July 9, 2011, - 11:46 pm

Tragic: Say a Prayer for American Hero James Hackemer, RIP

By Debbie Schlussel

This is so very sad.  American soldier James Hackemer survived two tours of duty in Iraq, died twice on the battlefield, and though he lost both his legs to an IED, lived to tell about it and return home to his family in upstate New York.  Tragically, he was thrown from a roller coaster and died.  At least he died doing something he wanted to do.

Sgt. James Hackemer, Rest In Peace

However, I think that amusement parks may want to consider limiting the ability of those without their legs from riding roller coasters and other rides in which the velocity and lack of legs to keep a human body grounded inside the car of the ride may cause this kind of tragic accident.  (That, or they will have to have more secure harnesses, seatbelts, and restraining bars in the rides, but they had that in this particular ride, and it didn’t prevent him from falling out.)  Yes, I am sure that such a policy will lead to greedy, sleazy lawyers filing unworthy Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits, but those are preferable to losing lives like that of Hackemer, a father to two children.  His death is Exhibit A of why such a policy is necessary. The ride’s speed was 50 miles per hour, and without legs, it must be very difficult to stay grounded and anchored inside the roller coaster car.

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Say a prayer for James Hackemer and his widow and children. May he rest in peace.

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17 Responses

May Sgt. James Hackemer’s memory be for a blessing. RIP. May G-d give James Hackemer’s widow, children, and the rest of the Heckemer family the strength to get through this terrible time for them.

JeffE on July 10, 2011 at 12:23 am

May Sgt. Hackemer rest in peace. I agree with everything JeffE said. But Hackemer was not a stupid man. He CHOSE to go on the roller-coaster, when he KNEW he had no legs to keep him in the car.

Miranda Rose Smith on July 10, 2011 at 4:25 am

JeffE, you said it so well. God bless this great, American hero! Thank you Sgt. for all you gave for America! You are definitely in my prayers!

Skunky on July 10, 2011 at 4:52 am

Tragic. But, his poor judgement of the strength he would need to stay in the car without legs led to his family being without husband or father.

RA2216 on July 10, 2011 at 7:48 am

It is a very sad thing. As for judgment, he was trying not to let his disability keep him from actively participating in life, and not simply becoming an invalid in fear of trying anything he used to do before. Mr. Hackemer probably realized that there was a problem after the ride started, but by then it was too late for him.

I would say that the American with Disabilities Act should be examined in light of this accident. A right is not really a right if it has a reasonable chance of causing you death or dismemberment. Larger amusement parks could probably absorb the costs of retrofitting their rides for the severely handicapped, but that same requirement would probably be the demise for smaller or family owned enterprises. Lower tier amusement parks and tourist attractions have been dying out for nearly a decade, due to higher gasoline prices and a deteriorating economy.

worry01 on July 10, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Excellently said. There have been a number of occasions where the Americans With Disabilities Act has not taken into account all issues and has put not only the disabled individual, but also others into dangerous situations.

    Naomi R on July 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

Worry, your post was wonderful. You hit the nail on the head on each issue and your tone was perfect. Bravo!

Skunky on July 10, 2011 at 10:59 am

It is a real tragedy when a real hero dies. I had the honor of witnessing the motorcycle funerary procession of Staff Sgt. Donald Stacy yesterday. This was the first time that I had ever seen a glass trailer pulled by a motorcycle which carried the flag draped coffin of Staff Sgt. Donald Stacy. I learned more about him after talking to my brother, who is a funeral director in the area. Staff Sgt. Donald Stacy did two tours in Iraq and was killed two weeks into was on his third tour in Afghanistan. (http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/07/10/20110710avondale-soldier-donald-stacy-honored.html) A real travesty as are all soldiers’ deaths. My God bless our soldiers and their families and comfort those who have/are suffering due to the loss of their military friend/family member.

pats on July 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Doing something stupid is what we’re all entitled to. We deserve to have that freedom to choose what is right for us, regardless of what other think.

I don’t approve of James Hackemer’s conduct but its his right as an American. No one, least of all me, was going to take it away from him, even for his own good!

May he RIP!

NormanF on July 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm

It is quite sad that he died. I thank his family for his sacrifice for me.

Occam's Tool on July 10, 2011 at 10:41 pm

May I make a suggestion…donating to many groups helping wounded soldiers and/or their families. One group is the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (CSAH). I would also suggest the Wounded Warrior Project, but that piece of Faux News Feces Bill O’Reilly supports them!

I doubt the Long Island Neocon Hannity knows of them. Here is their website…


Bob Porrazzo on July 11, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Play informative for me, Mr. itenrent writer.

    Hester on July 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm

We do not need a Nanny state, whoops we already have one.
This courageous man was doing what he wanted to do.
RIP Hero!

Tina on July 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

“…he DIED TWICE on the battlefield”?

Sad to see a man like this go- RIP.

Robert on July 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Thank you for your service SGT Hackemer. What a good man…this is so sad.

Angela04 on July 12, 2011 at 9:51 am

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