Talk radio host Michael Felger recently made some pretty insulting comments about the tragic death of retired pitcher Roy Halladay.
“It just sort of angers me. You care that little about your life? About the life of your family? Your little joyride is that important to you that you’re going to risk just dying? You’re a multimillionaire with a loving family, and to you, you have to go get that thing where you can dive-bomb from 100 feet to 5 above the water with your single-engine plane with your hand out the window… He got what he deserved.”
Halladay, an amateur pilot, died when he accidentally crashed his plane. I’m going to add my voice to the chorus of those criticizing Felger’s comments. I don’t understand why someone would be angered by another person’s choice of hobby. Flying a plane is a risky activity, and Halladay certainly knew that choosing such a hobby entailed some chance of injury or death… and he had every right to make that choice. The fact that he willingly took a risk doesn’t make his death deserved. It means that he had bad luck and was the victim of a tragic accident.
Felger seems to think that Halladay did something wrong by choosing a risky hobby, especially given the fact that he had a wife and children. I strongly disagree with this. Having a family does not negate a person’s right to choose how to spent his or her time or which hobbies to pursue. Halladay was not risking the life of his family; he was only risking his own. Of course, all of his family members must be grief-stricken at his death, but that does not give family members the right to dictate which activities someone can pursue, nor does it mean that he wronged his family members in any way. It was his body and his life, and he had every right to take the risk that he took.