The crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others a week ago today, made me think of two similar accidents. John Kennedy Junior’s fatal flight in 1999, and his uncle, Ted Kennedy’s, in 1964, en route to Springfield, Massachusetts to accept the nomination for the U.S. Senate.
His pilot, Edwin Zinny, told him the weather was bad, and they shouldn’t take off, but Kennedy insisted, the plane crashing into an orchard, killing Zinny and Edward Moss, Kennedy’s legislative assistant. He himself escaped alive, but with a collapsed lung and three broken vertebrae, hospitalized, forced to lie on his stomach strapped to a board, for five months.
Cut to, thirty-five years later, his nephew in similar circumstances, being warned not to fly his Piper Saratoga in foggy weather, but like his uncle, ignored the warnings, but unlike his uncle, didn’t survive, taking his wife and her sister with him.
What does this have to do with Kobe Bryant’s accident? I’m thinking, Kobe too, might have been warned by his pilot, Ara Zobayan, against flying in foggy conditions, but also may have insisted. Why else would a seasoned pilot make such an error, crashing into a hillside, killing himself along with eight others on board?
Is hubris the cause?
We all know the Kennedys are famous for it, the old, the rules just don’t apply to us, but what about Mr. Bryant, was he a little like that too?
It’s already been a week since Kobe, his thirteen year-old daughter, Gianna, along with seven of their comrades, had their lights put out like candles in the sky, a humble reminder how quickly life can end, for whatever reason.