Of matters large and small

May 4 was the 43rd anniversary of the killings at Kent State. Remember it always.

Only in it for the chicks?: a post on Facebook led me to “No One Wants Crazy People To Have Guns, But Who Decides Who Is Crazy?“, by one Jack Donovan. He argues that white patriotic American manly male gun-owners are in dire peril from castrating bitches (politically progressive women, in other words) because of the demographics of the psychiatric community.

In other news, the American Shoot Kill Death Association has begun sponsoring psychiatric scholarships for delusional paranoid gun activists to promote a more nuanced view on sanity. The first winner’s essay is linked here.

“Oh, the humanity!”

May 6 marks the 76th anniversary of the Hindenburg Disaster. First launched in March 1936, The Hindenburg remains the largest airship ever constructed on this planet. At just over 800 feet in length it still dwarfs the largest mere aeroplane ever made. With a cruising speed of just over 75 miles per hour she could carry 72 passengers and 50 crew across the Atlantic in just over 2 days.

But 76 years ago on that fateful day in Lakehurst, NJ it took a little over 30 seconds for several million cubic feet of hydrogen gas to burn, claiming 36 lives and marking the end of the Age of Airships. Despite an official finding of electrical discharge being the cause, various theories continue to be debated. One first-hand report indicates that the stern port engine backfired in the seconds before the explosion that ripped apart the aft section.

In the face of that disaster, history records incredible acts of heroism that day. Chief Petty Officer Frederick J. “Bull” Tobin, a survivor of the wreck of the airship USS Shenandoah in 1925, was leading the Navy ground crews that day. Abandoning the passengers and crew of the doomed Hindenburg wasn’t going to happen if he could do anything about it. Tobin rallied his crews with the call “Navy men… stand fast!”, leading them back to  rescue survivors from the inferno. You can see his crews on the newsreel footage: they are the ones seen running into the blazing wreckage while everyone else was running away.  The bravery shown by  Tobin and his crews allowed the rescue of 62 of the 97 souls on board in the face of unprecedented catastrophe.

It is fitting to commemorate all that happened on that May 6.  The Hindenburg Disaster was the end of one possible future in the air, but it also allowed the part of the human spirit that puts Courage ahead of Fear to shine very brightly indeed. 

Tobinplaque

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