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jimmyh

Value (or not) of The List (World BASE Fatality List)

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How the List Came About . . .
The List began in raw form after I created the first BASE jumping bulletin board on the internet. This is early in 1985 and the board is hosted by GEnie. Slowly, as the very first computer savvy BASE jumpers began to appear online, we started to exchanged information about sites, accidents, and fatalities. There'd been only six BASE jumping deaths to that point, (since the modern form of the sport began in 1978) but there are many serious accidents. Almost no jumper of the time made it to one-hundred BASE jumps without a major plaster drama. I didn't.
I stopped updating the list at that point in trying to focus on the sport's more positive aspects while spending a summer contemplating my two broken legs. Later Nigel Slee, a longtime British BASE jumper, mailed me a story for the Fixed Object Journal about the death of a friend. Nigel brought up some tough questions regarding BASE fatalities that couldn't be readily answered because no one is actually keeping track. The BASE Fatality List is then up-dated and re-published mainly so newer jumpers wouldn't keep making the same mistakes over and over.




Personl question to anybody and everybody is there any BASE jumper here who would object to the truth being told about how a jump went in which they themselves died, even if it cited that they perhaps shouldn't have jumped in the conditions?

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Nick, do you have a spine?

I'm sure you spent a lot of time maintaining that site, and then take it down because one group, who honestly doesn't give a F brings up a post when one of their friends goes in?

Didn't you cower down with that ebonic translator, because one person said they were offended?

Add, I don't care either way about the list, it serves a purpose to new and old jumpers alike, but it serves a greater purpose to the media...
Gravity Research Institute

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Quoted from post #61:
I have had very mixed emotions about the list. I have read it from beginning to end. I visit it on occasion. I always pause at #103, take a deep breath and scroll on down to #104. I start to cry and I want to scream at Nick "he is more than a number on a list! He is my husband! #104 is Joe Lathrop, the love of my life!Wonderful Father to 3 children! The kindest, funniest, sexiest, thoughtful, most remarkable, beautiful man that ever walked the earth!#104 is where my life stands still. Where my future ended. It is the shattered remains of all my dreams, my hopes, my happiness, my heart, my world, my everything. NOT a number. And I cry and yell at the world for awhile.

Then I dry my tears, and take a step back. I think about "why" the list is there. Joe, knew about the list, and certainly never wanted to be on it. But, if one person reads his story, and learns from it, than it is quite possible, his story may have kept someone off the list. That is what he would have wanted.

As a future BASE jumper, the list is very sobering. I believe it should be read by anyone considering BASE.

The only suggestion I could add if it were to be changed. Because, everyone feels so different, and it is so personal. The public or media should not be a concern, they don't have to get it, or approve. Maybe if a spouse or close family or friends have strong feelings about their loved one on the list, a photo and or name could be witheld out of respect for them.

As much as it pains me to see my husband there, I think you do a good job, Nick. And I'm sorry the list keeps you busy.



I am truely sorry for your loss Jimmy, I just had my closest friend (I considered her my sister) die unexpectedly from cancer...not the same, but yet still the same in the feelings of loss. The above quote is from the wife of one of the fatalities. You have not had to lose your wife yet and your wife has not lost you, so you cannot know how much more of a loss this is to ms.sofaking unless you know her. Any loss hurts, but the loss of the father of your children and the love of your life...I can't even begin to imagine. Yet, she wants the list to continue to help others out. Her husband's death in base came from probably not removing a packing assist (IIRC). Don't you think people could learn from that. For me, I think I learn more by putting a name and a face to the lesson so it becomes more personal than just having faceless statistics that mean nothing to me.

Nick, I can understand you taking the list down. It has to be so hard to do the list and it has to weigh very heavily on your heart too. I am sure this was just the final straw that broke your back and made you say...it's not worth the fight anymore. I would like to ask you to reconsider your decision based on the fact that from what I have seen, most people here understand and need the list, and want it to remain the same.

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Personl question to anybody and everybody is there any BASE jumper here who would object to the truth being told about how a jump went in which they themselves died, even if it cited that they perhaps shouldn't have jumped in the conditions?



If I died BASE jumping, I'd want the facts of the incident to be public. I wouldn't mind if my name was attached to them, and I would want to be included on The List. Iif there were video, I'd prefer that BASE jumpers watch it, and try to learn from it.

I would not mind in the least if Nick wrote about me after I died. I'm sure that lots of other people would take the opportunity speak their minds about me as well, and there's nothing I can do to prevent that.
-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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I think separating the "online memorial" from the details is the best way to go. It'd make far more sense to use the data of each incident anonymously to present statistics on how people go in (with links to articles on how to prevent each incident). Then maybe have a have memorial page that honors the deceased by talking about (cliché, i know) how they lived, not how they died.

To be honest, I rarely look at the list because I see my buddies' faces planted right next to their fatal mistake, with little to no mention on how much they rocked up until that split second that the shit hit the fan. It's no way to recognize or honor the dead. And the numbers thing is really morbid... like a collection.

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As I've now removed the List from the Internet...



I hope a lot of the newer jumpers (who won't have the benefit of the List) have an extra large bucket of luck, because their knowledge bucket just got a whole lot smaller...

-Will

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As BASE jumpers, we do not own the memories of these people.


politicians, actors, etc. can all say the same. historians make a living "recording" a perspective from which many disagree.

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If for learning, posterity, and the advancement of the sport, we need a list of the statistical circumstances that resuted in a fatality, which should be made public on the internet, great. Now that's an endeavor I would applaud.

But the list was in very bad taste and in dire need of reworking.



you present an image of a free spirit, enjoying what many do not understand (getting maced, then shotgunning a beer).

you enjoy breaking the norms, defying convention (training Clair).

now you wish to establish standards of conduct?
has someone stole your password?

I've disagreed with things you've done, but still have tried to defend you from unwarranted criticism. now this.

your argument would be far more credible if you stepped to the plate and offered an alternative; show us what you would applaud. simply complaining does not suit anyone, let alone you. are you getting old?:P
DON'T PANIC
The lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
sloppy habits -> sloppy jumps -> injury or worse

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There are at least two sides to every issue. One may not agree with why and how the list disappeared, but they can try and understand.



agreed.
people can choose to:
1) complain, bitch, moan (act negatively)
2) take action to create a preferable alternative (act positively)

I just prefer option 2)!
which also seems to be the preference of Spatula Rigging. cool.
and it also appears the preference of Jimmy Hall's family/friends/fans who created a special website. again, cool.
DON'T PANIC
The lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
sloppy habits -> sloppy jumps -> injury or worse

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Geez, harden up Jimmy, we've all lost friends... Guess what? They're on the list...

And hey, some of us actually learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before us... That was the whole purpose of the list.

The list was just fine the way it was, and served a useful purpose, it didn't need modifying to make it palatable for those little whiney bitches that couldn't take seeing a number next to their buddies name.

When next someone goes in coz they tied a pull up around their pc, or they over delayed in the fog, or they go unstable on an underhung cliff or they got suckered low on a wingsuit jump, well you can just accept some of the blame, coz they didn't have access to the list any more...

Nick, thanks for all the effort, and know that you provided a valuable service to at least one of us and I applaud your contribution to making BASE what it is today.

~Edited to remove confrontational content.

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To me THE LIST is a great tool, and a constant reminder not to get complacent. I did not find anything disrespectful about it. It's a tribute. It's a collection of facts. It's something to refer back to next time you almost say "fuck it, it will probably work" . Basically I think THE LIST does a good job of keeping people OFF OF it ...

But of course bitching and moaning is fun too ...

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Ease down, there. We can discuss this topic without resorting to calling people names.

Remove the 1st and 5th paragraphs of your post, and it would still convey your point quite well, and it wouldn't be nearly so confrontational. Wouldn't that be a better way to make your point?
-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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Most people bicker about their differences without realizing how much they have in common. There are lessons in the List and I personally think it could not have been done any better than it currently has been done by Mr. Nick DG. I have friends on the list and I feel good that they are remembered for what they did and I consider the list to be a celebration of life, the human spirit, and a lesson for those who want to proceed along a similar path.

Jimmy, suicide destroys every friend and family member of the suicide victim. Chill out. We're all original and original - just like everyone else - and most people in the world have run the gamut of emotions dealing with things even more tragic.

The list should stay as it is and we should actually send a care package to Nick for his hard work as the writing funeral director of BASE. This list has kept more people out of trouble than you could imagine... - including me.

Thanks Nick!

Chris
BASE 460
atomic physicist
Looks like a death sandwich without the bread - Steve Deadman Morrell, BASE 174

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Jimmy, I'm very sorry about your recent and past losses. It really hurts. It always hurts. I know that you said you were done with the conversation. You've given your salutations to Nick. But I know you'll be back to see who's posted what next. I was in that boat 6 months ago.

Ms.sofaking is one of my best friends. Her husband Joe was a big brother to me. Always watching out for me, pushing me when I needed it, employing me when I needed it, and making me feel like I was the best damn person just when I needed it most. I really miss him. Ms.sofaking's reply is extremely honest. I've only seen the kind of love that her and Joe had a couple times in my life. Joe's death has been a tremendous loss! As a friend I still find myself going off my deep end of grief because I'm pist at Joe for leaving Ms.sofaking and his kids with so much pain and sorrow.

After 6 months (and it still feels like it's only been a month) Ms.sofaking is reaching out and saying that Nick's work is a helpful tool. She does understand loss and she understands how Joe's death being publicized has helped others. I also want to commend her on her strength through all this. She is such a beautiful person. I really hope you listen to what she has to say about this list.

I had to dig a little bit for it but check out this thread. (Iowa Skydivers Drunk and Rude @ Twin Falls Outback) It may be easiest to click on my profile and look up my comments to find the post. This is a thread that begun very shortly after Joe's death. It still hurts but I've learned alot from Nick and Tom and even Sullyflyer, who I now hold dear to my heart. You'll understand what I mean if you read this thread.

I bring it up, because it's a great example of sheer anger, denial, blame and tons of pain. Sullyflyer had a very valid point and it got lost through all the drama of emotions and the occassional assholes that pop in on threads to fuel the emotions for their own sick entertainment. I bet if I was thinking more rationally, the way Sullyflyer worded his post would not have bothered me as much. But, like the list, you're angry, your in denial and you just want to beat something beautiful! Then Eureka! You found a target. Mine that day was Sullyflyers thread. I think yours is Nick's list.

My point is, know that people here understand loss. Is it possible that you are projecting your emotions onto Nick? (Totally rhetorical question.) Give it some thought. If so, please ask him to reconsider his resignation. It's very apparent throughout this thread that this list has helped more than it has hurt. I would much rather have someone like Nick or Tom or Sullyflyer (who's not in this thread) manage such a heart wrenching list, than someone with less respect for the beauty of life and people that these men have. And I do think that when it comes to BASE jumping, this list is a helpful tool. Not only to learn from but also in a strange way it builds a tighter camaraderie amongst you crazy f*ckers :$ (referring to the BASE family). And that's very, very important to hold on to.

Joe made a huge mistake. A very stupid mistake. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at the pictures trying to deny them. Joe was an excellent jumper. His death is very hard to make sense of. But even in his death he's given me many gifts. Him continuously teaching me is at the top of the list.

Much empathy and respect ~ a wuffo to BASE

Life is short. Live, laugh, love often!

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Lets take a look at the poster who's name appears at the beginning of this thread.

He is one who prides himself on his personal carnage footage. example. On one of his videos, a skydiver hits power lines at Lodi. The poster is videoing the incident. When it happens, there is no wondering if the individual is ok. All you here is the original poster screaming euphorically "I got it on video, I got it all on video!!!!!"

He is one who prides himself on death camping improperly prepared jumpers. example. The YouTube video of his then 16 year old wife with 0 canopy experience on the death side of the rail with a twist in her MLW and an unprepped PC. Or the UK jumper that MAc expressed such dismay about.

He is one who prides himself with HIDAGAF or whatever the lame acronym is, but obviously only until his own feelings are hurt.

He is one who ridicules DZ.com, but jumps at the chance to shamelessly promote himself as a possible co-moderator to TA.

He is one who ridicules DZ.com, but anytime anything that involves his personal (ie. selfish) agenda is at stake uses this site for the shameless self promotion of his ideas/ideals.

He is one who claims to not know who took care of the list - when NickDG has his personal bio, an image and his email on the very same list. When the original poster has had conversations with Nick that he obviously was upset with the outcome of.

He is one who posts of how "disgusting" the BFL is, yet several posts later speaks of making it into a drinking game. And taking pictures of jumpers passed out for the list.

You can view the above in two ways. 1. As a list of uncorrelated events/occurences OR 2. As a deplorable pattern.

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1) have you ever seen something really funny where the person didn't get hurt and you wished to God you had your camera? I have a million times. When I got the shot of that guy hitting the power lines which obviously saved him from a very serious injury, I was stoked and I was like for once, "I totally got that shot."

2) the twist in the main lift web, while looking a little ugly, in no way put her in any danger and the pilot chute would have inflated the second she let go of it. It's not like we had a restrictive device tied around it.

3) the jumper MAc has issues with has enough experience to begin his BASE career

4) Honestly I don't give a fuck, and my arguement has been misunderstood about the List from the very beginning except by Nick who obviously got every word.

5) I riducule DZ.com because a lot of the time it's very, very lame. Without DZ.com, the List would still be up. And yes I would make a great moderator because I often bring differing, if not always popular ideas.

6) I'm not selfish. You're selfish because anytime I have something to say that doesn't fit into your model of the way BASE should be pursued, you try to call me out on really superficial complaints which obviously hold no water.

7) I don't know who runs the list. I know it is a guy Named NickDG who I spoke to once about a rig for Clair. The conversation ended with him telling me that they would be happy to make her a rig after she turned 18. I said, "cool" no problem and we hung up. No big deal there, but it doesn't mean I know him. I couldn't pick him out in a line up. and as far as the guy who writes the list, I'm not sure any of us really know who that is. I'm talking abut who that man really is when he's fulfilling his role as List caretaker.

8) The List is disgusting and so is the sport wide fascination with it. That's my opinion and it has consitently been my opinion ever since the day I realized it existed. My post about the drinking game was completely facetious and sarcastic. I mean seriously taking pictures of your passed out friends and sending them to a guy who will use them as photos for their "memorial" shot on the Death List? That's almost as sick as pissing on your friend's grave.

Hey bro before you try to call me out on my behavioral patterns, why don't you look at some of patterns that are seen again and again and again by the participants of this sport.

I'll take this conversation private whenever you are ready.

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...the twist in the main lift web, while looking a little ugly, in no way put her in any danger...



Some things can be indicative of a lack of attention to detail without being life threatening. It's important to pay attention to those "gentle" reminders, because in BASE, eventually the reminders will stop being gentle.


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...the jumper MAc has issues with has enough experience to begin his BASE career



That may be a matter of opinion, in which yours varies from Mac's. You've clearly stated, on numerous occasions, that in your opinion no previous experience is necessary to begin BASE jumping. Given that, I'd say that by your standards, anyone has "enough experience to begin his BASE career."



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...And yes I would make a great moderator because I often bring differing, if not always popular ideas.



I think that you're misunderstanding the role of the moderator here. It doesn't really matter what the moderators' ideas and opinions are, and it's not necessary that a moderator have any particular opinions, or express any opinions. Moderating the forums is a task that is often unrelated to posting on them.



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...anytime I have something to say that doesn't fit into your model of the way BASE should be pursued, you try to call me out...



You realize that you're replying to someone who has made two total posts, right? I doubt that this poster has responded "anytime [you] have something to say."




Seriously, Jimmy, I've seen you provide well thought out justifications and answers for many of your opinions, even those that are way out of the mainstream. Would you be willing to answer a couple questions for me?

1) What is the negative impact on a student of reading The List? It seems like you think that it's not just unnecessary, it's actually a negative, that somehow hurts the students learning process. Can you explain why you think this? Can you give examples where reviewing The List made a student more likely to be hurt?

2) What happened to "not giving a fuck?" You obviously do care about what the greater BASE community is doing in this case. This really seems to fly in the face of your oft-proclaimed personal philosophy. Can you reconcile this? Is it possible that other people honestly do give a fuck about some of the stuff that you loudly proclaim "HIDGAF" about? Could it be that some of the things you've done, that other people have protested, have actually been things they care about? Can this experience help you put yourself in those other people's shoes, and realize that going through life "not giving a fuck" may not be the most useful philosophy, and that perhaps showing some concern for others points of view might be more productive?
-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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Hey Tom,
I realize that MurderBase just made the profile, but I was assuming that under a different name he's probably vocalized issues about my actions in the past, and I often reply to one person as though I'm replying to a whole group, cuz that saves time.

Now to answer your questions, they're super easy:

1) My issue with the list is not that students learn from it and therebye begin with a stronger foundation of knowledge which will help them stay alive. If it were purely that, I would be on the side of keeping it, of course.

My problem is that it reads and often is read like the Darwin Awards, except that the Darwin Awards at least change the names of people and don't post pictures, I think. I have been in rooms where people are hunched over computers laughing out loud while reading the BASE fatality List, with quite a few "Oh My God What a Fucking Idiot!" thrown in. It's not a very good memorial site in my opinion. I still believe that the person writing the list has morbid fascination with his job as list guy, I also think that BASE jumpers are fascinated to a degree of unhealthiness with it. Remember the "Who's gonna be #100" conversation? #100? Who's it gonna be? Then there was a post titled "#100 was in my back yard." Like it was a claim to fame. The writer of the list and those who love it have a thing for the process of the tragedy involved in it.

But when called on it, everyone says it keeps people alive.

Tom, I also have an issue with the fact that you have your students write a letter to their family before they start BASE jumping as if they had gone in.

I hear your reasoning behind it, and I know why you do it, but I still find it morbid and would not reccomend your course for that simple fact. It's an obsession with death and that which we obsess on becomes reality.

Again, I do not have a problem with new BASE jumpers learning from past mistakes.


that leaves your HIDGAF question right?

I honestly don't give a fuck whether you think I actually give a fuck about certain things. See what I mean?

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Tom, I also have an issue with the fact that you have your students write a letter to their family before they start BASE jumping as if they had gone in.

I hear your reasoning behind it, and I know why you do it, but I still find it morbid and would not reccomend your course for that simple fact. It's an obsession with death and that which we obsess on becomes reality.


I noticed Tom did this. I understand this completely.
I think should you ever walk in the shoes of a widow or parent who has lost a child you might change your opinion on this one. I don't know Tom's personal story, or why he seems to have such insight to the needs of family left behind, but he does. I think the letter is a way of truly looking at the impact your death would have on your family. And provides answers to questions your family may need. It is not obessing about death. Do you consider having a will or life insurance obsessing about death? You seem to have changed your philosophy after a death hit close to home. I am sorry for your loss. You might also have a different opinion about the letter if it should happen to your spouse. Losing a spouse is something you cannot begin to fathom until it happens to you. I know I could not have. And although my husband did not leave such a letter, we spoke of the possibillities. I want you all to know, coming from a grief stricken wife left behind, the letter is a good idea. And anyone questioning the letter should make the effort to get the opinions of family who has suffered this loss, as I am not alone.
"I'm not sure how it's going to turn out, except I'll die in the end, she said. So what could really go wrong? -----Brian Andreas

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I'm not going to get in the middle of all aspects of this little drama, but I have seen MANY posters hammering Jimmy about HIDGAF and referring to it as his "philosophy" of life (or words to that effect) as if it supposedly applied to everything in his life. I've been reading here a long time, and while I have seen HIDGAF thrown around a lot (obviously including by Jimmy), I have NEVER seen Jimmy say that applied to everything in his life. Maybe you and the others here who want to take shots at him have taken it that way, but I am pretty sure you can't find a single post where he has said that applies to everything. I mean, after all, it's HIDGAF, not HIDGAFA[bout]A[nything]. There is nothing inherently contradictory about him caring about some things and still touting HIDGAF with respect to other matters. So enough about HIDGAF. If you want to keep hammering him about his views regarding the list, go ahead. But get off the HIDGAF shit! It's really not part of the issue here. It's just something associated with Jimmy that you are now using to get in some digs at him with.

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It's an obsession with death and that which we obsess on becomes reality.



By this logic, you should never practice your emergency procedures while skydiving, because practicing them will lead you to experience a cutaway.

Sticking your head in the sand doesn't make dangers go away--it just makes them blindside you because you aren't watching out for them.
-- Tom Aiello

[email protected]
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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