Fire Away!

By Dee Jay Gordon

| Previous Fire Away! | Index | Next Fire Away! |

Reader Responses

I remember when I was about 7 years old, I wanted to take my horse on a picnic - just me and my horse and a knapsack of lunch. My mother said, "No." When I was 13 and wanted to go on a date with a guy in a car, my mother said, "No." I remember her saying "No" a lot when I was a kid, and sometimes even after I was grown and gone. At the time, I remember thinking that she was a mean witch, out to spoil any chance I had of becoming independent and making my own decisions. Now I have my own kids and I feel a lot differently. Now I'm the mean old witch.

The Jessica Dubroff plane crash affected me deeply. Her statement, "I'm going to fly till I die," brings a chill up my spine. Jessica's mother, when she got the news of the crash, said, "I would want all my children to die in a state of joy." That would be fine, except I'll bet the last 30 seconds of Jessica's life weren't particularly joyful. Hurtling to the ground at who-knows-how-many mph can't possibly be a positive experience.

Was this a case of parents who pushed their child too far? Or was it that they couldn't say "No" to her? It's all well and good to want your children to achieve and to be proud of their accomplishments, but it's another thing entirely to let them endanger their lives for the sake of that achievement. Her mother said, "You don't know how badly Jess wanted this." Well, my daughter wants to be able to play outside in the street after dark. She wheedles and pleads extensively. She offers to do the dishes. "All the other kids get to," she whines. And guess what I tell her? "No!" When we go skiing and she asks if she can do the black diamonds alone, I tell her, "No!" I'm not trying to stifle her independence, I just know how I would feel if she were injured or killed because of my poor judgment.

Apparently Jessica's mother has learned nothing from this tragedy. In all of Lisa Hathaway's post-crash interviews, she has been unrepentant, declaring that she "would do nothing differently." When her older son told her he didn't want to fly anymore, she "begged him to re-choose." This type of irresponsibility is beyond absurd. What? One child didn't get in the Guinness Book of World Records, so now you've got to try out the other kid? That's okay, maybe when the Movie-of-the-Week comes out, she'll feel vindicated. Too bad Jessica's father isn't around to see it.

Our children live in an unsafe world. Every day there are a million situations they could encounter that could hurt them. It's insanity to urge them to be daredevils. Children think they're invincible as it is, and they don't need our encouragement. What were Lisa Hathaway and Lloyd Dubroff thinking, letting their 7 year old daughter fly a plane in a thunderstorm? Was setting a record so important that it couldn't wait for the storm to clear? I believe Jessica Dubroff was the victim of a stage father, who reveled in the media attention his daughter was receiving, coupled with a mother who wanted no restrictions put on her children. In the end, they sacrificed Jessica's life for their own ambition.

| Previous Fire Away! | Index | Next Fire Away! |

Copyright 1996 Virtually Everything, Inc., All Rights Reserved.