San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, March 27, 2015

Safety Is Overrated

I was driving down the road the other day when I passed a marquis outside a government school building.  The marquis ordered anyone who read it to, "Be safe and have a wonderful Spring break."  I was not on Spring break so I ignored the exhortation to be safe.  I was cleaning bathrooms at a warehouse district building in north Denver last month when I spotted a very familiar sign.  It said, "Safety First."  I have seen hundreds of those signs posted in places that I have cleaned over the years.  They are put there by the union stewards who work in those factories and represent the local unions who operate there.  I knew it did not apply to me because I had not paid any union dues.  I was preparing to walk out of Dunkin Donuts with a bag full of Munchkins a couple of weeks ago when the lady behind the counter who had just taken my money exhorted me to "be safe out there."  It was snowing at the time.  I managed to drive home without killing myself or any one else for that matter.   I was reading the Letter to the Editor section of the Denver Post this week when I came across a letter from a lady from Arvada about the decision of Colorado lawmakers to not require yoga teachers to be licensed by the state.  It was a rare breath of non-regulatory fresh air in my view.  She did not agree. She wrote, "It will strip consumer protection to those taking yoga teacher training, diminish the integrity of the yoga teacher training, and harm the students of yoga who count on a reliable process for yoga teachers that ensure their safety in classes."  Wow, I never knew yoga was so dangerous.
At this website I learned that, "The United Nations defines the Rights of a Child as “beyond basic Human Rights”,  including “…measures to protect the child from … physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect…”   In the Preamble of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989):  “…the child, by reason of physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care…”  Adults must be accountable for children’s right to be safe.  In crisis situations across the globe, research experts use an informative acronym, SAFE, to evaluate, prioritize and coordinate resources for children’s safety."  So "safety" is now a human right.  Who would have thunk it?  In a recent Ask Amy column, Amy gave this advice to a person who had asked her about the fact that his Asian granddaughter was being made fun of at school because of her Asian physical features, "I don’t often suggest this, but I think you should call a lawyer. The school has a duty to provide a ‍safe environment for your granddaughter."  Quick, call Frank Azar, he will fix it. 
While writing the above two paragraphs I saw a report on the Weather Channel informing me that "10 million people in Missouri are at risk" due to some severe weather conditions that currently exist there.  I guess the wind was blowing some trees down and folks were fearful the trees might fall on them.  Being "at risk" is essentially the same thing as being unsafe.  When I think about the concept of "at risk" I can recall hundreds of different groups that I am told fit into that category.  Recently released criminals are at risk of recidivism.  Thugs in poor neighborhoods are at risk of stealing things from local Kwik-E-Mart stores.   Heterophobic people, commonly known as homosexuals, are at risk for depression if I don't immediately run up to them when I see them and effusively affirm their lifestyle choices.  People in lower income groups are at risk of stealing from those in higher income groups while those in higher income groups are at risk of not having enough for their retirements.  The list goes on and on.  Everyone is at risk.  The popular response to all of this risk associated with life is to elevate "safety" to the highest point of prominence.  Everything we do must be done in the light of being safe.  Right?
What is wrong with everyone?  Can you imagine how economically, culturally, financially and personally retarded we would all be if "Safety First" had been the motto of our ancestors?  Nothing would ever have been done if people were not willing to assume some degree of risk.  The belief that all risk can be eliminated is a relatively new thing.  In the past people were smart and independent enough to know that anyone coming and promising total safety was more than likely looking for a secret entrance to their bank accounts and wallets.  They knew that absolute safety was a pipe dream that cannot be promised or guaranteed by anyone or anything.  They knew that a large part of the joy of life is doing things that are demonstrably unsafe, knowing that the payoff for success is much greater when risk is involved in the process. Perhaps most of all people realized that government cannot provide safety, no matter what career politicians and bureaucrats might profess to be able to do.
A career bureaucrat with the Colorado Department of Transportation has announced that she can make the roadways of Colorado so safe nobody will ever be killed in a traffic accident on a Colorado road again.  Read that story here.  Nobody has challenged her assertion!  Nobody!  How can a government employee get away with such outlandish claims?  Why has she not been ridiculed for the extreme stupidity evident in her claims?  It seems as if the state-addicted zombies who populate the land have come to the point where they actually believe what government tells them, no matter how outlandish the claim.  As long as safety is involved it seems to be the case that folks really and truly believe that government is capable of providing it for them.  Of course in exchange for that plenitude of safety is the total loss of freedom.  Apparently I am the only person who is disturbed by this turn of events.
To illustrate how extreme it has become, go back to the top and read the comment from the lady who believes attending yoga classes with an instructor who has not been certified by the government as qualified is an unsafe thing to do.  What is going to happen?  Are the students going to be perpetually stuck in the Lotus position?  Is everyone going to exit the class limping and with torn muscles and ligaments simply because the person calling out the various positions does not have the permission of the government to do so?  Are we really expected to ask a yoga instructor for her certification from the state prior to taking our place in class?  Have we all become so fearful that not one of us believes we are capable of taking a freelance yoga class without endangering our lives and livelihoods?  
I don't know about you but I have had enough.  I am going out this afternoon and riding my bike while not wearing a helmet.  In fact, I am going to ride my bike downhill and exceed 30 miles per hour without wearing a helmet.  Then I am going to take a walk on a forest path through known lion, bobcat and coyote territory.  I know I am taking my life into my own hands but it must be done.  Call me suicidal but after my walk I am going to drive to the local doughnut shop for a cream filled doughnut and not fasten my seat belt for the trip.  Then I am going to eat the doughnut while driving home.  If I had a cell phone I would text someone and tell them what I am doing.  In fact, now that I think about it, I am going to risk diabetes and heart disease and eat two of those cream filled doughnuts.  After finishing off the cream filled beauties I am going to go to the gym and work out without wearing a mask over my face and rubber gloves on my hands.  I know the flu is flying around the gym and every surface probably has infectious diseases just waiting to jump into my moist nostrils but I must do it.  I must cheat death once again.  
After my workout I will return home and take a shower in the shower stall that does not have safety handles installed in it.  Despite my advanced age I will stand on the wet floor of a shower stall without any way to keep myself from falling when the inevitably slip takes place.  After the shower I will towel off with a towel that has been washed with detergent filled with known toxins.  Undoubtedly those toxins will get into my skin and put me well on the pathway to some sort of toxic poisoning or another.  I will finish my evening by sitting out on the back porch, recently coated with a toxic waterproofing chemical, absorb the final cancer-causing rays from the sun, smoke a fine Cuban cigar filled with hundreds of deadly chemicals all slowly eating away at my brain and sip from a glass of fine Welsh whiskey.  I don't know if I will be back tomorrow but what a way to go.

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