance can result in a tragedy.

posted by Atheist at 03:21 PM on November 24

If one good thing comes from this discussion it might be that the tragedy we are discussing serves to remind us how even one moment of poor judgment or a momentary lapse in attention combined with unlucky circumstance can result in a tragedy.

And to just be glad to be able to spend the time with our loved ones this holiday. Well said Atheist. I would also like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

posted by kcfan4life at 03:45 PM on November 24

And watch out for the nut jobs. What is it about people that when it's the start of a double long weekend, they have to get double their drink on?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:28 PM on November 24

I resemble that remark.

posted by JJ at 03:45 AM on November 25

...wish everybody a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday...

Thanks for the good wishes, Atheist, and to everyone in the community, may I add my thanks for all of you who share your thoughts here on SpoFi.

posted by Howard_T at 01:07 PM on November 25

So now being vigilant about your responsibility to ensure your young child is safe is "luck?"

You need to re-read what I said, if you're responding to my comment.

Since no parent is perfect luck is always a factor to differing degrees. It's not either/or. I'm not even sure how you can argue that point. That .00001 percent of the time the perfect parent makes a mistake? Here's hoping luck is on their side.

but then you have to attribute luck to pretty-much every single thing in your life, without exception.

That luck is involved? Of course. In everything.

If one good thing comes from this discussion it might be that the tragedy we are discussing serves to remind us how even one moment of poor judgment or a momentary lapse in attention combined with unlucky circumstance can result in a tragedy.

On review, this.

posted by justgary at 08:22 PM on November 25

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