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Is It Better to See, or Not See, an Impending Disaster?

Lusitania's lookout spotted a torpedo racing toward the ship in May of 1915. Although he shouted a warning, neither Captain Turner nor his crew had time to react.

When the torpedo struck Lusitania, an eyewitness said it made the “the sound of an arrow entering the canvas and straw of a target magnified a thousand times.”

The ship shuddered and, nearly instantaneously, she exploded and sank in about 18 minutes.

Do you think Lusitania’s lookout would have ever expected a single torpedo to cause such massive damage to the great ship? Explain your answer.

The eyewitness, who described the sound of the torpedo striking Lusitania, was using words which made sense in 1915. How would he have described what he heard, using 21st-century words?

It was the lookout’s job to search the sea for potential torpedo strikes, but what about the passengers who may have seen the torpedo racing toward their ship. Is it better to see, or not see, an impending disaster? Explain your answer.


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