What is it about warnings not to enter that compels some people to seek entry regardless?
When a Hydro authority puts up signage warning people to stay outside on the perimeter of an unsafe area, where a water dam can be released without too much prior warning, people seek to picnic there because they deem it to be picturesque, and then, as happened in Quebec a few years back, the resulting unanticipated flood surprises the sun worshippers and picnickers and people end up dead.
There have even been instances when teen-aged boys, old enough to know better, yet excited by the prospect of potential danger and their ability to escape it through their derring-do, have clambered up those main Hydro towers, after climbing over the protective railing, ignoring signage, to confront danger. And they've paid for their reckless disregard of safety warnings with their lives, as well.
The societal problem of driving while under the influence of alcohol shows little abatement, despite the shrill warning efforts of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, municipal authorities and their police forces. People simply don't take kindly to barriers set up to prevent them from doing as they will. In Calgary a horrific crash took place when a cement truck being driven erratically slammed into a passenger vehicle stopped at a light, killing the five occupants.
A witness, following close behind, cell phone in hand reporting the accident, testified at the trial of the truck driver that he saw the driver exit his truck after the accident, lower a ladder, then climb to the back of the mixer. Where, additional evidence given demonstrated that the truck driver had thrown a half-empty bottle of vodka into the mixer, in an absurd effort to conceal his inebriated state.
Just as the use of safety devices in cars has come into common practise, and people are urged to buckle up, to seat their children in protective child seats, with the result that countless lives have been saved in collisions, so too has the mandatory use in Canada of motorcycle helmets diminished serious head injuries. Now safety experts are calling for the use of helmets in cycling and skiing, to avert the deadly effect of collisions.
Innumerable times throughout the winter adolescents driving ATVs and snowmobiles have severely injured themselves, and sometimes lost their lives, despite the warnings from safety experts that parents not permit their young children to drive unaccompanied by an adult. Now a 49-year-old man in Gatineau has sustained severe head injuries after having been thrown from his ATV, without protective head gear.
A month ago a couple from Quebec decided, like so many others before them in British Columbia to venture out of bounds, despite posted warnings. The man, reputedly a seasoned skier, ignored the signs, and he and his wife, geared up for a leisurely ski before heading back to their lodge, became disoriented and lost their way. They spent day after day attempting to find their way to safety, stamping SOS messages in the snow, hoping for rescue.
The messages, though seen by helicopter pilots, were never acted upon; the 'experienced skier' had left no word with anyone that they were out on their little adventure, and the lodge hadn't noticed their parked car, day after day. The experienced skier took his wife, Marie-Josee Fortin, into backcountry near Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, in Golden, British Columbia, for a Valentine's Day treat.
Eight days following their brave and bold decision to ignore the warnings, the man's wife died of hypothermia. Two days following her death, search and rescue authorities finally acted on the SOS messages, and brought the intrepid skier to safety. Although suffering frostbite, he was speedily released from hospital. He no longer has anyone to celebrate with. And he blames the length of their ordeal on rescue agencies that hadn't heeded his message.
That he hadn't had the basic intelligence to heed the many warnings that were placed in the area for the very specific purpose of saving people from their own stupidity, obviously another thing altogether. It's far easier on his conscience to blame the RCMP and other rescue groups, than his own lack of intelligence for deciding of his own free will to flaunt the warning signs and place his and his wife's lives in danger.
Theirs was not the only misadventure this winter season in the snowy, avalanche-prone mountains of British Columbia, which has seen a number of skiers along with an equal number of snowmobilers, all entranced by the prospect of playing in the pristine snow off-bounds, and bringing their lives to an end by exposing themselves to the results of unstable snow conditions causing avalanches.
Another two skiers were killed only this past week-end, while at a ski resort in British Columbia. They, along with another party of two adventure-besotted skiers ventured in yet another out-of-bounds area of the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Golden. The RCMP received an avalanche call and Golden Search and Rescue were on the scene minutes later. Their presence in that restricted area had caused an avalanche.
Two survived, two were uncovered by searchers, flown by helicopter to Golden District Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
Then there are the decidedly more mundane occasionings of tempting fate, by people tending to ignore the most basic elements of common sense; never, for example, to walk along a railroad track. Wearing headphones, Meagan Marjorie Baillie, heading to work at her local Safeway store, was struck and killed by a train on the tracks nearby her Spring Creek Mountain Village home, near Canmore, Alberta.
It's so often young people, heedless of the danger their careless decision-making leads them to, who are victims. But then just yesterday in mid-town Toronto a man in his late 50s decided to walk his two dogs along an off-limits stretch of train tracks. He'd taken his two dogs off leash, when he realized there was an oncoming train. His attempts to save his dogs failed; both they and he lost their lives.
Why we are so oblivious that our careless decision-making places us in such direct and avoidable danger is beyond rational explanation.
Labels: Adventure, Environment, Realities