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Monday, December 14, 2009

What is personal responsibility?

I was listening to the national news tonight and they were talking about the climber who was found, yesterday I think, on Oregon's Mt. Hood, and his two friends who still haven't been found. Now for those of you living South of the Equator, Mt. Hood is deep into cold, snowy, winter. It is NOT a good time to climb unless you take a lot of precautions and winter survival gear.

Guess what? These climbers did NOT take one of the most basic survival tools available in the area, a radio beacon locator capable of showing rescuers where they are stranded! It's now very cold, very stormy and things are looking bleak for the missing climbers. What has me agog is the statement made by the family of one of the still-missing, she said they were 'experienced' and 'quite responsible' climbers. Yeah? Then why did NONE of them have an RLB? Folks, the various rescue teams have even called in military helicopters to help try to locate them before the weather closes completely in - and they're still not located!

No doubt, once their frozen corpses are found, the news media will be awash with paens to them and oceans of tears wailing "Why did this tragedy happen?" I'll tell you why, because these thrill-seekers couldn't be bothered to make the most basic efforts to ensure they could be rescued if things went bad. These climbers bear FULL responsibility for their possible deaths and, if they DO happen to be found alive, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

If you want to engage in extreme sports, fine. But you better carry insurance to cover rescue costs and you better have proper survival and/or rescue equipment on hand. I understand that some activities don't have personal locator/rescue equipment to aid rescue workers, but for those that do, it SHOULD be a crime to not have them with you.

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