Yes it is sad how people always have to die before lessons are learned
Not always, but you know how it is with bureaucracies ... nothing gets them motivated quite as well as a good disaster.
I always figured the Flight 007 was a similar case, after seeing documentaries about both incidents I see them in a similar light.
Naw, man. I mean, sure, there are some superficial similarities, but the things which actually caused the incidents are COMPLETELY different.
The Soviet shootdown is a simple case of browbeaten lackeys under a tyrannical regime making what they figured was the best choice to cover their asses. There was no threat to them. The aircraft was nowhere near the people who made the call, and was on it's way out of Soviet airspace. The pilot involved even told them he believed it was a civilian airliner. Yet they decided to shoot it down anyway.
The Vincennes incident was the exact opposite. It involved personnel under serious threat from Iranian forces, in hostile territory, faced with an aircraft they couldn't identify which seemed to be on an attack vector. They were scared for their lives, and under an immense amount of stress. I'm not sure how to explain that to someone who works a 9-5 job in an office. Lots of people talk about "stress" in their day-to-day jobs, and I'm sure there's some truth to their complaints, but unless you're a first responder, an air traffic controller, or a soldier in a combat zone, you really don't know what stress is, or how badly it can skew your normal behaviour. We train our people to recognize it, avoid it, or deal with it ... and we put measures in place to try and minimize it ... but when you're engaged in combat and feel that your life is on the line, even the best preparations can only do so much. It only gets worse when you're the one responsible for a multi-million dollar vessel, and several hundred lives on board it.
The difference may be easier to visualize if you relate it to something you're more familiar with. The Soviet shootdown of 007 was the equivalent of a couple police supervisors sitting at headquarters, ordering a patrolman to shoot an unarmed man running away from a property he trespassed on. The American shootdown of the Iranian flight was the equivalent of a couple SWAT guys under heavy fire panicking and shooting a civilian who was running towards them. Both are horrible incidents which should never have happened. But other than that, they have absolutely nothing in common.