Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Darwin Awards Miss Another One

I am really glad that these kids, and their dad, are OK. But it just reminds me how stupid people can be. Trapped by snow, missing family found alive.

About a year ago, there was a story about the Kim Family. They missed their turn on a highway and started down a country road in the mountains. They were missing for seven days and the father ended up freezing to death. All because they didn't want to spend 30 minutes retracing their steps to take the highway. That and they couldn't believe that the country really is different than the city.

In this story the father and the kids wandered into the woods looking for the perfect Christmas tree, and got lost. My guess is that they had next to no training about being in the woods, and the father certainly had no common sense. They were not dressed for a trip into the woods. Apparently they had no way to make a fire (like a lighter - see what that anti-smoking campaign has done!). Did they have a compass? Did they even try to remember which direction they had wandered away from the car? Did they have the sense given your average door knob?

How far into the woods do you have to go before you should have all of these things? How far outside "the city" do you have to be before you are expected to show the common sense any boy scout would have had in 1920? The safety requirements for my boat do not change with distance from shore. Life jackets, flares, horns or bells, etc. These are required as soon as I leave the dock, not when I pass the outer-marker or the 3-mile limit.

If these people had frozen to death, whose fault would it be, and what would you put on the death certificates? Me, I would vote for death from stupidity. At least for the responsible (sic) adult. But that's me. They were spotted just before a search was called off due to a storm. Would they have lasted another 2 days?

Am I being too hard? The world is hard! You say, "Anyone can get lost in the woods." To which I say, "Then anyone venturing into the woods should be prepared to spend the night in the woods." As Bob G. said about last year's story, "Have respect for Mother Nature, because she has none for you."

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