by Adella Chatelaine, Investigative Reports
11/6- It only took ten minutes into the annual IIC conference in Crowndon for disaster to strike this year. Last year, it was a fire set by a presenter’s introductory fan fare; this year, a malfunction occurred with Velcom Technologies new Personal Explosive Device, resulting in the loss of the presenter’s arm. Unlike the fire, which cleared the press hall, this year’s presser continued after the premature detonation of the device.
This has raised serious questions about the safety of inventions and products being put on display. Many are calling for a full month of inspections and inquiries into said presentations before the show, particularly by those audience members in the front row.
“It was horrific,” said Charles Dunsany, a reporter for the Sau Anoit Times. “No one in the audience was injured, but we were hit with…um…’splashback’. The cravat I was wearing was brand new, too! I cannot for the life of me figure out the purpose of such a device. If companies must present weapons at the show, they should do so outside, in a carefully controlled environment.”
Velcom and IIC representatives both deny allegations of negligence or wrong doing.
“We followed all the proper procedures for the presentation of such a device,” said one such representative. “We had set up a special enclosure into which the presenter was supposed to throw the device, sending up a harmless and vibrant display of dyed sand. The fault lies solely on the manufacturing of the device, a fault I am told exists in only one in ten of the first production run. It was a fluke!”
How many more disasters must occur at trade shows such as this before changes are implemented? How many more venues must be reduced to ash, or presenters maimed, before these companies acknowledge the way they do things presents a clear and present danger to the people on stage and in the audience?
To hear them speak of it, it all comes down to their bottom line, which does not surprise this reporter.
“For the moment, the cost of developing and enforcing such regulations is more than the cost of dealing with the theoretical damage presented in your inquiry, ma’am,” Velcom president Bill Arnolf told me. “Further, they would damage our production schedule and hinder the planning and execution of the conference, which would cost us the support of investors. It simply is not worth it for us.”
I reached out to the injured presenter last night, but he was prevented from speaking by his contract, a contract that also excuses Velcom of any responsibility for injuries sustained during the presentation.
Adella Chatelaine is the Blackwood Gazette’s first female staff member, and editor-in-chief of our Nor Easter Branch. Before being hired by the Gazette, Chatelaine earned both acclaim and notoriety as a freelancer, contributing to several major publications. She earned a Bulloch Prize for her article on working conditions in Monteddor under the pen name Alan Chastain, a prize that was unfortunately revoked when she revealed her true identity. She went on to write an industry shattering expose on sexism in Triumvirate journalism. She did not win an award, but she did affect change. “That was it’s own reward,” she said.