1. Computing

Deejays Don't Kill People, Random Variables Do

Opinion

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Mel Greig and Michael Christian, former deejays on 2Day FM

Mel Greig and Michael Christian, former deejays on 2Day FM

Mel Greig and Michael Christian, 2Day FM Publicity Photo
I just read a report about Australian deejays Mel Greig and Michael Christian, the two pranksters who were vilified after placing a prank call to a London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was staying. The first nurse that initially put their call through to Kate Middleton's attending nurse committed suicide after word of the stunt went public. I'm sure you remember the story.

Now comes word from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that no manslaughter charges will be brought against Greig and Christian. "Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime at the CPS, said there was no evidence to support a manslaughter charge and any potential prosecution would not be in the public interest," reported an AP story published at huffingtonpost.co.uk.

Really? Someone actually was mulling this over all this time? Were they also considering blaming rush hour traffic for potentially elevating stress and causing heart attacks? Or condemning the existence of cows because their meat is used to make steaks and red meat might contribute to colon cancer?

Bad Luck is not a Crime

It boggles the mind that somewhere along the way we have decided that living doesn't have random variables and someone must always be to blame. Everyone is a victim! And if everyone is a victim that must mean somebody perpetrated an act to make them the victim. The problem is, sometimes the chain of causality leading back from the "victim" to the perpetrator is flimsy or non-existent. Folks, we're just making a lot of our "outrage" up as we go along.

Mel Grieg and Michael Christian are radio performers. Well, they were. They've been fired now. But, they were paid to entertain. One day they made a crank call to King Edward VII's Hospital in London. Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was the one who put the call through to the attending nurse and later killed herself.

Radio personalities have used the prank call for decades to entertain audiences. I've done plenty in the past myself. I can assure you that thousands of prank calls of varying degrees have been placed by radio entertainers during the past 50 or more years with no casualties reported afterwards. What happened in this case was an anaomaly.

It is unfortunate that Jacintha Saldanha killed herself. I suspect she was dealing with more issues than just the embarrassment of mistakenly putting through the Greig and Christians call.

What if the call had never been made but rather, two local British look-alikes had posed as members of the Royal Family? Do you think they would have been able to get into that hospital with little trouble? I bet they could have.

What if Jacintha Saldanha had not been working the day the prank phone call came? Would she be dead anyway due to another event - or still alive? Would the call have

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