A father with young children climbs Mount Everest and dies

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

Interesting conversation on Hacker News about this. My own take would be that this is entirely between him and his wife. If she was okay with it, then why the hell does anyone else need to judge this?

Nevertheless, people feel the need to condemn the guy:

I’m quite sure in this case it’s definitely selfish, independent of what his wife thinks. And not passing judgement on the dead? Cmon man you have to be trolling.

…Tasteless? I don’t think you’re getting it. He risked his life completely unnecessarily while he needed to be a father. What he has done is categorically selfish. Your defense of his actions is that “It was his lifelong ambition.” If you believe that then you already acknowledge that his action is selfish; his ambition caused him to abandon his responsibilities as a father and husband.

I don’t see it as much as criticism as it is a simple fact. I posted not because I wanted to make a change so much as because I was utterly surprised by someone defending this person. Furthermore, my comments are in reply to your post and not directed at any members of the family, but I would hope that at least the wife realizes the moral implications of her husband’s decision at this point.

One response:

I think this is where we differ. You believe that because he took a risk for the goal of something other than his wife or kids, which you believe are his primary priority, and because that risk did not pay off, he is selfish.

I just want to point out that this is a very slippery slope. Does this mean that fathers in the army are being selfish for going to war rather than staying at home with their kids?

What about businessmen who work long hours and neglect their families?

There are many ways to live your life. This man chose a risky path, and sadly was killed before he could watch his children grow up. In his mind, perhaps, the risk was outweighed by the benefits of being able to tell his kids that he had fulfilled his dreams.

The folks denouncing the guy seem to be feeling that there was no pay off in this activity. Had he stood to win $10 million, or come a hero (as a solider might) for defending his country, then the tone would probably be different. But since the commenters don’t see enough upside, they disagree with whatever the risk/benefit analysis was. The part that worries me is the stridency with which they criticize the guy, simply because they don’t see whatever upside that he saw. This is especially surprising coming from a community like Hacker News, which is suppose to be all about risk.