Friday, July 22, 2011

No Sympathy Part II

Three people died the other day when they went over the 317 foot Vernal Falls at Yosemite National Park.  Witnesses report that two of them crossed safety barriers and waded out into the water above the falls to take a picture.  One of them slipped, the other slipped trying to help the first one, and a third person crossed barriers to get to the first two.  The rest of their group, including several children, watched all three go over the falls, apparently to their death.

In the same vein, a 50 year old hiker in south-eastern Arizona was rescued after being lost in the Cochise Stronghold for seven hours.  She apparently was on a hike with family and got lost.  Since she was able to walk out, I'm going to assume she had at least a little water.  7 hours in the open in Cochise County during high summer without water is a good way to die. I've hiked that area, and this lady is lucky to have been found alive.

Every year someone decides to try to climb Mount Hood a little too late or a little early in the year, which causes huge search and rescue efforts, sometimes leading to the injury or death of rescuers.   Do people not look at weather predictions and the news before heading out?

The Coast Guard regularly rescues people who try to take a little boat in bad repair or improperly equipped out onto the big ocean.  These dedicated people take their lives in their own hands to save the lives of people who shouldn't have gotten off the dock.

Every summer you hear about people who get mauled and killed by bears who attack after being fed or are startled while raiding coolers and food boxes in camping areas.  Apparently people never learn to tie their food up in trees while in bear country.  I know people who are shocked when I tell them they shouldn't be storing food in the same tent they sleep in.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  People regularly do stupid things when leaving civilization and don't realize how quickly Mother Nature can kill you.

For those who die because of their own stupidity, I feel nothing.  They put their own lives and the lives of everyone who tries to rescue themselves at risk by being morons.  If there is a guardrail and signs telling you to not get any closer to the waterfall, don't cross it.  If you're going to go for a hike in anywhere more rugged than the local golf course, you need to go prepared.  That means taking food, water, a first aid kit, a knife, and a way to make fire.  If you think the world is going to take pity on you because you don't know what you're doing, you're dead wrong.  And if you're taking your family with you when you take your dumbass act on the trail, you're killing your children while you commit slow suicide.

In the Yosemite incident, I feel for the people who watched the hikers die, and I feel for the person who sacrificed herself trying to save two other human beings.  The other two were dead as soon as they left the parking area.

People, don't assume that anything is safe.  Enjoy the world that doesn't include hotels and paved parking lots, but be aware of how quickly things can go bad.  Know what you're walking into, know the expected weather, follow posted safety notices, and have what you need to keep you and yours alive when things go to hell.  I won't feel bad for you when you die because of stupidity, but I will feel horrible for those who love you and those who are injured or die trying to find and rescue you.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Good post, and MANY responders and rescuers have lost THEIR lives trying to save idiots like these... Those I do feel sorry for, the 'victims' in this and other cases, no. They KNEW better and did it anyway.

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