Clarkson on Human Failings

…we all make mistakes, but the result of these mistakes varies drastically depending on the environment in which we make them.

When a supermarket checkout girl incorrectly identifies a piece of broccoli as cabbage and you are over-charged by 15p, nobody really cares.

But what about those who incorrectly identified a live bullet as blank, put it into the magazine of an SA-80 and heard later that a seventeen-year-old Royal Marine had been killed as a result?

…as mistakes go, loading the wrong bullets into a magazine is exactly the same as loading the wrong information about broccoli into a checkout weighing machine.

…We are going to have to stop penalising people for making that most human of gestures — a mistake.

…So long as there’s an opportunity to profit from the simple, unintentional mistakes of others, then there will always be a desire to lash out. To blame. To turn some poor unfortunate soul who just happened to be in the wrong job on the wrong day into a human punchbag.

17 June 2001

Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do have have a lot of sympathy for the poor sods who make an honest mistake and get hung out to dry as a result. Crucified by the media and dragged through the courts because their eye was off the ball one day.

Particularly if they don’t earn very much. Nurses, train and coach drivers and the bloke who should shut the doors on the Herald of Free Enterprise are hardly well-paid and yet they hold our lives in their hands in their own way.

So when the driver of the coach on that ‘very reasonable’ tour of Europe misses the hairpin and launches us on a direct descent of the Alps, our first thought isn’t, “Ah, that’s why it was so cheap,” but “Who can I sue?”

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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