Worlds of Fun

I have just read in my local newspaper a story that is appalling on so many levels I cannot begin to find the adjectives.

BUFFALO — Funeral services are scheduled for later this week for Army Sgt. James Hackemer, the amputee war veteran who fell to his death off a roller coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park & Resort.

Hackemer, who had lost both his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2008, was ejected Friday from the Ride of Steel coaster at the park.

The 208-foot-tall ride remained closed for a third day Monday as investigators looked into the accident.

A) This gentleman had no legs and they allowed him access to this ride anyway. The news story I’m reading today in the Democrat and Chronicle actually says the following:

Rules on Darien Lake’s website say riders must be 54 inches or taller to board the Ride of Steel. They don’t specify whether riders must have both legs, as do rules for some other coasters in the park.

Here’s a clue: If you are a double amputee, chances are good that you are shorter than four-feet-six-inches tall. Unless of course you are Robert Wadlow.

The accident of course has some bleeding-heart congressman clamoring about regulation. What an opportunist.

Wait. You mean he’s been clamoring for legislation to do something about this since 1999?

A Massachusetts congressman, meanwhile, renewed his 12-year-old call for federal oversight at amusement parks, including enabling the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate mishaps.

“While the cause of the accident that claimed the life of Sergeant Hackemer is still unknown, one thing is crystal-clear: Hypercoasters that hurtle riders at speeds exceeding 70 mph along 200-foot drops should not be exempt from federal safety oversight,” Edward Markey said in a statement.

His office Monday said the Democrat would soon re-introduce legislation he has proposed in every term since 1999, targeting what he calls a “dangerous loophole” that gives the CPSC oversight of traveling carnival rides but not those at permanent parks. Those are the responsibility of the states, which Markey said may lack the resources and experience to carry out effective checks.

So let’s get this straight. If you’re running a ride in a traveling carnival, you’re under the auspices of the Federal Government. If you’re Six Flags, then Bob McConnell is responsible for overseeing your coaster safety?

Do not. Ride coasters. In Virginia. I’m just saying.

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