Conservative commentator Tony Katz said on the National Rifle Association's radio program that some victims of both the May 23 bridge collapse in Washington state and Hurricane Katrina were blameworthy for not doing enough to protect themselves.
Katz, who hosts a radio show and is a contributor to a number of conservative news sites, also claimed that not a single British citizen cared about a May 22 attack on a British soldier in London “because they have an entire society now where you can kill a soldier in broad daylight and no one says, 'let's do something about this.'” Host Cam Edwards claimed that bystanders in the aftermath of the attack were “docile” and “nobody did anything.” From the May 24 edition of Cam & Company on NRANews.com:
While criticizing the actions of victims of recent disasters, Katz claimed that some victims of Hurricane Katrina were “up to their knees in water screaming out, where is the government to help me?” He added: “Well if you don't know how to get to dry land or how to move before the storm comes, this is what you get.”
On the Washington bridge collapse, Katz claimed that some uninjured victims refused to make the “easy” swim from their vehicles to the shore of the Skagit River:
KATZ: It happened just yesterday, this bridge collapsed in Washington state.
KATZ: Well one of the guys tells a story about how his shoulder separated, like his shoulder popped out. And his wife was next to him. He popped his own shoulder into place and then got his wife to get out. Now that's a guy fully actualized and knowing that he has to live. Where this thing dropped seemed to me not to be very far, I mean easy get over to the banks where you can get onto dry land. Some of them waited on their cars for an hour for help to arrive.
What has happened in our entire evolution of the past 30 years that we've gone from guys who were standing on the street jumping into ice water to save a woman and here we have people who are 25 feet from shore, if they weren't injured, couldn't make that swim, or ten people couldn't create a human chain. Or it took an hour to get some kind of boat.
Beyond the questionable commentary that there is an attitude in the United States where people are unwilling to try to save their own lives in the face of disaster, Katz and Edwards left out key details from reports on the bridge collapse and London attack.
According to news reports, all three individuals who were traveling along the Interstate 5 bridge when it collapsed sustained injuries. Furthermore, there are good reasons why no one attempted to swim to shore. At the point where the bridge collapsed, the Skagit River was 18 feet deep with a water temperature of 46 degrees. Far from an “easy” swim to safety, the water was reportedly filled with “tangled bridge wreckage,” according to local NBC affiliate KTVZ.
Regarding the London attack, where two men hit British soldier Drummer Lee Rigby with a car before attacking him with knives, a bystander intervened and attempted to render aid to Rigby. According to the Associated Press, the bystander, Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, attempted to calm down the attackers after determining that Rigby was deceased. Loyau-Kennett has been hailed as a hero and British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that she “spoke for us all” when she told the attackers that they would fail to start a war in London.