The Wire

Megan Burney  On a cold February day in 1998, four American pilots set out on what they thought would be a routine training mission. They had been stationed at a NATO base in the Italian Alps, and this meant that training missions took them through the mountains and valleys of northern Italy. The mission that day was a drill meant to prepare the crew for flying really low to the ground during combat. Their plane was rather small, and it didn’t carry weapons. It was the kind of plane that flew ahead of other troops to throw off opposing forces. But the mission on February 3, became really complicated. Really quickly. Captain Joseph Schweitzer was the navigator, or copilot, in the passenger seat.

Joseph Schweitzer I like to call it a mystical and mythical profession.

Megan Burney  As he and the crew peeled into an unfamiliar Valley, they stumbled upon a ski resort unexpectedly. In a matter of seconds, the plane struck-and flew through-a wire, but not just any wire. It was a suspension cable attached to a gondola lift. And when the plane snapped the wire, the closest gondola car plummeted over 300 feet to the ground.

AP Archival Tape At 15:13 on 3 February 1998, Marine 886B just left of center line, hit the Cavalese gondola, causing it to fall. The plane clipped the skylift cable, sending 19 skiers and the cable car operator plunging to their deaths.

Megan Burney  20 European civilians were inside. No one survived. Almost immediately, the disaster, or mishap as the Marine Corps calls it, became international news. And since there were fatalities, eventually, the military took Schweitzer and his pilot to court which only attracted more media attention,

AP Archival Tape  They were flying too fast and they were flying too low. We are cooperating fully with the local Italian authorities to determine why this happened, and have Italian representation on our investigation. 

In terms of the agreement, who has jurisdiction over those pilots? In terms of agreement, in terms of the status of forces agreement, the US military has jurisdiction.

I told the prime minister of Italy, and I’ll tell you, I will do everything I can to find out exactly what happened and take appropriate action and to satisfy the people of Italy that we have done the right thing. I understand why they’re hurt and heartbroken and angry, and they are entitled to answers and we’ll try to give it to them.

Megan Burney Schweitzer and the crew survived, arguably against all odds. But he’s also been blamed for causing an accident that left 20 people dead.

Joseph Schweitzer You can’t describe it. It’s just, it’s just like, it’s like this huge weight. And every day you have to make harder decisions and basically figure out how you get through this. And you just, you just feel very alone.

Megan Burney After the accident. Schweitzer and his crew set out to clear their name.

Joseph Schweitzer Our goal was you know, we had to prove the truth. Our mission really became is okay, we’re gonna have to we’re gonna have to fight this. We’re gonna have to fight our own government.

Megan Burney And after it all, more than 22 years later, he’s still trying to set the record straight.

Joseph Schweitzer I think a lot of times in history, the first version of the truth is not the whole truth, and maybe even far from it.

Megan Burney Schweitzer has spent most of his life since the accident, trying to make peace with what happened that day. as both a survivor and a perpetrator of trauma.

Joseph Schweitzer We’re all connected to the wire, those that died and those that lived…all connected to the wire.

Megan Burney International media was quick to demonize the pilots for flying recklessly and causing the crash. Until this day, this is still how the Cavalese cable car disaster is known. In a way, it’s all been pretty black and white. There hasn’t really been a deeper investigation into the gray areas that could have caused the tragedy. Like the role of the Marine Corps, for example. Whether or not this side of it all, the gray area deserves any consideration is up to you.

I’m Megan Burney, and this is Surviving. A podcast that chronicles the aftermath of trauma and the people who have survived. This is Episode One, the Wire.

Schweitzer says that growing up, he’d always wanted to be a part of something bigger than himself. With an interest in history and a deep love for sports, he looked toward Annapolis, the Naval Academy, for college. He says it just made sense. So he left his home on Long Island and never really looked back. By the time he got to the Aviano base in the Alps, Schweitzer was 31. In press photos from the disaster he looks clean shaven, with short hair like a buzz cut under his military cap, and a white t-shirt peeking out of his uniform. Colorful stripes above his left breast pocket. At 31, Schweitzer had nearly a decade in the Marine Corps, and after previous tours in Japan and southern Italy, he was actually planning to leave the Marines. He wanted to go to law school and his deployment in Aviano was likely to be his last. He even brought a personal video camera, a big black over the shoulder camcorder, to record his time as a Marine. He actually brought the camera on the flight that day,

Joseph Schweitzer I decided to take the video camera, right, I wanted to have a memento of what I did. So basically, over Lake Garda, doing what I love to do, probably maybe one of the last times I’m going to be deployed, right? Beautiful mountains, right, either side of the lake. I have nothing to do for three minutes. I take out the camera, I pan around. And I basically give myself a selfie, before we knew what a selfie was, doing what I love to do.

Megan Burney Remember, this is 1998-there were no super high tech GPS at the time as a navigator. Schweitzer’s job was to interpret charts and maps and mark the plane in relation to other landmarks. Flight data shows the plane at 5000 feet over the lake. But the crew made a course correction that brought them into a valley they hadn’t flown before. So Schweitzer and his pilot, Captain Richard Ashby, tried to get their bearings. Schweitzer calls Ashby by his nickname, Trash.

Joseph Schweitzer And the valley was the road that was going to take us to the target, which was a 12,000 foot mountain. So we made the correction. Right? We’re going up the valley, everything looks good. I can see the mountain, right right in front of me. And I think you know what it comes down to is trash sees a wire, right? It’s actually below us.

Megan Burney  So we know now that the wire he’s talking about is actually the suspension cable holding up the gondola. And when the plane encounters it, the wire is just under 500 feet from the ground. So Trash sees the wire.

Joseph Schweitzer He thinks even though we’re above it, he thinks we’re co altitude with the wire. So he stuffs the nose. 

Megan Burney So he thought that the plane was even with the wire. And in a last ditch maneuver, he directs the nose of the plane down to avoid it. And when the plane dove, Schweitzer’s wing, the right hand wing of the plane, snapped the cable. It just flew right through it.

Joseph Schweitzer I looked up and there was that wire and you know, I just thought it was gonna take my head off. So I ducked and I ducked, right, Trash stuffed the nose, there’s a thud, yellow flash, and I just yelled climb, climb climb. That was my instinct. We basically zoomed and gained altitude, I would say for about, it seemed like, you know, a couple seconds. Nobody said anything, but it was like holy smokes. What just happened?

John Eaves Jr.  They were all on vacation, you know, supposed to be having a fun time enjoying their family.

Megan Burney This is John Eaves Jr., an attorney who would later represent the victims and their families.

John Eaves Jr. You know, never could they foresee that a jet would be flying that low that fast through the middle of the mountains, you know, and cut a gondola cable that would require their loved ones to be trapped in a gondola for eight seconds before it hit the ground.

Megan Burney For months, I’ve been trying to find the surviving family members. But this accident happened over 20 years ago, and the families are scattered all over the world. Eaves, however, believes that the crew was flying recklessly, and that they were doing it intentionally.

John Eaves Jr. Our pilots were hot dogging through the middle of the Italian mouse flying too fast and too low in a sort of Top Gun style adventure.

Megan Burney And by and large. This is how the disaster has been viewed by most of the world-headlines repeated the words too low and too fast or Top Gun or reckless. Four young American pilots messing around and zooming off to safety after causing destruction. Scott free. That’s not exactly what it was for Schweitzer, though,

Joseph Schweitzer  Because all of a sudden your life changes in there no longer is at that moment there no longer is a trajectory. Right? You’re just right there, and you’re trying to figure out what happened. And then you’re questioning everything you did in the past.

Megan Burney  Schweitzer says the Italian media called him “gioci” at the time. That’s gioci spelt g-i-o-c-i, which means, “you play.”

Joseph Schweitzer It kind of severs your connection with who you are right now, with where you came from. Right? You could say before I got into the cockpit, no, February 3, there was a trajectory of Joe. Right? I knew where I was, I knew what it was like in the cockpit. I knew where I was going. I knew how to be in a jet. I knew how to do my job. Right? So there was a trajectory. And then all of a sudden, the moment happens. And, you know, that’s where I know you struggled to kind of get that, that baseline of who you are.

Megan Burney And the disaster was quickly coined one of the most gruesome peacetime disasters in US military history.

Joseph Schweitzer So not only did those people die, but a part of me died. And it’s, it’s being alive but being kind of half dead.

Megan Burney But Schweitzer says there’s more to it than just this. After the plane struck the wire, the crew was dealing with a compound emergency: the wing of the plane was severely damaged from the impact.

Joseph Schweitzer Probably the most intense struggle in my life was working with the rest of the crew to get that jet back on deck.

Megan Burney The wire had torn through gas lines and hydraulic fuel lines.

Joseph Schweitzer  I think the best way to describe it is you got 15 rattlesnakes on your lap, and you got to kill them at the right time, the right sequence, or you die. All you think about is solving the problem and not letting down the guy next to you.

Megan Burney And once they did land at base, it was really just the beginning of the nightmare.

Joseph Schweitzer Probably the hardest night I ever survived. Back in the hospital and reflecting on that, you know, when we’re back in the squadron spaces that night, it’s like ‘was I the last person they saw?’ Right, my head, my helmet. And to me that was just not a good thought. I cried like a baby. Right? Cry for them? Who were they, what did they look like? What were their names? You know, was I the last person they saw?

Megan Burney Schweitzer says he dealt with a lot of guilt this first night, and for many nights to come. But he also saw a very different side to surviving.

Joseph Schweitzer The other side is you are just, you’re just so jacked to be alive. I mean, you were just, I hate to say it, it’s giddy with joy, that you are alive. And then you catch yourself and you’re like, ‘why do I feel this way? It should have been me, not them.’ And that’s what you process those extremes the whole night. And that was my first night. You know, let’s say life number two. 

One of the first things we did as a crew was we wrote a letter of condolence. Right, we wanted to get out to the families, we wanted everybody to know that, you know, we felt so bad. This was an accident. But, you know, we cherish life. And I know that was a word that just couldn’t get translated.

Megan Burney Schweitzer says that the Marine Corps wouldn’t send the letter out on their behalf for PR reasons. So they were stuck sitting at base with no guidance or support from the Marine Corps, watching their nightmare play out on a constant news loop.

Joseph Schweitzer When you know you finally have some time to kind of process-because this thing’s moving at hyperspeed. Right? You’re sitting back you’re like, ‘how did we get there? How do we hit the wire?’ I’m a really good, I’m really good in the front seat and Trash is the best pilot in the Squadron. Right? How do we get there? And then all of a sudden, I remember oh my God, I smiled into the camera right over Lake Garda.

Megan Burney The videotape he thought was going to capture his last flight as a Marine, instead captured him smiling moments before catastrophe.

Joseph Schweitzer I put the camera away. And three minutes later, four minutes later, we hit the wire.

Megan Burney And after the crash, he couldn’t bear to think about the videotape.

Joseph Schweitzer I can barely deal with it all myself for myself, let alone share that with anybody else. That tape was the physical manifestation of my survivor’s guilt. 

Megan Burney So after consulting with Ashby, he did the only thing he felt he could do at the time. 

Joseph Schweitzer You saw all the images, you saw CNN and it’s just like, you see the crash scene, you see the coffins all lined up in the church. And you’re like, if if I basically give this tape in, right, I’m gonna see my smiling face next to the bottom, for the rest of my life,

Megan Burney And just a day after the accident, Schweitzer tossed the tape into a fire.

Joseph Schweitzer I think destroying the tape kind of woke me up. Right? I said, ‘Look, no, that didn’t help.’ Right? It didn’t help. It was like, I finally realized, ‘okay, nobody’s gonna help you.’ You need to help yourself.

Megan Burney After the accident, Schweitzer watched the aftermath unfold from the base in Italy, unsure of what was going to happen next. He says he spent 40 days in Italy, and was eventually brought back to the US where a trial and an investigation would be waiting. During that time, he felt pretty alone. Sitting with all of that guilt, he became what he calls the isolated loner. And all that isolation, all those feelings of loneliness, hit even harder when the crew returned home to the States.

Joseph Schweitzer We landed, we went in the hangar space with our Squadron, they greeted us and everything. But there was still, you could tell there was the splitting and the sides. And that started to happen more and more, you know, when we got back. So that was just another thing for a year of knowing that people are gonna side with you and people aren’t. And that’s just the way it is. I think everybody wishes that we were fooling around. And you know, we were just breaking rules. And then this would just be the story.

Megan Burney But Schweitzer says that wasn’t the truth, and he wasn’t going to accept this version of the story. To prepare for trial, Schweitzer and the crew began to gather evidence and their defense to prove that they weren’t flying recklessly.

Joseph Schweitzer One of the things that I really, you know, I’m proud of is that the four of us, which actually became myself and Trash, stood up. And not only do we take accountability for our actions, we went to trial for them, and basically proved that this was a mishap. And to do that was-that was another journey. Because it’s two guys against your government. Ever go play that game? That’s a tough one to play, especially when you believe in being part of that team. So to go against your own team was another hard thing of this.

Megan Burney He says the biggest part of their defense was simply inadequate training. The squadron at Aviano was relatively small-20, maybe 22 men instead of 30. And he says they were operating with half the amount of aircrafts three instead of six. And since the planes need to be serviced after every flight, the crews just weren’t flying that often. He says Captain Ashby was only flying four to six times a month. And just after the accident, the official Marine Corps aviation plan came out and said that aviators need to fly closer to 10 to 12 times a month in order to stay sharp in the pilot seat. That means their training mat was just half of what was required for combat readiness and to fly safely. Schweitzer says their proficiency levels match those of basic training.

Joseph Schweitzer If you look at the command Investigation Board, it wasn’t it wasn’t a very big, detailed investigation. A lot of it was very disappointing, because we knew there were a lot of issues, especially the fact that two of the board members were seasoned pilots. Right? And they flew the mishap Valley and they said ‘Wow, we came in low in this valley. We need to investigate this.’ Right? But that didn’t become part of the investigation.

Megan Burney To be honest, I wondered how much of this actually might have played a part in the accident. Or if Schweitzer was just used to telling the same story-used to defending himself. So I called up an aviation specialist. His name is Colonel Joseph. At the time of the crash. He was based in the US and in charge of combat readiness for troops here in the States.

Colonel JR Joseph The low-level Arena in particular requires a lot of frequency, a lot of frequency. That arena candidly needs to be done probably no less than three or four days a week. Repetition is everything. Aviation, not just in the low altitude arena, but any aviation and all those skills are perishable. It’s like fresh fruit, you’ve got to stay with it.

Megan Burney Colonel Joseph says that this is particularly true when it comes to flying low levels.

Colonel JR Joseph If the command element is not affording the organization and the pilots and the flight crews to maintain that viability by frequency, they’ve done them a disservice.

Megan Burney  So, Colonel Joseph just said it. Low level crews need to fly often, as often as four days a week. And if they don’t, their skills are not sharp enough. He also mentioned the command element, meaning the people in charge of deployment and missions, and said that a lack of airtime is a lapse in command. After more than a year of trial proceedings, the jury settled on an understanding as to why they thought the accident happened. They decided that Ashby, aka Trash, couldn’t interpret the attitude altitude or airspeed of the plane in relation to the earth and other points of reference. Basically, that he couldn’t and didn’t have a realistic understanding of where the plane was in space and time. It’s called spatial disorientation. So Ashby was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and all flight related charges. And that meant that the court no longer had a case against Schweitzer’s involvement in the accident, so his flight related charges were dropped.

Joseph Schweitzer  You just don’t get acquitted. Okay? We basically, we started in Aviano with collecting the data, interpreting it, giving it to our lawyers, what it meant writing motions, writing cross examinations, you know, working with the expert witnesses, all those things going through, you know, volumes and volumes of data of discovery. That’s what we did. And we teed it up and you know, we won because that’s what the truth was.

Megan Burney Schweitzer says there should have been an internal investigation into the Marine Corps and the context in which the mishap occurred. I spoke with Colonel Joseph as to why there wasn’t a deeper investigation. He had an idea.

Colonel JR Joseph  Our leadership has limitations in internal terms of what they can do, because it is driven so much by, you know, by budgetary constraints. Unfortunately, when the investigation process takes place, it’s a lot easier to stop the blame at a local level,

Megan Burney  Which is kind of exactly what Schweitzer says happened here. That the Marine Corps stopped the investigation at the crew and came to a specific resolution, rather than interrogating the system in which the accident occurred. And this incomplete story-the one that showed American pilots getting off on a technicality-is what has characterized the disaster in history.

Joseph Schweitzer  It makes it real simple. Right? It just becomes a one plus one equals two equation. But we know over and over again that that is not the real truth of an organizational mishap. That may be the very tip of the iceberg of what you see. But underneath there’s some very deep roots.

Megan Burney But just like we heard Colonel Joseph say, investigations tend to stop at the local level-meaning the people on the ground. People like Schweitzer and Ashby,

Colonel JR Joseph Many times the command elements, the higher echelon command elements, are far removed from blame when these accidents occur. Sometimes justifiably and I think sometimes maybe not so much.

Megan Burney  Schweitzer would argue, maybe not so much. In fact, he even submitted his own case study on the accident, and said that the investigation should have gone all the way up to his commanding officers, and maybe even into the structure or the foundation of the Marine Corps. And maybe this would have blown the case wide open. Because if the crew wasn’t equipped to fly, who is really responsible for the mishap?

Schweitzer has spent the last 20 plus years reexamining the mishap from the flight down to the trial outcome. He says he goes back to February 3 1998, often in a way his trauma from the crash is inseparable from how the aftermath unfolded.

Schweitzer, Ashby, and the court all found that the crew was flying under improper instruction-before setting out on the flight that day, they were never briefed on specific information that the Marine Corps had. Colonel Joseph even noted these lapses in command. For one, the crew was apparently never briefed on the cracked altitude restrictions. They were under the impression they could fly as low as 1000 feet, while Italian aviation regulations had actually raised the restrictions to 2000 feet. Secondly, the crew didn’t have the right maps. The charts that Schweitzer was looking at, did not account for ski lift cables or gondola cars. Here’s what Colonel Joseph had to say.

Colonel JR Joseph So the awareness Yes, I’m sure the crew knew that there. They did exist out there. They simply did not know that they existed at that particular point. And the combination of the two put the airplane in the wrong place at the wrong time. And ultimately, that’s what caused the mishap.

Megan Burney And he was actually pretty quick to corroborate Schweitzer’s story. He says they probably weren’t flying recklessly, definitely not on purpose. He also says to accuse them of hotdogging is an inadequate representation of what actually happened that day.

Colonel JR Joseph And I wouldn’t, I’d be very careful to cast that term in the context of this mishap because I don’t think that’s what it was. Certainly, protocols were broken. Make no mistake about that.

Megan Burney He’s referring to Schweitzer destroying the videotape.

Colonel JR Joseph  But I think there is a distinction in the term hot dogging and what actually transpired in this mishap.

Megan Burney You see, an initial sweep of the aircraft revealed cellophane cassette wrappers. So everyone knew that someone had recorded the flight. And actually, one of the crew members in the backseat offered up information about Schweitzer’s videotape in exchange for immunity. The secret was out. And so Schweitzer owned up.

Joseph Schweitzer I went first and I pled guilty. And you know, I think it was the right thing to do. Do I argue the venue that it was maybe tried in and there were a lot of factors and issues in that case?

Megan Burney He’s implying that the merit of his actions could not have been judged because he was acting in the wake of a massive trauma.

Joseph Schweitzer But yeah, that was the venue and I wanted to take responsibility. And I didn’t want Trash to go to trial for it. But he did. And you know, he was found guilty.

Megan Burney So Schweitzer pled guilty, then Ashby was found guilty of destroying the videotape, and both pilots were dismissed from the Marine Corps. Ashby spent six months in military detention. Schweitzer didn’t do any time. But he was charged with obstruction of justice and conduct unbecoming of an officer for destroying the videotape. But that was really all. No one was found guilty for actually causing the accident. Not Schweitzer, not Ashby, and not their commanding officers. And 20 people, sons and daughters and sisters and fathers and cousins and friends were still dead. Gone forever. John Eaves Jr., the attorney from earlier, was in the courtroom that day, representing the families of the victims.

John Eaves Jr. By declaring the pilots not guilty, there was nobody taking responsibility. And so it was just sort of no closure for the families.

Megan Burney He says the fact that the jury who determined the case was comprised of other military officers really did not sit well with the families.

John Eaves Jr. They didn’t feel that that system was just because they felt like those pilots got special consideration by members of the same military. And so they didn’t feel like that was a just trial. You know, I think under American definition of law, you know, that would have been more like manslaughter acting so unreasonable. Yes, I think that there should have been more accountability for the pilots. But I think that the, like I said, the culture that they lived in, that they existed in, encouraged this type of behavior, and I think that the responsibility goes wider than just the pilots themselves.

Megan Burney So I asked Colonel Joseph about who we can hold accountable for the death of 20 people, as Marine Corps officers,

Colonel JR Joseph As Marine Corps officers, there were some failures here. But again, we’re a microcosm of society and human beings are human beings. Regardless if you wear a green and khaki uniform, you’re still a human being. And we have frailties. Unfortunately, those frailties carried over into causing a mishap that caused a loss of lives. So it’s unforgiving. To simply say I’m sorry, it will never be enough. But unfortunately, I don’t know what could be done at this point other than I think what the Marine Corps has done and naval aviation has done is lessons learned from mishaps. And that’s the true duty, that you have subsequent to a mishap is lessons learned, go back to the autopsy on the mishap. What protocols, policies or practices can we put in place to preclude something like this from happening again?

Megan Burney  Given the outcome of the trial, it’s unclear whether the Marine Corps has truly done this. But Schweitzer has dedicated his post mishap life to finding these lessons learned. And it’s taken some time for him to get there, like, more than 20 years.

Joseph Schweitzer But I think the hard one is when all the trials were over, is okay, what do you do now? And I think that’s really when it started to kick in. And you know, okay, everybody’s gone. And here’s Joe. Right. And, okay, what do I do with my life now, and I’m still struggling. So, I went home, I went home to Long Island, right, which I had left as a 17 year old.

Megan Burney He says he spent years after the accident, beating himself up.

Joseph Schweitzer The internal turmoil,and basically the, you know, let’s just say that the protective mechanisms that I basically built to, to endure this, were now basically, you know, becoming my autoimmune disease. And I didn’t know how to operate on it.

Megan Burney He dealt with intense panic attacks, confusion, and anxiety until he was diagnosed with chronic PTSD, almost 10 years after the accident in 2007.

Joseph Schweitzer Just having been diagnosed with chronic PTSD is like, ‘Okay, I’m not, I’m not crazy, I actually, you know, I actually have something right.’ And it’s just not me.

Megan Burney  From there, he studied trauma. He read books and pamphlets on the effects of trauma. And slowly, he began to regain a sense of self,

Joseph Schweitzer That is kind of the more generic piece there of that soul injury. When you go through that, when you’re your past and your present, I was and I am severed in that moment. That is, that is one component of that soul injury is what was is no longer and that’s where that’s something lost happens. And to me to really kind of get connected to that piece that explained it all.

Megan Burney He got into meditation, and acupuncture, and the more he learned, the less panic attacks he had. Slowly, he decided to find meaning, instead of guilt, and survival. Schweitzer is now an expert in organizational ethics. He’s got a graying beard that covers the lower third of his face, and he wears rectangular glasses. He gives regular talks to rising service people on how to prepare for failure. Sometime after his PTSD diagnosis, Schweitzer went on a rehabilitative retreat with the Wounded Warriors Project. It’s a nonprofit org that services wounded veterans. He found some solace here, connecting with other vets who are also dealing with PTSD, and learning more about how to heal his spirit. Months later, he was on his way to his wife’s family house in upstate New York, when he received a sign of sorts.

Joseph Schweitzer We’re on Lake Erie on a road and we’re driving towards their house. And I’m in the passenger seat. And there’s a field over here on my side. And I see a hawk, basically a bird of prey coming at us, right in, you know, military terms at CBDR, constant bearing decreasing range, right? It’s coming at us, coming at us and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, oh, my God.’ And all of a sudden, the hawk hit our car. Right underneath my rearview mirror. Right? No kidding. Hit our car. And I’ve seen it. I’m like, ‘Oh my god. Oh my god, that meant something.’ So, right where the wire hit my side of the plane. And I don’t have the picture anymore. But you saw there was like this mark, right, this white mark on our car.

Megan Burney So he went looking for answers, some sort of guidance as to what the hawk could have meant. He emailed the medicine man, a spiritual healer from the Wounded Warriors retreat. And he read me the medicine man’s reply.

Joseph Schweitzer What he represented was something in your life that was going to bring you harm, and he was there to protect you. He did this by offering himself and his life in your place, so that you can continue on and finish the work you still need to complete. This is why he showed himself to you in the manner that he did before he had the car and gave his life. So I believe that.

With my last breath, I hope I’ve taken, you know, all of the pain and all the suffering and sorrow of Aviano and made it at least something good. Right, and that’s really my goal. In some ways, it’s my duty and obligation. It’s my mission.

Megan Burney This episode of surviving was reported by me, Megan Burney, produced by Katherine Smith, and edited by Karen Shakerdge. Today’s episode featured music by Patrick Patrikios, VYN, Patiño, Westerlies and The Whole Other. Thanks for listening.