Violinist under attack for Amtrak crash tweet

The violinist Jennifer Kim is being subjected to a storm of social media protest after tweeting about her violin in the aftermath of the Amtrak train crash.

‘Thanks a lot for derailing my train,’ she tweeted at Amtrak through her account @vinoviolin. ‘Can I please get my violin back from the 2nd car of the train?’

jennifer kim tweet

A host of hostile tweets followed, attacking her insensitivity when fellow-passengers lay dead and injured. She swiftly took down her social media accounts.

Do be careful out there.

jennifer kim

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  • for an accident of this magnitude to occur, it would seem highly likely that someone at Amtrak is criminally negligent.

  • I understand the musician who is attached to their instrument. There are many who consider their instrument as close to family as possible. I get it. But, the wording of her tweet was insensitive. The tweet would not have gotten the negative response if she had worded it with more sensitivity, imho. Finally, who knows if she was in total shock and traumatized by this all. I know I would be and while I can’t carry my instrument under my chin (I’m a pianist), I’m still not sure how I’d react beyond being shaken by the incident.

    • The nature of Twitter precludes much more than blunt statements. Even with copious abbreviating and the use of emoticons or typographical symbols, 140 characters does not offer a lot of room for more than one thought (or, in this case, two: she’s mad at AMTRAK and she wants her violin back). I think it reasonable to take it as read that she also extends her sympathies to the dead and their families.

      The nature of social media seems to encourage shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later behavior and instant outrage and reaction rather than thoughtful reflection.

  • I think the vituperation towards Kim is misplaced. The fact that she survived the crash does not mean that she would not have been seriously perturbed and upset — getting her violin back swiftly would, no doubt, considerably assuage the anxiety she would be feeling, and elicit something of a “return to normality”. Most of us have not been in a train crash, so we should not be so swift as to condemn the sarcastic tone of her tweet — it may well be an emotionally necessary catharsis.

    On a practical note, it is important to point out the presence and location of high-value items promptly, before they are removed from the scene (or worse, looted) and potentially lost in the system for a protracted period of time (it is possible that the police would want to retain luggage for some time as “evidence”; naturally, in such circumstances, it is understandable that a musician should want any such process to be expediated where the tools of his/her profession are the articles concerned). Finally, in the event of serious damage to the violin, it is vital that the pieces be gathered before they get further separated or lost.

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