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    We’d Like a Word With You

    I scraped the side of my car the other day. I mean in the bad way with scratches and dents, not the good way by chipping ice from the side window. I said it was an accident. I thought of it as an accident.

    It was the word “accident” that I should have scraped – not my Prius. Because it was one of hundreds of words frozen in time.

    The meaning of the word “accident” failed to accurately describe what occurred. I was not careful, I was going too fast for the situation, and I should have avoided the damage to my car. The word “accident” was misleading. I had a measure of control that could have avoided, prevented or minimized the damage. The car itself could have been built with better features that would have lessened or eliminated the damage. No matter the dictionary meaning, the word “accident” is used by most of us to mean that a bad thing happened that was not intentional. Neither the cause, blame or circumstance of the situation are communicated by the word “accident”. My message is not that the word “accident” is the problem. The problem is that we do not have a better way to communicate systemic failure that educates all parties and reduces future occurrences toward Zero.

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