Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Kims could have been my family

Last night I saw the news that James Kim died of hypothermia.  With a sudden shock, I realised "I know that guy!"  I wracked my brain.  Then like a true geek, I used google.

James Kim was a senior CNET editor.  He appeared on my Tivo every week explaining the latest digital audio gadgets.  His eyes lit up and he smiled when he showed something he thought was particularly marvelous.   I will miss him.  I watched him both because I really want an IPod and because he was cute.

I had heard there was a family that was lost in the Pacific Northwest.  I didn't really pay much attention.  I broke my toe ten days ago and I've been craving more mindless entertainment.  I didn't expect to actually recognise the guy.

I know that James Kim left the car to help his family.  I could see that James Kim was clearly an intelligent man.  He and his family were very resourceful in their efforts to survive for a week with no food and no emergency supplies.

It made me realise that the only thing currently in my car is a basic first aid kit, a small water bottle and some jumper cables.  Before we drive in snow, I'll buy some space blankets (very small and cheap), some flares and a few emergency food rations (again they're small).  I already have my earthquake survival kit at home that fits in a backpack.

It's hard to write a post like this without sounding like I'm blaming or criticizing James Kim.  I'm not. In fact when I was about nine, my own family narrowly escaped Kim's fate of dying by hypothermia.  They hiked down Grand Canyon without correctly estimating how long it was until sunset. My mom tripped on a rock and hurt her leg, which further slowed them down. They wound up hiking on very narrow trails with no flashlight. They too got lost. They also got very cold.  Luck saved them.  Their wrong trail eventually led to a road.

I think that lesson didn't quite sink in because it had a happy ending.  I will learn from James Kim and be more prepared, because you never know when you may get stuck in a very bad situation.