West Warwick, RI tragedy
In the IUKF and in many other martial arts organization, we try to promote safe and quality martial arts classes, tournaments and other events, and I am proud to say, at least for the IUKF, that we have a well educated and talented membership.
Those of you reading these forums may have followed what is being done to make martial arts and the associated events both enjoyable for spectator and participants. The ideas occur easily such as having proper equipment, safety standards, and well trained officials.
We also have the legal side where understanding exposure to civil suits and criminal prosecution are very real and a serious threat to the future of martial arts schools and promotion.
Some fundamentals are that dojo owners have insurance protection to protect not only the school and the promoters, but also the monetary assets of both. Lawsuits are designed to fish for deep pockets and a whole trail of evidence and conduct will be examined.
Insurance companies who specialize in these sport and school oriented coverage are quite knowledgeable, and will require the schools and promoters to have proper equipment and other safety factors too numerous for this post.
This will also offer protection against liability related to the conduct of the people responsible associated with the insured organization.
IUKF and many other organizations have been very actively involved in these issues and have taken steps to limit liability while promoting protection against negligence and running a fair and profitable business at the same time.
The same issues involve other forms of dealings with the public and what entrepreneurs can do to protect themselves and the public.
The Chicago stampede tragedy, only weeks before the West Warwick debacle are graphic examples of how very serious exposure can result in serious criminal indictments as well as monetary ruin.
I was not able to attend Joe Pomfret’s fights, most of which I had seen and from sensei Van Canna’s description and those of other persons present, the Taunton event at the Matrix, could have resulted in a similar tragedy. I am certain that the promoters were well intentioned and tried to have a great fight card and enjoyment for the patrons.
But the devil is in the details.
I believe that the owners of “The Station”, in West Warwick never meant for anything bad to happen, especially since the Great White was a 1980’s band and catered to the 30’s plus age group and perhaps better self-disciplined than the younger rock audiences.
However, as in any self-defense situation, one must prove their case. Do not be deluded into believing that you don’t have to worry because there is the constitutional requirement of the prosecution having to prove their case. In most states self-defense issues require a strong foundation if they are to be pleaded.
Slight differences in the facts in the West Warwick case can result in either prosecution and/or civil Liability. I can’t comment more on a matter under investigation, but you get the drift.
So much as for the duty of schools and promoters.
The reality is that only you can be sure of your own personal defenses, and even if you are a fatalist, you need not aid and abet the devil.
Don’t be afraid to ask if the event that you intend has adequate ingress and egress with such things as illuminated exit signs. In the Martial Arts sector for you as a participant, or your entering a child in a martial arts school, whether standards are met for safety of equipment, and for any promulgation can provide for rules and safety, and if the officials are trained with such rules as the IUKF, KRANE or some of the other world wide organizations.
Call me chicken if you will, but personally, at a cinema, I opt to sit close to an exit.
I was quite happy to hear that Raffi was not involved or related to the owner’s of the West Warwick night club. He is also an example of a person who practices the best in the rules of safety and promoting an event, and at least in the IUKF, we have a plethora of such people.