Patterico's Pontifications

6/11/2010

Rescue Me

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 12:51 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

There’s an interesting story out of Colorado regarding who is responsible and authorized to act in an emergency situation. Here are the facts but read the whole thing:

“[28-year-old rafting guide Ryan] Snodgrass’ raft flipped on the runoff-swelled Clear Creek around noon Thursday and the [13-year-old] girl swam from the raft. [County Sheriff Don] Krueger said the girl was missing for 30 to 45 minutes while Snodgrass searched for her. He said she swam a half mile from the spot where the raft capsized.”

Apparently Snodgrass called authorities for assistance and continued the search. As officials were arriving and setting up, Snodgrass spotted the girl across the river and swam to her. He was subsequently arrested for “obstructing government operations.” A law enforcement spokesman said that since the guide had lost contact with the girl, it was no longer the company’s rescue. The rafting company owner said his guides are trained for swiftwater rescues and it was their responsibility.

I’m glad there was a good outcome for the girl. And while I know people need to obey law enforcement orders so they don’t have to rescue 2 people instead of 1, this is strange result.

— DRJ

26 Responses to “Rescue Me”

  1. This is the kind of offensive, paternalistic and oppressive government we’ve allowed to sprout up around us. Go to someone’s assistance and be charged criminally by the officious thugs.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. One size fits all, DRJ! And remember, government knows better than you do. Every time.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  3. No sane jury will convict him. And after he’s acquitted he can recoup the cost of his trial with a lawsuit for malicious prosecution.

    nk (db4a41)

  4. Was this rescue managed by obama’s outfit?

    Jim (844377)

  5. These locals need to refer to our Secretary of Homeland Security’s official crisis-management manual: the system worked

    Icy Texan (ba698c)

  6. And they wonder why they are resented by civilians, who they are supposed to help and serve, not command.
    This Sheriff, at the next election, needs to be reminded who works for whom!

    AD - RtR/OS! (d6c711)

  7. A man-caused disaster. A small contribution to Sheriff Krueger’s reelection campaign ought to smooth things over.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  8. Idiots.

    RB (198d7e)

  9. I imagine that the county, once called, is potentially liable for things that go awry while they “are in charge”; so, had the fellow encountered trouble and drowned, his survivors might then hit the county with a wrongful death suit.

    It does seem that what the fellow did was reasonable, and it also seems reasonable for the county to not want to be found responsible for actions it did not authorize.

    But it doesn’t seem reasonable to arrest him after the fact, unless the county would be subject to action for not doing strict enforcement of the policy.

    In my work doing home visits, on occasions I found a person in need of being transported to the hospital for one reason or another. I often did this myself, until the boss said I wasn’t allowed to do it anymore because the hospital would not be responsible for any claims should “something go wrong”. He said “No good deed goes unpunished”, so ultimately what I could do was governed by lawyers and insurance policy coverage, no matter how sensible my preferred solution was.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  10. He was instructed not to go in the water, and did. If the police tell you not to do something, you probably shouldn’t do it.

    BradnSA (980254)

  11. MD in Philly #9 – yet another reason why Tort Reform in at least the form of “Loser Pays” needs to become a much higher legislative priority … as long as your boss has to practise ‘defensive management’ (or you have to practise ‘defensive medecine’), inefficiencies and stupidities like the ones described in this post and its comments will continue to occur …

    BradnSA #10 – while I do not have all the information, and while I understand that sensible folk are afraid of non-sensible lawsuits which can end up being expensive, if it was my daughter involved, on the information we have here, Snodgrass made the correct decision based upon specific experience …

    Sheriff Kreuger may well have made the correct decision based upon one-size-fits-all protocol to tell someone not to enter the water (if he was the one who did so), but to arrest the trained rafting guide based upon “and jeopardized the rescue operation” sounds much more like the Sheriff has an old beef of some kind … either that, or said Sheriff is trying to compensate for something and cannot afford a Ferrari Testosterone …

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  12. We’re presuming that S&R would have found her without Snodgrass’s independent action. I am inclined to think that the arrest was because someone was upset that they will not be getting TV face time as the rescuer, and hope that they now enjoy their fame as the people who arrested the rescuer.

    htom (412a17)

  13. Alasdair,

    The only assumptions I make in reading the article is that there is a lot of rafting that goes on for there to have guides, and as a result things like this probably happen regularly enough to have established protocols made over time for the best way to handle these situations.

    If it is an ongoing situation, I want the rescuers attention on the job at hand, not taking time to determine if the float guide is qualified to make a rescue or not.

    BradnSA (980254)

  14. This reminds me of a time when an Olympic kayak racer took advantage of the Potomac river being in flood stage to get in a little practice. The cops were so pissed they nearly drowned him (and themselves) when they arrested him. You see, he needed to be arrested because he was in “danger.” In fact, the only time there was any danger was when moronic law officers got involved.

    Rich Horton (b837cc)

  15. #9 MD in Philly:

    I imagine that the county, once called, is potentially liable

    The county may be liable, but the tour operator most definitely is liable, and has a preexisting contractual relationship with the “patient.” While the tour operator most likely required a waiver, I doubt that they could escape at least some degree liability, particularly because the customer in this instance was a minor.

    I do not see how the county can preempt that contractual responsibility in any reasonable manner.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  16. Reminds me of Lenny Skutnik.

    When the Air Florida 90 plane went down in the Potomac, professional “rescue” workers stood around watching Priscilla Tirado, a passenger, slide off and die in the icy water. All live on camera.

    Skutnik shoved aside the professional public safety onlookers and swam into the partially frozen river, saving her.

    Since the President was Reagan, Lenny got a medal instead of handcuffs. What a difference 28 years makes.

    RSweeney (8c99b8)

  17. Stuff like this always happens when the government is involved. Think Columbine – where the dirtbags continued to shoot victims as the police set up a perimeter. It takes time to roll out all the fancy gear, set up a CP and do all the check-the-box stuff. Meanwhile, citizens have a choice to wait or take action. Over regulation and bureacracy inhibit initiative and cost lives,thankfully not in this case.
    I agree that liability is the driving force in all this stupidity, but surely common sense and gratitude on the Sheriff’s Dept. part are in order.

    Pat (366dd8)

  18. RSweeney: According to Wikipedia, Leny Skutnik retired from the U.S. government after 31 years.

    aunursa (484069)

  19. Retired 7 days ago.

    aunursa (484069)

  20. Obey!

    Roark (61df49)

  21. Biggest problem we have allowed our government to make laws that just smack of big brother, sad part is they arrest him for going to help, and had he not gone to help they probably would of arrested him too for failure to act. with some of the things people are arrested for now a days it’s no wonder our prisons are full.

    John (7e8f9a)

  22. I don’t know all the facts, but I’m going to opine anyway. There’s no chance that him going into the water could have “jeopardiz[ing] the rescue operation” by bringing about *two* people to rescue.

    Also, we should just do away with most forms of government: SAR teams are a form of socialism. If people need SAR teams, let them hire private companies. Let the Market work its magic: people will hire the best SAR team based on their rescue rate. And, if that doesn’t work, based on their recovery rate.

    24AheadDotCom (af204a)

  23. Morons in charge of the asylum….

    Gabby (df70b7)

  24. we should just do away with most forms of government: SAR teams are a form of socialism. If people need SAR teams, let them hire private companies

    Not sure most of us would go that far. Public safety, such as law enforcement and fire fighting is a legitimate responsibility of government, even if aspects are contracted out. SAR seems integral to police and fire fighting work. While getting rid completely of some aspects of current government is the best solution, there will always be a need for some government, and there will always be a need for them to do their work well and with wisdom.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  25. He’s very capable and not just a summer-job guide. Also, he very well could have had as much or more whitewater experience as the entire rescue operation–if that girl was surviving for the time being, zero percent he would have had much a problem as to need rescue himself

    Morgan (30606e)

  26. When i hire a guide to guide me down river rapids I am also hiring that person to be there to help rescue me in a bad situation THAT IS WHY I HIRE A GUIDE!!! Most of these guides have been to actual schools designed for river guiding and are trained for SWR(swift water rescue). They are precieved as “river rats” but are really professionals at what they do. So sheriff please take the stick out of you know where. Thanks,Ryan, for doing your job. The next time I raft I hope your guiding in mine.

    mia (a46ca9)


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