What we need our leaders to do about the oil spill is to listen to things from all sides and exercise judgment - calm, sound judgment. Not a soul on the earth has any experience capping a mile-deep oil well. Nothing in our leaders experience will help them. We're going to have to hope that they are smart and not unnerved by the ridiculous pressures that come from outside the problem. We're going to have to hope that what the public thinks about what they are doing to work the problem doesn't change how they actually work the problem. The situation itself is pressure enough.
So if a crew member falls overboard and every looks O.K. - don't be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don't look like they're drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them: "Are you alright?" If they can answer at all - they probably are. If they return a blank stare - you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents: children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.
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