JOHN: That's right. There are habitual ways of living lives on the cheap and carelessly that sometimes we all fall into. Does anyone who answers their phone when they're driving think, "I'm going to kill someone today?" No. But perhaps we should think twice before we do that. By the same token, if you run a business — particularly that invites people in — you owe a duty to not make every decision in favor of profit over safety. I think that's the takeaway.
IF THE ROOT CAUSES ARE GREED, INDIFFERENCE. CAN THOSE THINGS EVER BE REMEDIED?
GINA: I think they can be fixed.
JOHN: You know, we do something funny regulating places. If you're overcrowded, we give you a little fine. If the fines approximated the extra money they make by overcrowding their venues, maybe you'd see a difference in behavior. But I don't think that happens.
PAUL:: Greed's not going to go away. That's human nature. But I mean, the sprinklers are something the state and the towns have to get involved and make sure people are safe. I mean, greed is going to be greed. But there's interventions that can be made.
YOU CAN TREAT THE SYMPTOMS, IF NOT THE CAUSE.
PAUL: They're in business to make money, right? But somebody has to step aside and say "safety first" or, at least, "safety as well."
AFTER ALL THIS, GINA, YOUR STORY SUGGESTS RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE. TELL ME HOW YOU'VE DONE AND HOW THE LARGER STATION COMMUNITY HAS DONE.
GINA: I think they've done incredible. There's still some that are stuck. They're not as vocal as myself and a large number of my friends — we're not afraid to talk about the fire. We've really grown from it. I love this life better than the one before the fire. I love how strong I am. I love what I've accomplished. Don't know that I would have done that before. I just would've gone about life. So it's definitely given me a new chance, a second chance, and I'm going with it. My friends go with it.
I'm grateful for the friendships that this fire has brought. I wouldn't give them up for the world. I cannot imagine my life without the survivors in it.
Lonardo is a writer and producer on a series of documentary web videos, "The Station," set to debut February 20. The series, from Rhode Island filmmaker David Bettencourt, will tell the stories of survivors, victims' families, first responders, doctors, nurses, lawmakers, and others affected by the fire. The first installment will focus on Russo. Go to thestationmovie.com.