I've tried, over the years, to rationalize what his thinking could have been. Other than stupidity, I'm not really sure. Someone screaming, "There's a fire," you might want to look. I'm not saying, "Hey dude, can I get on the tour bus." I don't like Great White that much!

And I remember Fred saying, "We can't stand here and argue with this man, we've got to go." Jack is still singing. And Fred and I got to about the middle of the club and that's when the rest of the crowd realized the ceiling's on fire, stuff's happening, and everyone started rushing toward that front main door.

And I don't know if it's when Fred started to feel sick, but he put his hand on the middle of my back and just shoved me and pushed and screamed "Go!" And I went flying through the crowd and made it to the ticket booth area that was right in front of that main entrance. And I remember looking around for Fred and I couldn't see him because it was black in there — at that point the lights were shattering and truly the ceiling was melting, what I've always called black rain over the years. Seeing people already on fire — their heads on fire. The screaming, the noise from the alarms — that's what's in my head, that will always be in my head.

And I just remember getting to that point and just praying to God for my kids — let them have a good life and let them forgive me for dying in this place. And I hit the hardwood floor. That was my last memory of being in The Station.

_DSC0311_main

GINA REACTED QUICKLY. BUT FOR OTHERS, IT TOOK TIME. JOHN, YOU SUGGESTED IN YOUR BOOK THAT THE DELAYED REACTION MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE PHENOMENON OF "COMMITMENT." TELL ME ABOUT THAT.

JOHN: It's not my term. It's the term of a woman named Guylene Proulx, who was a researcher in crowd behavior in Canada and she particularly studied crowd behavior in structure fires. And she described a phenomenon that she called "commitment," which is really commitment to the entertainment activity.

There's the thought among many people who attend a concert that, even if they're seeing something unusual that in other circumstances would give them great pause, you're kind of in denial. You paid good money to see this and perhaps it's part of the show. So I'm not saying it played an important part in a lot of the loss of life here, but it can cost seconds and as Gina mentioned, all it takes is seconds to make the difference between life and death.

YOU ALSO WROTE ABOUT HOW, IN THESE SITUATIONS, PEOPLE DIE AS THEY LIVED — IN COMMUNITY AND LOOKING OUT FOR LOVED ONES.

JOHN: That's not my concept either. There's a fellow who's written about the sociology of disaster and he did say that in disasters, we tend to die as we live. That is we look for our loved ones, we look for our friends, and we conform our conduct to what our loved ones are doing. We sometimes surrender our individual judgments in those situations.

AND THAT HAPPENED AT THE STATION?

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |   next >
  Topics: News Features , Books, History, Gina Russo,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIBERAL WARRIOR  |  April 10, 2013
    When it comes to his signature issues — climate change, campaign finance reform, tax fairness — Whitehouse makes little secret of his approach: marshal the facts, hammer the Republicans, and embarrass them into action.
  •   AT BROWN, A WIN FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVISTS  |  April 11, 2013
    A key Brown University oversight committee has voted to recommend the school divest from coal, delivering a significant victory to student climate change activists.
  •   HACKING POLITICS: A GUIDE  |  April 03, 2013
    Last year, the Internet briefly upended everything we know about American politics.
  •   BREAK ON THROUGH  |  March 28, 2013
    When I spoke with Treasurer Gina Raimondo this week, I opened with the obligatory question about whether she'll run for governor. "I'm seriously considering it," she said. "But I think as you know — we've talked about it before — I have little kids: a six-year-old, an eight-year-old. I'm a mother. It's a big deal."
  •   THE LIBERAL CASE FOR GUNS  |  March 27, 2013
    The school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut spurred hope not just for sensible gun regulation, but for a more nuanced discussion of America's gun culture. Neither wish has been realized.

 See all articles by: DAVID SCHARFENBERG