An interesting letter appeared in Spanish daily newspaper El País on Wednesday which sums up quite nicely my thoughts about the reaction to the Santiago de Compostela rail crash. I feel it is worth reading in its entirety, and so I hope that neither the author nor El País will mind that an inconsequential English blogger has translated and republished the letter in full below:
In a country where we use the term "the presumption of innocence" on a daily basis in reference to the ever increasing number of cases of corruption which become apparent, the whole world - starting with the Interior Minister - has laid the blame of the crash near Santiago at the door of the driver.
I do not know this man and I do not wish to defend him, but all the precise causes of the derailment are not yet known. I believe that the speed was excessive, but I also believe that a disaster of such magnitude has to be the result of a confluence of different factors and not speed alone.
It is necessary to ascertain why all the signal-activated alarms and brakes that should have alerted the driver did not function, and why the entrance to this station was built on such a curve. Let us not condemn anyone without getting all of the facts straight: let us give him, like all the others, the opportunity of "the presumption of innocence".
My sincerest thoughts and sympathies go to all the families of the victims of this tragedy.
Paloma Díaz Sanz, Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid