Dean Russell, a survivor himself, comments on Aron Ralston's threats against Doug Ritter and Equipped To Survive (posted with permission and edited for grammar and spelling).
From: "Dean Russell" (email address deleted for privacy reasons)
To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>
Subject: DEMAND TO CEASE AND DESIST USE OF ARON RALSTON'S NAME
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2003 17:07:09 -0700
I am in the unfortunate position to understand exactly what Mr. Ralston is feeling.
Last summer I had an accident which totaled my helicopter at the 5,200 foot line on a local mountain. Some of the taxpayer's resources were dispatched to assist us and (they) insisted on removing us from the crash site in order to ensure our continued safety, even though we were all uninjured. Once down we contracted with a large commercial helicopter to take us back and recover the aircraft and personal belongings. The Search and Rescue technicians in the high cover aircraft saw fit to photograph the wreck and send it to the two local papers with circulations in excess of a half a million copies daily. Secondly, one of the passengers has a Web site and put in a full description and pictures of the accident on the Internet.
I see no difference between the Equipped site's coverage of the (my) event and the newspapers' coverage. While I sympathize with Mr. Ralston, a lot of the public's money was spent searching for him.
The purpose of this email was to inform both of you how the issue looked to me and therefore to probably the majority of the people that have heard of this dispute.
Mr. Elberger, your client and his law suit threat look ridiculous from the common person's point of view. Will he now put the taxpayer to more wasted expense litigating this matter? It has also occurred to me that his motives may be to control this whole issue and somehow profit by the sale of movie rights or some such thing. I am sure that would be looked at with much disdain by the general public.
Mr. Ritter, I am solidly behind you. You have every right and possibly even a duty to advise people of this incident and how the consequences and costs could have been avoided. Thousands of people view your web site and are better prepared because of it. My aircraft was carrying survival gear, food, water and a satellite phone, partly inspired by your site.
Perhaps if Mr. Ralston spent more time reading about survival and less time thinking of whom he can sue, or more money on gear and less on lawyers, he may have been better Equipped to Survive.
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Publisher and Editor: Doug Ritter
Email: Doug Ritter
First Published: June 8, 2003
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org