SAFETY HERO & BUM OF THE WEEK

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SAFETY HERO OF THE WEEK: The Fukushima 50: Risking Their Lives to Prevent a Meltdown

In the past few days, the eyes of the world have been on the “Fukushima 50,” the workers of the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant workers who have put their lives on the line by remaining at their posts struggling to restore power to the reactor’s cooling system.

With each hour, as the men and women of the Fukushima 50 absorb more radiation, their chances for survival decrease.

Even more tragically, it’s looking more and more like the meltdown they’ve been so battling so bravely to prevent is going to occur.

But whatever happens, one thing is clear: The exploits of the Fukushima 50 will endure as a symbol of heroism and a reminder of how tragedy brings out the best of the human spirit.

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SAFETY BUM OF THE WEEK: The Montreal Police: Meddling in NHL Dumbs Down Safety Laws

At 6 –foot-9, 255 lbs.) Boston Bruins’ defenseman Zdeno Chara is one of the largest and most feared players in the NHL. On March 8, Chara, checked Montreal Canadiens’ forward Max Pacioretty (6 foot 2, 195 lbs.) into the boards.

It was a violent hit, one that put the 22-year-old Pacioretty in the hospital with a broken neck and concussion.

It was also an illegal hit. Chara received a 5-minute major penalty and game misconduct.

But was the Chara hit on Pacioretty more than the kind of violent and illegal hit warranting 5-minute penalties that occur in every few NHL games?

The NHL reviewed the tape and concluded that it was not. Chara was not suspended.

But the Canadiens’ fans watching the game were outraged and flooded the Montreal police with calls demanding a criminal investigation. Unfortunately, the police took the bait and the investigation is ongoing.

Are you kidding me?

As a rabid hockey fan, I’m the first to admit that violence on the ice occasionally crosses the line into criminality. But I’m talking Todd Bertuzzi and Marty McSorley—incidents where sticks are used as weapons.

Body-on-body hits rarely constitute acts of criminal assault. Certainly, the one by Chara, who’s not known as a dirty player, did not. Such hits are a staple of hockey, the kind of hit every hockey player knows about and consents to when lacing on the skates. This is the message the NHL sent in not suspending Chara. And the NHL was 100% right.

Of course, body-to-body hits may violate NHL restrictions, the way Chara’s did; but the punishment for such hits should be the penalty box, not the jail cell.