James Kim Did Everything Wrong

Please note: If you are reading this post from an outside link, please also read the addendum to this post as well, Thanks. 

James Kim made a number of wrong decisions that led to his death. Calling his actions heroic, and failing to point out the very serious mistakes he made, does a disservice to every person who reads about this tragedy. And now that this “accident” is being blamed on an unknown vandal who opened a locked gate, all blame is taken away from the one person it belongs to, James Kim.

What he did wrong

First, NEVER drive in the snow without taking along an adequate supply of food and enough blankets or sleeping bags to survive sub-zero weather. This is not optional. If you drive in the snow, even just on major highways, you MUST have these things. If you don’t have them, you’ve already done something WRONG.

Second, he bypassed signs warning him that the road wasn’t plowed in the winter, something that should have been obvious even without the signs given the condition of the road. Just because a road is on a map, doesn’t mean you can or should drive on it.

Third, there is something known as a point-of-no-return that is used to determine when you should stop. For the Kims, that point would have been the moment they realized their fuel supply was running low. If turning around is impossible because of the road conditions, then back up. Even if you have to drive in reverse for miles, it’s better than running out of fuel in the woods.

Fourth, it’s bad form to enter an environment you are ignorant of. James Kim suffered hypothermia, a condition he would have been able to recognize had he know about the symptoms and the cause. To not have read up about this before travelling to snow country is inexcusable. There was nothing wrong with his decision to seek help. But he went outside with inadequate preparation. He had no warm clothes (the foam from the seat upholstery would have made excellent insulation) and no idea about what the environment was capable of doing to him.

The point is, James Kim certainly did many things wrong. People need to realize that in spite of all the safety nets we spread around in this country, you need to be prepared for the environment. This was not a freak accident. It was avoidable. The situation began, as most accidents do, with a series of small mistakes that accumulate into a disaster. The only way to prevent such accumulation is to recognize where each problem will lead and to make sure that you don’t venture off without adequate preparation. Ask yourself what you would do if your car broke down.

And finally, to say that this was caused by the person who left the road gate open is plain irresponsible. James Kim is responsible for his death because he made the mistakes that led to it. He exceeded the capacity of both his vehicle and his knowledge and he was given ample warning at many point along the way.

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57 responses to “James Kim Did Everything Wrong

  1. OK, so he paid for his life trying to save his family? I would call that heroic. He probably had to battle so much guilt in making the decisions that got him and his family in that position in the first place. Certainly we all can learn from this but that is a positive, too, no? The tone in this article wreaks of taking advantage of someone’s death to print a snide blog.

  2. You’re saying that before anyone drives through snow they should load up with a trunk full of emergency supplies and research survival tactics?

    While I can see the logic of your suggestion surely you recognize that it’s an irrational assertion?

    I agree with you that James Kim made mistakes, but they are mistakes that the vast majority of the population would have made in his place (we are far too complacent and urbanized, reliant on our SUVs to be rugged for us because that’s what the commercials promised).

    What he did right was put his desire to save his family above his concern for his own life. According to the helicopter pilot who found his wife and children it was James’ footprints in the wilderness that led him to the discovery. So for all the mistakes, he died accomplishing what he set out to do.

    Hopefully this tragedy does lead to people becoming more acquainted with the sort of survival information needed to come out of a situation like this with a more positive result.

  3. Yes, is easy to see things from a distance. Hind Sight is 20/20. I know a few things about survival in high country and to me these things you speak of are obvious. However, you take someone that is not familiar with the type of climate and conditions it may not be so evident. I am sure James and Kati did not think for one minute they would be stranded on a snowed in road. You speak of backing out for miles. According to news reports he had to stick his head out the window just to see. Backing up may have been nearly impossible under those conditions, especially to the uninitiated. Did James make mistakes? Yes, but he did try his best to correct those mistakes and rescue his family. To me James did the only thing he had to and tried to do what is best for his family. I agree with the previous poster, that this is a snide blog about someone’s tragedy. Even if you are trying to point out that some mistakes are preventable you take the position that James bumbled his own way to his demise. Bottom line, you weren’t there with a wife and two young children facing a unforeseen situation. It is easy to say, I would have done this, or I would have done that, when you aren’t the one smack in the middle of the crisis.

  4. It’s easy to take something you know about and criticize other people for not knowing it. The truth is everyone gets themselves stuck in situations they don’t know about. So the writer knows about this kind of survival and can look down his nose at someone who didn’t. Perhaps, though, the writer too has found himself, at least once, in a situation he knew nothing of. Just be thankful it didn’t kill you. For this article to have validity, it should specify EVERYTHING we should EVER know about ANY situation that could EVER kill ANYBODY, because the truth is we are all ignorant about something, and that ignorance can kill us. ANY of us.

  5. The article’s not saying that he needed to be Rambo in his outdoor skills. But that it is common sense to have blankets and food when driving in the snow and that, as NOX said, the majority of the population is unprepared and for the news to say he made no mistakes lets the unprepared stay that way. We’ve all made similar mistakes and we should all call them that and realize that if we end up dying because of them, it will be our own fault.

  6. Finally a voice of reason. That man’s family was not saved by him they were saved in spite of him. Thank god they had the good sense to stay by the car. Hero’s actions should be emulated…ther is nothing in his sad needless death that needs to be emulated. Learn that lesson or suffer his fate.

  7. I was under the impression a ping from their cell phone was what led rescuers to find the car, although I’m sure tracks quickened the process once they had a radius to search. Either way this is just another tragedy that doesn’t effect anyone, the media has chosen to make this entertainment for us with its constant barrage, and in doing so we’re allowed to play Monday morning QB (excuse the cliche). Not to sound cold to the humanity of the situation, and of course no pun intended.

  8. I feel sadden with the whole situation. I think James and his family did not expect to run into that kind of treacherous environment. The writer of this blog knows what it takes to survive in the cold environment and it’s a reminder to us all that it is necessary to be prepared and packed all those things especially if you are traveling during the winter time. I’m originally from up North and being down South for a long period makes me forget all that is necessary to survive if I ever am stranded in the cold environment, this is something that we should keep in the back of our mind. It’s obvious that James has a mentality of someone living in California where the whether is fair all year round. I think we can all learn from this situation.

  9. “And finally, to say that this was caused by the person who left the road gate open is plain irresponsible.”

    Are you kidding me? If the vandals had closed the gate behind them, as I’m sure any responsible individual would have, James Kim would still be alive.

    If somebody removes a stop sign and a person dies in a crash as the result, do you know what that legally means? First degree manslaughter.

    How is removing a “no pass” sign different than stealing a stop sign? If these vandals are caught, which is very possible, I hope they recieve second degree manslaughter and prison time at the least. Not to mention their entire life savings and annual payments to the now father-less Kim family.

  10. What if he survived and the wife and kids died? HE would be arrested and tried for gross negligence.

    Amen! James almost killed his whole family and it called a hero? No way. I drive that part of the country all the time, in fact I was thirty miles south of them on Nov 26 when they decided to pull over and sleep — WHILE IT WAS SNOWING! You do not sleep on the side of remote mountain roads when it’s snowing. We had sleeping bags, food, water, tire chains, radio in the car as we drove over that mtn. range. And, we did it during the day, no way at night. What if the car broke down? Could they have handled it? No way. You do not drive a car full of little kids out in the woods on a road you don’t know in the middle of the night when IT’S SNOWING — THAT’S STUPID. Some of us that face this type of danger, understand the risks and take precautions get pretty annoyed when someone does something like this because it’s so clearly a risk to children.

  11. The media networks are the ones who do a disservice since they sensationalize the story and paint the picture as black and white. The blame is totally put on this or that and there you have a drama..

    However this blog writer brings us back to reality by suggesting that there were many mistakes of varying degrees made that led to the tragedy..and the vandals cannot be singled out. Hence, there were many mistakes that James himself made that contributed to the extent of the tragedy. The media portrays him as a hero just for dramatic purposes, even though there is nothing much to suggest that that is really the case. The real issue here is to analize what really went wrong and what were the mis-steps and what are the lessons learnt for this story…..and what vacationers should be doing henceforth to ensure their own safety and well-being. This blog and the following comments by everybody fully accomplishes that.

    I personally feel that as an urbanized Californian the family was too decencitized to the dangers of travelling in snow and bad weather…and they did not feel the urgent need to prepare…because its not like there’re preparing for combat on a mission in Iraq. They’re just going on a Thanksgiving holiday for God’s sake. For most urban Americans those are things that soliders in Iraq have to worry about prepare for. Also, like somebody here above suggested that TV commercials give the impression that SUV’s can go anywhere and do anything (climb vertical mountains) and gives freedom to Americans…so Americans get the feeling that in their SUV they are free to go anywhere, anytime wherever they want to go..this is also very misleading and unnecessarily endangers the personal lives of people. So to some extent many other entites can be blamed directly or indirectly for such occurances and mishaps…i think the list can go on and on and on..

  12. Kim certainly wasn’t prepared for the situation he found himself in, but in the interest of fairness you cannot NOT call him heroic. He died trying to save his family.

    And yes, you certainly can blame the people who opened the gate and left it that way. If they had been responsible (or even simply law-abiding) the whole family would have survived.

    If anything good comes out of this, it will be a reminder to everyone that nature can pick you up and slap you at any time and the only way to survive is to realize this and be prepared.

  13. If Mr. Kim had found help… this article wouldn’t exist or if it did it probably would take a much different tone and most people wouldn’t be quibbling over “hero” this or not. He’d have saved his family through the same actions that unfortunately took his life. You can look down upon him for his mistakes… he’s a fallen hero just like so many who have paid with their lives (who were probably equally unprepared for the situation that killed them).

  14. It’s the first I heard of the gate being left open…but then then I’m not surprised that a twist of this nature would surface.
    Candidly speaking, it is the “spin” of the spinners that has painted (if not tainted) a picture of heroics.
    Each of us wanted Mr. Kim to “make it.” In a time when all we hear is news of death and destruction, it is small wonder that we silently hoped that this gentleman would be found alive and well…that a “good news” story would sweep the headlines.
    One can’t help but wonder what his final thoughts were. One can’t help but view this entire thing for what it is…the realization that hindsight does little to change what is …and a “what if’ does even less than that.
    Given the choice between having a”husband or hero,” to sit down with them this very minute– I imagine we know which one the Kim family would not hesitate to embrace.

  15. Nox Dec 9th 2006 at 4:52 am said:

    What he did right was put his desire to save his family above his concern for his own life. According to the helicopter pilot who found his wife and children it was James’ footprints in the wilderness that led him to the discovery. So for all the mistakes, he died accomplishing what he set out to do.

    That was reported by the hero-making mythologers in the media.

    The aerial photos showed that the stranded car was plainly visible on a road from the air. Much more visible than some “footprints” would be.

    If I were you I would not give too much credence to the MSM — especially when they are trying to make a hero out of somebody.

  16. Pingback: Yes, He Is. James Kim is a Hero. (even heroes make mistakes) « Shirley Buxton

  17. Kim certainly made superhuman efforts to rescue his family, and lost his life in the process. Sounds prety heroic to me. In hindsight he made mistakes, but he was under a tremendous amount of stress. People’s brains simply don’t work as well under stress, many people would have panicked and done far stupider things. And I don’t see any contradiction between calling him a hero AND making the polite point that people can learn from his mistakes so they won’t run into the same trouble. In fact it has been suggested that people have a intense fascination with stories like this because there is an evolutonary advantage to learning to avoid tragedies that you see your fellows wander into.
    :( JMO Doug

  18. You have really forgotten the first and probably the most telling mistake that Jame Kim did that put his family’s life at risk and ultimately led to his own death. After passing the exit for the road that they had planned to take, the decision was made to continue on an take an alternate route. If you look on the map that the they were carrying, it clearly states the road is unimproved. If he had only tuned around and taken the improved road as originally planned, James and his family would be safe and sound in San Francisco today.

  19. No amount of speculation or debate is going to change anything. Obviously people can argue both sides of the case but it doesn’t really make a difference at this point.

    Why not just let the guy rest in peace?

  20. Adventure Watch

    It won’t change anything for the Kims, but it might prompt more people to be prepared next year when they drive to snowy places for vacation. We all want to analyze this for the same reasons the NTSB analyzes aircraft crashes: because we want to avoid them in the future.

  21. Perhaps. But why bash Mr. Kim in the process?

  22. Adventure Watch

    I don’t believe that it is bashing to say he did something wrong.

  23. Ok – if you say so. ;-)

    And by the way, you *have* raised some good awareness. But you know, the trouble is, the people who *need* the awareness the most are probably not all too likely to read it.

    Additionally, the type of preparation you’re talking about assumes the person *knows* they’ll be traveling under those conditions. That’s part of the story here – the Kim’s didn’t. They expected to take a road that would not have had those conditions.

    Certainly if one is traveling into those conditions expectedly, one would be remiss not to have proper preparations.

    Thank for a good post nonetheless, though I don’t especially agree with all of it. It does provide some good food for thought.

  24. Adventure Watch

    These conditions sometimes exist even on major freeways. I believe it was lat year that hundreds became stranded on I5 because of a snowstorm and CALTRANS was unable to respond immediately. They knew they were in snow country.

  25. You know, funny thing is -

    I’m one of those ultra-prepared people. ;-) And here I am arguing the other side.

    At all times, I have flares, extra water, a small gas can, oil, blankets, flashlights, non-perishable foods and other supplies stowed in my trunk.

  26. Adventure Watch

    I too usually drive prepared (though I also sometimes don’t.) I think there are two issues here: (1) levels of preparedness, and (2) the decision-making processes that were used by the Kims that led them to that situation. Each should be evaluated seperately.

    My biggest worry is that we’ve all become so sensitive to the idea that we make mistakes, that no one likes to talk about them. We all say nice-sounding things and say things like, “no one would have done any better in your shoes,” etc. I think no one should be ashamed to admit mistakes and I don’t like a culture that equates making mistakes with being a failure as a human being or an idiot or whatever. We can say that James Kim failed in terms of staying alive and avoiding a perilous situation. but that doesn’t mean he’s stupid, or that he failed as a person. He was probably a great person, but that’s not what’s being talked about here.

  27. Absolutely! I completely agree with you there. (Although I haven’t heard the line “no one would have done any better in your shoes.” )

    You are right – the culture as a whole dictates that it’s shameful or somehow wrong to admit ones mistakes. I personally don’t believe that.

    It’s the same thing with placing blame elsewhere – i.e. – the vandal who left the gate open. I think that’s a ridiculous assertion myself.

    I do believe James Kim is to blame for the whole tragedy just as we each are the only ones to blame for the mistakes in our lives. If it’s in *my* experience, it’s my responsibility.

    It’s a fascinating topic for many reasons.

  28. I’m sure if Mr. Kim had it do all over again he’d do it differently. However, he doesn’t, so let’s give him the respect he deserves.

    NotGonnaTakeit.com

  29. Adventure Watch

    Again, it’s not about Mr. Kim, it’s about others who follow in his footsteps.

  30. Yeah, I understand what you mean. It is the same here in the Australian outback. Each year we have a lot of people (tourists) die because of inadequate preparation for the harshness of this country.

    In Australia the media would never make this out to be heroic but tragic. Blame would not be laid on an individual, like you are doing, but it would read something like…”a tragedy like this should never have happened. Many different decisions along the way could have prevented it. Let this be a warning to the person venturing out in harsh environmental conditions, to be well prepared, to let people know exactly where you, to get GPS installed in their car and to be sensitive to reading warning signals along the way……”

    So, I get what you are saying, but your post is lacking respect and is sure to offend many.

    And that is a problem at this time!!!

  31. We can still learned from his life…

  32. My analysis of Kim’s attempted hike-out suggests that he thought he knew where he was. Unfortunately, this final mistake cost him his life. See the whole thing with maps and diagrams here

  33. Yes, I think that James Kim made several mistakes along his travel. Someone at the cafe or restaurant told him that the road was not safe to drive at the time. There were also road signs stating this fact, but they continued on. However, I have to say that what he did was heroic and brave. I can’t amagine being in that situation and keeping my head on straight. That man died fighting for his family and I’m sure his wife his proud of him. What we say or think does not matter .
    I pulled a store on the internet called “DOE” it’s in San Francisco and I was told that the Kim’s own this store. Have you seen the hand painted picture that’s on the store? It’s a picture of forest trees, mountains and a river flowing in between, very very eery……..
    I will continue to pray for him and his family.

  34. Seems a little harsh given the circumstances. I will not argue that the choice of route was poorly made, I would not necessarily be that harsh. I think he tried to do everything that was in his power to save his family once he realized that the situation was perilous.
    I would save my nasty comments for the guy that kills someone or himself because he can’t stop drinking at the bar. Those are the kinds of situations that are avoidable.

  35. Pingback: Harsh Yes, but Not Toward James Kim « Adventure Watch

  36. There is no qurestion this is a tradgedy but, as an Oregonian myself, I have other concerns, too.
    Specifically, we knew Kim’s family was missing for a long time. Many ,many days. Finally the Kim family hired 3 helicopters to search for them. This saved his family, sadly not him. Private helicopters.

    All the while the day before he was found, David Wu and Darlene Hooley we advocating for a bill, HR 167, which passed the house 12/6 to spend 159 million in buoys to place off the off Oregon coast. These Buoys are to warn of Tsunamis. Hello Tsunami’s in Oregon? Tsunamis in the US?

    The risk of getting lost in the winter on a side road in Oregon is real. Kim, yes should have known better , it is not California here. But, shame on us for not sending out the helicopters. Shame on DAvid Wu and Darlene Hooley for talking about Buoys not helicopters.

    http://www.middleschoolmom.com

  37. I agree with the poster who stated the family survived in spite of Mr. Kim, not because of him. From the get-go, Mr. Kim did everything wrong. Traveling without food, without survival supplies, making poor decisions about his route, ignoring warning signs about the roads, and eventually leaving the car.

  38. Fred Harminson

    Both parents showed stupidity and irresponsibility in relation to this tragedy. Hero my ass. When you have 2 little kids in the car you do everything in your power to keep them safe. Was it snowing heavily on I-5 that night? I would love to know why they failed to turn around when they realized they missed their exit off I-5.

  39. “Hello Tsunami’s in Oregon? Tsunamis in the US?”

    Of course. Any coastline can have a Tsunami, but especially the Pacific Northwest. The Cascadia Subduction zone is a perfect tsunami generating fault.

    On Jan. 26, 1700 there was a Tsunami that was the size of the Sumatra one, if not larger.

  40. In 1964 a tsunami hit Crescent City, killing 11 and causing 7.4 million in damage. The photos of the damage are intense. Don’t say it will never happen… Remember Mt. St. Helens and Mt Mazama (now called Crater Lake)? Nature can fvck you up.

    I lived in Gold Beach in the 1980s and I remember one tsunami warning (it only had minor waves, 8-10 feet or something).

  41. The helicopters hired by the family DID NOT FIND THE FAMILY. A local who owned a helicopter and had a hunch they might be on one of the logging roads found them. It look local knowledge of the area not financial resources.

  42. It’s great to see several clear eyed people who recognized how irresponsible the Kims were. Then there are the others who are making careless assumptions, like supposing the Kims were city dudes without a clue about the mountains. And the others who are making lame excuses.

    First off, I’m not going to say “James Kim did this and that” because we don’t know who made all these RECKLESS decisions: was it the husband, the wife, or both? And it doesn’t matter; between the two of them, they almost got their two preschool kids killed by going out of their way to tempt fate. And collectively they have paid the ultimate price. All the discussion now is for the benefit of those who will be tempted to act like the Kims did.

    Before I dwell on the crushing weight of the facts, let me note two reasons why I think the case is so compelling and has wide social relevance.

    1. These people had unusual backgrounds and careers that makes their actions even more inexcusable than for the vast majority of us.

    2. They spent hours going out of their way to plunge into obvious danger, and they truly did know better. Thus, he or she or they clearly DRIVEN to defy the conditions. I suggest this is like David Halberstam’s thesis about a group of “the best and the brightest” policy advisers who nevertheless plunged ever deeper into the quagmire of the Vietnam War. The Kim couple were driven in some way that could happen to other highly educated, affluent people.

    And let me note what nobody else has: the timing three weeks before Christmas must have the public in a forgiving mood.

    Here are the highlights of his/her/their recklessness. Above all, they had small children with them. Having left one of Roseburg’s two Denny’ses at 8:30 at night “with a coastal storm raging”, according to one news account, and having right away missed their turnoff onto State 42 west to the ocean, here’s what they did. They drove *south* for *two hours*, *in the dark*, to choose a *back road* (i.e., not an interstate, US Hwy, or state hwy), *in December*, *through mountains*, when *it was raining in the lowlands*. Guilty, guilty, guilty right there.

    But that’s just the obvious. The Kims met each other *while camping in the Sierra Nevadas*, and James at least was *an avid outdoor recreationalist*. So ditch the story line about how they spent all their lives in cities.

    And what did James Kim do for a *living*? He was a consumer reporter on computer gadgets. Of all things! He spends his life constant digesting brand new lists of features, tradeoffs, and gotchas about hundreds of products a year. A consumer advisor who’s a veteran mountain roamer, and people think he blindly trusted a line on a map??!! You people. And Kati Kim operated a baby boutique. So these two together would be the *first* to say, on the verge of taking a ten day auto trip — “what’s the CHECKLIST?”

    And the wife was a graduate of the U of Oregon. Yeah, in the Willamette Valley town of Eugene, with mountain ranges that run the length of the state located 30 miles to the east and 30 miles to the west, AND just four hours drive up Interstate 5 from the site of their downfall.

    AND, after the two hours on I-5, at about 10:30, they turned on to a road, a county road but one fairly wide and straight, and drove down it 10 to 15 miles BEFORE meeting that narrow, twisting, shoulderless mountain road. When you find yourself dropping to second gear to negotiate 90 degree turns as you’re ascending from 800 feet elevation to 2,000 feet at 11 pm amid falling snow with two babies, you *obviously* turn back — you don’t push on another 12 to 15 miles!!! Oh yeah, I’ve been spending lots of time with the Google maps.

    And bear in mind that mom and the babies are *lucky* to have been found. For days, the search area had extended all the way back to that Denny’s in Roseburg. The rescue only happened because two local cell phone company engineers, alerted by the Web buzz created by the tech community, *took it upon themselves* to comb through their company’s logs looking for two pings from cell towers to the Kims. Once the techs found the pings, they had to do some high tech brainstorm slogging to narrow down the location.

    Even without having their two preschool children with them, when they missed that turnoff to State 42 outside Roseburg, they should have just driven 8 miles to the next exit, driven 8 miles back, and by 10:30 they would have been at the ocean, not exiting I-5 into the boondocks. He or she or they had something to prove to themselves that evening.

    Thanks for listening.

  43. While this commentary on Kim’s death is perhaps unduly insensitive, the fact remains that by any objective standard James Kim made many poor decisions. His misjudgements suggest a certain arrogance towards and disconnect from nature (two faults which most Americans possess BTW). Kim’s complete disregard for the power of nature got him and his family in big trouble in the first place. But then very poor judgement–for someone of his presumed intelligence–made matters even worse. With a car, lighter, snow, and fuel for a fire all around, you have the two most important survival ingredients: shelter and water. For example, there is no reason why they shouldn’t have been able to “hunker down” in their vehicle. Even if they had absolutely no food (which they did), all he had to do was focus on keeping the vehicle warm and melting snow for water. Most people don’t realize it but humans can survive for weeks without food–but we can die of exposure in a matter of hours. He never really seemed to accept that he was in over his head. I could go on and on about things he could have done, but of course it’s overkill and unneccesary at this point. In his defense, it’s easy to make sound decisions while you’re typing on your computer in the warm comfort of your office. If anything good has come of this it’s that (hopefully) many people have become a bit more aware of the importance of very basic survival skills.

  44. Chinese has a saying: Smart people do not get near dangerous place (Junzi bu jin xiandi).

    The only time I sat in a vehicle driving in snow in the mountain, the SUV spinned 180 degrees into a small ditch. Fortunately, it didn’t fall of the hill. So for this reason alone, I wouldn’t drive in snowy weather, (especially in a stationwagon), period.

    Having said that, if I get stuck with my family in the same situation, I would have done the same – going out to seek help. But before that, I would have done something else (just for luck):

    1. No matter what, I won’t keep the engine on for heat. It won’t last long anyway, and it is much useful for other things.
    2. Let the air out of the tires and try to get it unstuck.
    3. Turn on the head lights at night if weather’s clear, use the horn from time to time, in case people are searching (which they are)
    4. They obviously had fire (to burn the tires). Try to start a fire with enough smoke (so people can see form far away).
    5. Enter a text message. Take the cell phone and walk uphill. The signal may not be enough for voice, but SMS takes very little bandwidth and it may get through.
    6. (This may be difficult to do in Winter) Start a forest fire.

  45. Response to Jay (two or so messages back).

    Jay’s opening line is ambiguous as to which message is being referred to. Jay’s message immediately follows my previous one. To say “. . . commentary on . . . perhaps unduly insensitive” *probably* refers to mine, but it *might* refer to the msg that started this thread.

    The important things about the Kim family story are NOT their choice of survival tactics. Instead:

    1. The parents (whichever of them made the decisions) did not *stumble* into the situation, nor did nature sneak up on them. They *thrust* themselves into the crisis — the couple had no business being there period, and doubly so because they had children with them.

    2. The parents were *not* naive, they were *not* misinformed. Instead, they were being stubborn and contrarian. They *were* seasoned outdoorspeople, and they *were* experts at scrutinizing information critically.

    Jay’s remarks follow the national crowd on this issue in that they focus on what tactics the parents’ used for survival starting at around 11:00 pm on Nov. 25. That is NOT the important story. (However many of their tactics may have been ill advised, they were almost all reasonable, had some merit.) After all, given the scenario of that you are a traveler with children who are just trying to get from point A to point B, it is your duty to try to avoid situations where survival *would come* to depend on carrying outdoor survival gear equipment and knowing certain tactics.

    Another point nobody else is bringing up: city people, too, worry about breaking down on the road! Millions of urban women choose which auto to buy partly on grounds of mechanical robustness.

    A husband and father has died an excruciating death due to an insistence (his, his wife’s, or theirs both) on some mysterious perverse personal agenda (otherwise we’re dealing with judgement having been disrupted by some mental affliction, e.g., bipolar disorder or schizophrenia). His two children and the mother almost died too. There are other people like that in this world. Plus the public and the news media played down the truth. For all these reasons, I can be sure my commentary is not unduly insensitive.

    Thank you.

  46. There very likely was NO other traffic at all on Bear Camp Road, let alone the loggin road the Kims chose to drive. Travelling in the mountains, at night, in snow, when nobody else is in sight for miles? Not very smart. I believe most people wouldn’t have done that. I don’t think the mistakes once they got stuck were very significant. The major factor was not turning around. They must have thought about turning around dozens of times, but they didn’t. It’s sad.

  47. Agree totally with initial blog – an unnecessary death, and the result of a bunch of very poor decisions.

    That said, and given that this blog appears to be trying to paint James as “bonehead” as much as the media is “hero”, the guys only human and there’s lotsa people that woulda gotten themself into this situation.

    Hmm, miss an exit, done this lots and depending on how far I’ve gone I’m ALWAYS tempted to look to an alternative route. Especially if I’ve gone way past the exit as I suspect may have happened to Kim. So here he is pulling out a map and seeing what appears to be a fairly viable route, perhaps not a highway, but direct nonetheless. Hmm, yes, I’ve done this and then cursed as I bounce along some gravel road!

    So here he is, pulling off I5 onto this route (I’m guessing it may not have been snowing yet), sees the signs, gets concerned at how much of a B road it is, but then reassures himself … hey, its only 50-60 miles or so? Of course, turning around or going another route involves 100s of miles at this point, staying somewhere else near I5 involves cancelling hotel resevervation (losing money?), changing trip plans, etc.

    Is his decision to continue smart? Hell no, but thats very much in hindsight, and given his options at the time I’d argue MANY woulda done the same thing!

    ok, so now he’s driving along, its dark, kids sleeping soundly as he and his wife plod along. As each miles ticks off and they get closer to their destination, so they think, it becomes harder to turn back along the tough road they’ve come. Starts to snow. Uh-oh. Dya turn around and drive back in the dark on the tough road on which you’ve come towards no destination, or do you continue … Gold Beach resort, after all, isn’t THAT FAR AWAY!!

    The rest, is well, just sad. His survival decisions, while again not smart in hindsight, were very rational with the exception of the ultimate one he made to leave the road during his walk (was he hypothermic?). Stay with car/family, keep warm, conserve energy, build fire, and only take despearate measures when forced to as he must have felt after 10 days!!

    Bottom line … yes, very poor and foolish decisions that got them into this situation. The family was extremely lucky to survive! James Kim was no hero, but amidst his folly, he showed a bravery and tenaciousness to save his family that just has to make you love him.

    The point is, MANY make these kinds of decisions all the time and, fortunately, dont end up paying with their lives. As was the intention of this blog originally, I’ve learned a lot about what mistakes NOT to make. And as for those who seem to think their too damn smart to ever make mistakes like this and dont learn anything from it, that James was just a random fool .. well, its likely it’ll be your dead ass I’ll be reading about next ….

  48. Hell, you don’t need all that survival equipment driving from Portland to Gold Beach–it is a 300-mile drive with a driving time of about 6 hours. The Kims could have been in Gold Beach long before sunset; instead, when they could already have been in Gold Beach, they had not even left Portland! Here’s a couple who could not navigate the interstate with its big, lighted signs (they missed the highway 42 exit), and they decided to cross the coastal mountain on an unknown road in the middle of the night in bad weather. They asked for directions at a Merlin gas station, but there was no mention of them filling up their car with gas there. One account said that they did not try to return towards Grants Pass because they were not sure they had enough gas. The Kims made many decisions that were puzzling, irrational, and irresponsible. Criminal? Child endangerment? Common sense will always beat a combination of intelligence, education, money, and technological savvy. It if far easier to step back from the edge of a cliff than it is to try to rescue yourself on the way down if you fall.–Roland

  49. Huh…don’t know what to say…i’ve had that feeling for about last 2 months, and deñided to put a cam in a bedroom. Shit, my hands are shaking…that dirty slut sucked my cock just twice a year, and look what she is doing with his cock:
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    or just go to court?
    fuck, donno what to do…need your advices….

  50. I’ve got an Amazon gift certificate burning holes in my pocket,
    and I want to get the most bang for my buck.

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  51. hello all
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  53. To ‘Steve’ a few comments from the bottom:

    It may be true that a lot of people would get themselves in the same situation that Kim did, and from what you wrote, you’re one of those people. But the thing is, like Kim, that just means you’re stupid. Yeah, you’re “only human”, but you’re on the low end of the scale of human intelligence. I used to go on road trips and camping trips with my family as a kid and liked to act as the navigator. We used maps put out by the state highway depts, and they clearly stated which roads were viable at what time of year, and they showed elevation, and as a kid even I knew it would be crazy to attempt those roads in the winter time.

    I do agree with the statements about SUV advertising being misleading, but wouldn’t you figure out your SUV isn’t an ATV pretty soon after buying it and driving around in it and noticing how it handles?

    As for those of you insisting that Kim was a ‘hero’ because he tried to save his family.. first of all, he had no choice but to either try to survive or curl up in a ball and sob. He apparently chose the former, but none of us have any idea whether he was trying to save his family or only himself. We do know he decided to leave his family behind and venture out even though the first rule of survival is to stay put. If you don’t know anything else about survival, you’re still liable to have heard that you’re supposed to stay put. We also know that he didn’t stick to the plan he made with his wife to return to the vehicle after a few hours which he easily could have done no matter how disoriented he was, by following his footprints back.

    These people are really, really stupid. They should have turned around as soon as they noticed they were climbing up a mountain and it looked snowy. And they definitely should have known better than to take that road in the first place. Kim was not from California, he grew up in Seattle but was living in California at the time. Seattle gets enough snow to make residents aware of how vehicles perform in it.

    Photos of Kim have him consistently with a whimsical expression on his face. I just think the guy was goofy and lived in a techy-dorky world of his own, where his bumbling along always seemed to eventually get him where he was going thanks to rich parents and plenty of opportunity for average dorks when the dot.com boom happened.

  54. I just finished watching the documentary and can say that James Kim made some very serious errors, many of them common sense errors. The doc. clearly states that he missed the sign at the fork in the road – first off, when you approach a fork in the road you don’t just blindly drive on but try to look for signs, if he had just paid closer attention he would’ve found the sign and reached the coast. Secondly, why didn’t he attempt to backtrack when daylight dawned the next day? Surely he knew that gas was as valuable as gold in his situation – running the car wasting gas waiting for help is downright stupid. Thirdly, no supplies of warm clothing – walking around in freezing temps with jeans? Where are his thermals, jackets, warm gear?? He is in the mountains in winter… this man had a death wish and got it.

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