...Barksdale also shoots a hole into the theory that the Captain was some...
I don't see much of a hole.
We've all agreed, including you, that he is fully responsible for setting out toward a hurricane and the unnecessary death of an inexperienced crew member. You pick the descriptor. This one will stick for many.
A reasonable debate about whether passing a test and spending time on the water to get your ticket makes you as qualified as all who did the same. Personally, I think 17 years on the same vessel made him complacent and his ticket, despite how hard it is to achieve, didn't stop him from making an extraordinarily bad decision.
Now this is just in irrefutable evidence. Whether we are to believe what he said on the Youtube video or not, he was being a blowhard. Deck doesn't move in 70ft waves, chases hurricanes, no such thing as bad weather.... It's in his own recorded words.
...who was followed blindly by a crew of cultists like who followed Jim Jones as was speculated by some in this thread...
The analogy is crude and emotional, but the concept is sound. It is in evidence that they knew of the incoming storm. Either by reputation or action, he had to give the crew the confidence to take it on. Its clearly too far to suggest he was on a suicide mission, but the culpability of a strong leader to get people to do things they would never do on their own is fair in my book.
I thought you declared this thread closed a few posts back.