Quote of the week: "You can be amazing. You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug. You can be the outcast.

“Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love. Or you can start speaking up.” – Sara Bareilles

I want to give a shout out my Branson Tri-Lakes News colleagues for covering the duck boat tragedy. I’m sure it was not an easy story to cover and they did an amazing job with the constant updates and footage.

The Ride the Ducks was one attraction that I never wanted to do while I lived in Branson for two years. I had read of other Duck Boat incidents that had happened at other cities

According to an article by the The Inquirer, two young international visitors drowned in the Delaware River when a barge overran one a duck boat, which was in a shipping lane in 2010. The article noted that the two were on a church trip from Hungary.

The same article referenced another incident, but this time on land. A woman from Texas was killed by a Ride the Ducks vehicle as she was crossing an intersection in 2015.

I can’t believe that the company was not shut down immediately after the very first casualty. Referring to last week’s tragedy in Branson, there are so many unanswered questions such as who was in charge of weather updates, and who said it was OK for the passengers to not wear life jackets (even for those under 18)?

Every time I have been kayaking or on a boat, the employees of the businesses do not let passengers on board who under the age of 18 without a life jacket. Also, a storm doesn’t come out of nowhere. I’m sure Springfield metrologists reported on incoming storms that day.

The Ride the Ducks have been in business for decades, so one would think that the employees would understand the dangers of going out when storms are predicted in the forecast. Even if the storms don’t amount to anything, it’s called better safe than sorry.

The investigation will see operators of the boat violated Coast Guard-issued limitations by going out when bad weather was predicted, according to an AP story.

I’m certain that evidence will be found that violations were made. I really hope that the attraction will close for good. It’s sad that it has to happen after so many lives were lost. How can a widely known attraction recover from this?

This story was picked up by the Associated Press, Huffington Post BuzzFeed, and broadcast networks among several other major news organizations.

Although the company offered to pay for medical bills, funeral expenses and more, I’m sure the families of the loved ones who died will file law suites.

My colleagues posted photos of the candlelight vigil, memorial service and the placement of flowers on cars. It looked like dozens of people came together and the hashtag #tablerockstrong was created.

It was nice to see a community come together to try to make up for how negligent a 40-year-old business was.