It seems Captain Schettino panicked. Who’s to say you wouldn’t?
The captain of the Costa Concordia will no doubt be vilified, but in the face of danger self-preservation is a natural reaction
Did the captain of the Costa Concordia jump ship? According to the transcript of the communication between Captain Francesco Schettino and the coastguard, it looks like he abandoned ship and then denied that he had left; latest reports from Italy have him claiming that he tripped and fell into one of the lifeboats by accident. Even if true, his story does sound like a typical example of someone who panicked in the face of danger and then came to realise that his actions would not be regarded as appropriate. After all, traditionally the captain is supposed to ensure the safety of his crew and passengers.
Schettino will undoubtedly be vilified for his actions – but how many of us can say that we would not have done the same thing? Self-preservation is an instinct, much in the same way that your instincts tell you to put your hands out for protection when you let yourself fall backwards. In the face of impending danger, our brains can swing into reflexive defence mode, operating much faster and more automatically than when they recourse to calm, rational reasoning. Respond first and ask questions later, is the message, rather than place yourself in harm’s way.
This is the “fight-or-flight response”, where our bodies flood with a cascade of hormones that mobilise the body for action. If we are not running away from danger, then we may be lashing out in anger. It’s the same response that some of us experience when cut up in traffic, triggering that all-to-common road-rage phenomenon.
The “flight” impulse is usually accompanied by blind panic. When we panic, reason and balanced evaluation of the situation is by-passed by escalating, disorganised thoughts of terror that automatically intrude into consciousness. There can also be a sense of depersonalisation, a feeling that everything around is unreal. In short, when we panic, we feel that we are out of control and not our old self.
Well, Mr. Bruce Hood, here is the critical difference between the Captain of a Ship and the average slob reading this blog post:THE CAPTAIN IS IN CHARGE! He is a Professional and his responsibility is for the lives and property of all the passengers and crew aboard his craft.
The Captain is supposed to be trained to respond in an emergency situation, that is why he was put in command! His training should override the panic instinct, that is why he is the Captain and not some untrained doofus. The same way that we, citizens of the United States, expect the President will display leadership in a national emergency and not hide in a bunker, sucking his thumb.
The theme song for this disaster should be “The Fail Will Go On.”