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Thoughts, Prayers and GoFundMe

PLSN Staff • Editor's NoteJune 2019 • June 16, 2019

I’ve been saddened by some of the horrific accidents that have taken place in our industry recently. From people dying unnecessarily to gear flying in that could have easily killed someone. Accidents happen, they say…but do they need to, in this day and age? I think not.

‡‡         An Affordable Umbrella

I don’t know about the rest of the you, but the fact that there are people in our business that feel they can resort to a GoFundMe page to look after their family when they are gone as opposed to a life insurance policy, just saddens me. I contribute a few bucks to all of these when they cross my path, but it just keeps showing me how unprepared we as a business are and how we fail to look after our own. And it keeps bothering me how people can go through life ten foot tall and bulletproof, until the minute they’re not.

I think everyone that passes on from this world would like to think they left a bit of a legacy. Something to be remembered by. It’s sad that we have colleagues that are gone. You know what’s sadder? The legacy I will remember about these folks is they left a family behind to fend for themselves. Not much in the bank, a mortgage, a couple kids, and now burial costs that will wipe out whatever nest egg remained. These friends of mine didn’t even give the ones they loved a fighting chance at staying afloat. My $50 GoFundMe donation will cover a couple pizzas. Who feeds them tomorrow? Thoughts and Prayers?

Life Insurance doesn’t cost that much. Myself, I buy just enough that my mortgage will get paid off, my kids will have enough to pay for their college tuition, and I can sleep comfortably knowing they won’t be on the street. I pay $2K a year for half a million dollars’ worth of peace of mind. That equates to one really nice dinner a month that my wife and I can skip. And I’m a 60-year-old former cancer patient. It’s so much more affordable than you think (and your monthly health insurance bill). Does anybody want to be remembered as that person that depended on others to look after their family? No.

‡‡         Mandalay Bay Accident

I’m sure somebody knows, but nobody’s talking about the reason we all were looking at a pile of crashed LED tiles on the Mandalay Bay floor last month (fortunately, with no injuries.) Facebook speculation can run rampant — and I think it should. I saw all sorts of people engaged in conversation, and this is what is needed in the business. Even if some wrote in to say people should “hush up and mind their own business, they weren’t there, they don’t know.” I think that is the totally wrong attitude to take. I think discussions should take place. We need to point fingers for one reason — so we can set some rules up so this doesn’t happen again. Educate those reading about it so they know what to look for.

I found myself talking to Clay Hutson, a respected touring rigger the other day. I asked, “When does it become the rigger’s job to double check how video walls are hung, how spansets wrap a truss, how audio bumpers are engineered?” The bottom line is that whoever rigged that show will be remembered until the day they die as the guy who rigged that video wall that fell down. Sure, it’s not fair, but it’s life. The rigger probably had no call in how that LED was hung, what it weighed (not what the tech said it weighed) or if it was all hung as designed by the manufacturer. I’m sure the rigger simply did their job and hung the point where they were told to, trusting some LED tech to look after their company’s multimillion dollar investment.

I imagine that video wall came down for a reason. We need to talk about all the reasons this could have happened, and educate the masses. What we don’t need is to be told to shut up, as we don’t know the facts. Speculation may help open some eyes. Let’s get the facts out there. Let’s teach everyone. Let’s prevent this from happening again. Let’s not ignore it until it happens again.

We’re just not cowboys anymore. Just because anyone can buy, assemble and fly a rental video wall now doesn’t mean they should. They need to have experienced people show them the ropes, teach them about having enough motors hung to make sure a structure will stay in the air should one point fail. The stuff they don’t teach you in the LED assembly manual.

Nobody wants to talk about these two uncomfortable issues. But then again, nobody expects to fall out of the roof or have a piece of gear do the same. These are all preventable if we follow the rules. But as long as we have cowboys making it up as they go, we will continue to wince at GoFundMe pages.

For Nook’s video introduction to the June 2019 issue of PLSN magazine, go to


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