With all of the hoopla this weekend surrounding the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, I hope some TV show or newspaper article will also remember Sen. William Aldern Smith, who chaired the American investigation into the accident.
An attorney and career politician (Michigan House of Representatives, the U.S. House and U.S. Senate), Alden was dubed "Watertight Smith" by a mocking British... press after asking why the passengers didn't simply lock themselves in their watertight compartments.
A witness at the hearing had to patiently explain to Smith that 1) the watertight compartments were meant to help keep the ship afloat, not to protect passengers; and 2) they would have done the passengers no good after the ship sank
"There are men, in all ages, who mean to exercise power usefully; but who mean to exercise it. They mean to govern well; but they mean to govern. They promise to be kind masters; but they mean to be masters." Daniel Webster