Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Practicing Prudence

Anytime someone dies, it is a tragedy.  Not so much for the dead person, they're dead and beyond comedy, tragedy, joy, or despair.

Prudence: Preparation, foresight, and judgment
For the people left behind, however, there is tragedy.

When people die in the wilderness, that tragedy is often brought on through the taking of risks.

Sometimes those risks are understood and considered acceptable.  More times than not, they arise from plain dumb luck, ignorance, or lack of discipline.

The hiker killed by a Yellowstone Grizzly, though there were no witnesses, would suggest an example of dumb luck.  The hiker had lived in Yellowstone multiple seasons and there are no indications that he had made any obvious mistake.

Living entails the possibility of dying.  Sometimes you get hit by the bus despite following all the safety regulations.  Sometimes you meet the grizzly with your number.

In hindsight one could say that he should have been carrying a .45 caliber handgun, but few hikers do and the decision is not an irrational one given the gun's weight, whether or not he feels the need to own one in his normal life, and the general safety of hiking in Yellowstone.

More times than not, however, wilderness deaths arise from ignorance or lack of discipline.

Consider a French couple, who heroically gave their lives to save their own son from the desert of the American southwest.  Unfortunately, it was they who put his life at risk in the first place, beginning their hike in the heat of the day and with less than 1/3 of the recommended amount of water.

Prepare twice, respect the wild, don't die.

Then there is just plain old lack of discipline or poor judgment.  The accident was avoidable.  The human involved knew better but the thing is looks like just too much fun and acts stupidly.

"Hey honey, hold my beer for a second..." or "It won't happen to me."

Prudence if you will, is comprised of all these things: preparation, foresight, and judgment.  It is a virtue, a character trait if you will, and it is learned.

I may be going out on a limb assuming the hillbillies who filmed this video knew better but it is only dumb luck that keeps them from returning to the Manitou.  I would suspect they exhibit imprudence in other areas of their lives.

That is the moment when you realize you messed up...
Posted by Ghetto fights & Crazy videos on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

If their families experience the tragedy of their loss, it was just as likely to happen in an urban center as in the wild, except maybe that the wild has fewer safety railings.  People raised in a world of safety railings are ill prepared to spend time unsupervised in the wild.

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