At first glance, this story doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with Greek life. However, if you’ve been to a decent variety of fraternity or sorority events, at some point, you’ve probably seen a giant inflatable, whether it be a bouncy house, a blowup slip and slide, or whatever. They make appearances at a fair amount of outdoor and day parties. So, now, if you’re a risk management chair preparing for a party, welcome to your newest nightmare.
Two young boys were seriously hurt late Monday afternoon when a gust of wind blew an inflatable “bounce house” into the air with three children inside, tossing two of them to the asphalt from at least 15 feet above ground.
One of the boys landed on a parked car while the other landed on pavement after being tossed out of the toy when the incident happened at about 3:20 p.m. off Ferry Boulevard.
Taylor Seymour, a resident of the apartment building where the accident occurred, said the wind picked the structure up and spun it around as if it was in a small tornado. One boy was thrown 30 or 40 feet northeast onto Ferry Boulevard, the other about 20 feet southeast, landing on the back of Seymour’s car. The bounce house was at least 15 feet off the ground when the boys flew out.
The wind blew the house more than 50 feet in the air.
Better go buy a shit ton of sandbags, Mr. Risk Manager. (It’s just risk manager, actually. No “mister.”)
Imagine if this same freak accident happened at a fraternity party. Is there any question the blame would be placed squarely on the fraternity and not the unstoppable force of nature that caused the accident? The headline would read something like, “Huge Gust Of Wind Lifts Frat Party Bounce House Into Air, Injuring Dozens, Alcohol Involved.” Involved in what?! A party? Or was God drunk and farting? I’m angry at my own fictional (but all too real) headline. Naturally, there would be quotes from school administrators forced to act in some way by the media, who used the school’s name and the word “frat” in the same sentence. “Omega Blah Blah has been suspended until the university can complete its investigation of the incident, and more specifically, what wind is, and if the fraternity could have prevented this “wind” character from doing nefarious, wind-related things.” Then, of course, some fraternity member would be interviewed, and he would describe the violent wind gust as “not frat at all.”
Fraternity houses: where even an unpreventable act of God is their fault, because fuck ’em–from what I’ve read, they’re terrible people anyway.*
*Ed. Note: Obviously there are scenarios in which some sort of real liability could be considered legitimate, but I feel confident in assuming there would be misplaced blame regardless of if that was true or not.