Ethics Dunces: The Operators Of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park

This place should not be in business.

The Giant Slide at Belle Isle Park reopened last week after being closed for two years because of the pandemic (how this ride could possibly be a virus-spreader is beyond me, but that’s The Great Stupid for you). The 50-foot metal slide has been a  Detroit summer tradition since 1967. When it went back into operation last week, however, “the waxing was a little robust,” according to Ron Olson, the chief of parks and recreation for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It’s nice that he can be so cavalier about people nearly breaking their necks. As a result of that robust waxing, every bump in the slide sent fun-seekers airborne, as you can see from one of the many videos made of the thing above. One woman bumped her head and lost her phone, headphones, glasses, a shoe and even a sock on the way down.

What fun! GMAC Cash, a Detroit rapper, even put the experience to song: “You can break your back, on the Giant Slide,” he raps. “You can even break your neck, on the giant slide. You can even bump your head, on the giant slide.”

Apparently nobody connected with the park bothered to stage a few test runs to see if the slide was safe after being put back into service after two years. No state agency checked it either, though most such amusement park attractions have to be inspected before the public can use them. It gets worse. Even though the ride was obviously dangerous, over 500 sliders risked their necks before the slugs operating the park thought hard about the violence they were seeing and said, “Ya know, maybe we need to fix this.” Then they closed the ride. (It reopened last weekend.)

The ethical values on display here are competence and responsibility, or rather the lack of them. The fact that nobody was seriously injured is pure moral luck. This is how people get killed.

The episode ranks an “Otter”:

One thought on “Ethics Dunces: The Operators Of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park

  1. A stark reminder of the downward slide competence has taken because a large segment of the population was forced to live work free for two years.

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