Tika Hick, whose fiance David Potts disappeared into the ocean at Maui's Nakalele Point blowhole, says there should have been a warning sign that the site was dangerous.
Here we go again.
Witnesses said Potts was standing right next to the blowhole, frolicking in the spray. Hick says he wasn't, though she wasn't there and is relying on accounts by her brother and his wife. According to an Associated Press story in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "He slipped because it was slippery."
A blowhole spraying water on rocks can make for slippery conditions, yes. Do we really need a sign for that? Maybe we should hire the person who wrote the warning label on irons, "Do not attempt to iron clothes while wearing them."
Most people in Hawaii will pause before telling Tika Hick that her fiance should have known better, and this is entirely understandable. Not only is she grieving for the man intended to marry, but she herself is getting a double mastectomy this coming week; my first wife had breast cancer twice - died from it the second time - I know better than some what Hick is going through on that front. I wish her the best and hope she has plenty of support from her family during her recovery.
But I cannot agree that the danger of the blowhole needed, or needs, a sign, even though there actually is a handmade sign that says, "Blowhole - park and walk at your own risk." You can't even get to that blowhole without walking over sharp, treacherous, and, yes, slippery rock. Furthermore, a photo exists which actually shows Potts in the spray of the blowhole, proof that he saw how powerful it was.
We have seen this before. On other beaches, near waterfalls and cliffs, on hiking trails, people have put themselves into clearly hazardous conditions, and then later they or their surviving relatives have claimed that the state or someone should have put up a sign spelling out what were obvious dangers.
The state already hands out a form to every visitor on every plane. Maybe we should hand out a sweeping warning label for Mother Nature:
WARNING: WINDS, WAVES, ROCKS, LAVA AND OTHER PRODUCTS OF MOTHER NATURE ARE INHERENTLY DANGEROUS. WINDS AND WAVES CAN PICK UP SUDDENLY AND WITH GREAT FORCE. ROCKS CAN BE TREACHEROUS. LAVA CAN CHANGE COURSE SUDDENLY, SOMETIMES UNDERGROUND, AND NEW LAVA FORMATIONS CAN BREAK AWAY. EXERCISE REASONABLE CAUTION AND CARE AND STAY ALERT. NEVER ASSUME THAT THE ABSENCE OF ANY FURTHER WARNING SIGN MEANS THERE IS NO HAZARD.
You have a vested interest in this as a taxpayer. Maui Land & Pineapple owns the land near the blowhole in this instance, but the blowhole itself, right at the water's edge and nowhere near ground vegetation, would seem to be clearly in the state's purview as owner of the coastline under our state constitution. If it weren't for the photographic evidence and the witness accounts, the state might well have considered settling a suit out of court.
Do you think I'm being too harsh? I've been swayed by measured arguments before and welcome your own view.