On March 25, 1911, one of the most tragic and horrific fire occurred on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floor of the Asch Building in Greenwich Village, NY. The incident resulted in the sadly death of 146 people, 123 women and 23 men. All the people who died in this tragedy, worked for the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory owners that had been criticized to have overworked, underpaid, and forced employees to work in unhealthy, unsafe, working conditions. While all these may be true, and the owners of the factory Max Blanck and Isaac Harris were accused to be at fault for the entire incident, I believe there is plenty of blame to go around and the most important being – personal responsibility.
Aside from not having sprinkler systems, unlocked staircases, multiple elevators, fire drills, and lack of other fire preventive measures in the factory, I would point to the fact of the actual cause of the fire – discarded cigarette in the fabric dumpster bin by a worker of The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in violation of a work rule. So ultimately, the fire would never have happened if the cause never occurred, right? The name of the worker who actually discarded the cigarette may never be known or immaterial at this time, but my point is our societies quick blame game today and century ago are still the same. The fact is the fire was an accident and everybody knows accidents happen every second, hence why insurance companies make billions of dollars banking on this concept. I am not condoning or even agree at all with the lack of proper conditions of the factory owners Blanck and Harris, but I do think the owners should not be categorized and perpetrated as evil and criminal persons for the deadly accident, which was actually caused by one of the workers. This incident in my view, is more of a historic illustration of the same illegitimate mentality of our society today to blame others instead of taking personal responsibility, or as I call it the blame game.