Law needed to keep parents from leaving keiki in vehicles
For the fourth time this year, a vehicle with unattended children aboard has been stolen.
FOUR recent incidents involving Oahu children left unsupervised in vehicles fortunately have ended without injury or loss of life. That isn't always the case. Nationwide, at least 106 children have died so far this year in similar circumstances.
A bill to prohibit leaving children unattended in vehicles has failed to win approval in the state Legislature in the past four years. For parents, it might be punishment enough to come back to their cars and find children and vehicles missing, but a law should be enacted to discourage such irresponsible behavior.
Earlier this week, a thief drove off with a minivan in which two boys, ages 1 and 4, were sleeping while their mother stopped at a bank, leaving the key in the ignition and the engine running.
As with the three previous episodes, the woman intended to be gone for just a few minutes and thought nothing could happen in that short a time. She, like all the other parents, was proven wrong.
The minivan and boys were found safe and sound shortly thereafter, as had the others, but law enforcement officials say that the children and parents were extremely lucky.
The danger is not only from car thieves. A car with the engine running is an accident waiting to happen. What if a child inadvertently tampers with the car's controls, or a parent is somehow delayed in returning to the vehicle? Most alarming is the threat from kidnappers.
Despite publicity and warnings from authorities about the risks, some adults still think leaving children by themselves in cars won't end in tragedy.
Most parents would not leave their young children alone at home. A vehicle should be no different. If it will take a law to make them pay attention, one should be put in place.
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Blame was correct in ocean collision
A federal safety panel has concluded that senior naval officers were responsible for a collision at sea costing nine lives.
A federal investigation's affirmation of a military court's findings in the fatal collision of a Navy submarine and a Japanese fishing vessel should put to rest the commander's claim that he was made the court's sacrificial lamb. Scott Waddle was allowed to retire from the Navy after being relieved of his command and reprimanded, a mild wrist slap for his role in the tragedy.
Four teenage students, two teachers and three crew members aboard the Ehime Maru were killed when the USS Greeneville submarine, demonstrating its emergency surfacing capability to a group of civilians, sliced through the fishing boat's hull nine miles south of Oahu. The Ehime Maru sank within minutes.
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the accident probably was caused by "inadequate interaction and communication" among senior naval officers. "The failure of the crew, in particular the commanding officer, to adequately manage the civilian visitors so that they did not impede operations" probably contributed to the calamity, it said.
Although the civilians "did not directly cause the accident," the report said, their presence and the manner that they were accommodated, especially by Waddle, "had an adverse impact on the safety of operations."
Waddle testified before a military court of inquiry that he made "mistakes," for which he was "truly sorry," and later apologized to the victims' families. However, in an autobiography published two years ago, he wrote, "Somebody had to take a fall for it, and, as the court of inquiry progressed, it became more and more obvious that the court had already decided that the sacrificial lamb would be me."
Waddle has said the stripping of his command was "the greatest punishment that I ever could have endured." Negligence with such dreadful consequences deserved greater punishment.