Bob Holler was killed at a boogie on March 17, 2007, when Danny Paige, an S&TA, initiated a 270-degree hook turn into air crowded with skydivers and slammed into Bob. Bob and Danny both died from injuries sustained from the initial impact of bodies under canopy. Avoidable death of the innocent by hook turn has got to stop! What will it take to change the skydiving culture so that a hook turn in a crowded area is condemned rather than applauded? Danny did the hook turn intentionally; no one would try to say he did it accidentally, that he was unaware of the number of jumpers on his load and at the boogie, or that he didn’t know the risk of collision he created by not flying the established pattern at an increased ground speed with an accelerated rate of descent. I’m sure Danny figured he’d whip right through the maze, figured he’d get away with it, like a shooter thinking he could fire through the crowd for attention. I bet that Danny bet he was up to the risk, but he didn’t discuss any of that with Bob first. I’m sure he didn’t aim at Bob or mean to kill him. But I write about intentions, responsibility, and consequences. I’m sorry Danny died; I jumped with him a number of times over the years and he was good. But I’m furious that he killed my friend, Bob Holler, through an intentional act that could be viewed as criminal. If I intentionally drive my car onto a crowded sidewalk and kill someone, I’d be arrested for manslaughter even though I plead, “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.” In Florida, manslaughter is defined as a death caused by the culpable negligence of the defendant; the jury instruction goes on to define the criminal act of “culpable negligence” as follows: “Each of us has a duty to act reasonably toward others. If there is a violation of that duty, without any conscious intention to harm, that violation is negligence. But culpable negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care toward others. In order for negligence to be culpable, it must be gross and flagrant. Culpable negligence is a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights.” “A reckless disregard of the safety of persons… a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights” sounds like legalese for doing a hook turn into crowded air space. Don’t try to console me with “Bob died doing what he loved” because his death could have easily have been avoided and he could have loved skydiving for many more years. And certainly don’t add, “You take your chances when you skydive.” No, not all chances. Bob didn’t sanction someone using him as a target with complete indifference to Bob’s safety. Danny can’t be arrested for manslaughter for he killed himself as well as Bob with a hook turn that could be described as a “reckless disregard of the safety of persons.” Danny didn’t mean to kill Bob, but he meant to hook turn, to look cool at the crowded drop zone. At one point, deaths associated with DUI’s were viewed only as “sad.” Many things, including the force of MADD, changed that culture and now death by DUI is not accepted with a cluck and “He didn’t mean to,” but is strenuously prosecuted in criminal court. Though the drunk driver didn’t mean to kill the six year old, he is held criminally responsible because he meant to drink and drive. On the civil side of legal matters, bar owners are held financial liable if they serve drinks to a drunk who then drives and kills another. Could the DZO be similarly liable for failure to implement and strictly enforce a hook turn policy? (For example, hook turns only allowed in a designated and isolated area of the DZ, the first hook turn in violation gets you grounded for awhile, and the second gets you evicted from the DZ with perhaps a website identifying offenders to other DZO’s). DZO’s, cover your butt and save a life -- post a sign that says, “B.o.B. – Because of Bob, we won’t tolerate hook turns except in isolated, designated areas.” The reality is, many DZO’s wink at hook turns. Often those doing hook turns are the “sky gods”, those who love to impress the crowds, those who have the experience and money – in other words, those the DZO’s don’t want to alienate by separating them from the oooohs of the spectators as they swoop in. Will it take a lawsuit to stop this useless killing of innocent people? How many avoidable deaths are enough to create a change in the culture of skydiving? I, for one, think there have been enough, and B.o.B. – Because of Bob – it’s time to stop hook turns everywhere except in designated, isolated areas. There are those who think it’s their right to hook turn in front of people. There are those who read this will say, “I can do hook turns safely. It’s my choice. I can handle it.” Danny said the same thing, and he killed my friend, Bob. OK, so DZO’s have a major responsibility in fixing this problem. But what can you the jumper do? When you go to Manifest, ask if they have a hook turn policy; ask how it’s enforced. Then tell them “B.o.B – Because of Bob, I refuse to jump at a DZ that tolerates hook turns outside a designated, isolated area.” Take your gear and your money and walk away if the DZO doesn’t enforce a policy. It’s time to stop it now – Because of Bob.