January 21, 2008


A few days ago, I referred to myself as a man of the 80's. For that to be true (which it is, I suppose) I also need to be a child of the 60's. Some of you will vaguely recall the 60's, the rest can ask your parents and don't believe everything they tell you. One of the hallmarks of that period of time was a contempt for authority as represented by the "man" or our parents, churches and schools. We grew our hair long because parents didn't like it, we listened and danced to rock and roll because we were told it would lead to lasciviousness (we didn't know what that meant, but we knew we wanted some) and we smoked dope to improve our eyesight (ahem). Most of this anarchy seemed to have an air of innocence about it as I look in the rear view mirror of time. The whole peace, love and rock-on scene was embraced as a statement about freedom. We didn't want to hurt anyone else, quite the opposite, as we openly flirted with and sometimes embraced other cultures, religions, medicine, education, government and lifestyles. The unconventional became conventional as a certain amount of disobedience was required in order to be accepted by mainstream society. Those who rode the "straight and narrow train" were ostracized to some extent, by the "cool kids." Fast forward a generation, and we discover that we have passed this attitude on to our own children and of course, they have improved and pushed the envelope even further.
That seems to be a long way to go, in order to get to my point (what's new, you say?) but when parents throw common sense to the wind, in order to snub rules of safety and they bring their children along for the ride, the recipe can create dire consequences. Case in point, the neanderthal who took his 14 year old son skiing out of bounds. They apparently passed several warning signs that cautioned about the dangers involved and when they got into trouble, they required rescue. I don't care if the idiot parent wants to kill himself but to teach his son that the rules, the warnings, don't apply to him can only lead to more disaster. I am really thinking about this from two angles, the first of which is that they needed to be rescued, thus putting at risk a number of other people. Putting oneself in danger is one thing but this becomes an intentional endangerment of the lives of others as they were forced to go and get them. How is that different from impaired driving, a friend of mine asked on Saturday? It's not, so charge him and punish him appropriately! I see that the father, in this case, has been sent a bill to cover the costs of rescue but the addition of a stiff fine might be justified. The other area that concerns me is the lesson that he has taught his son. Most kids today think that they are living in the Age of Entitlement. Anything they want should be theirs, regardless of consequences, economics, the rights of others and common sense. So now, this parent has taught his son that disregarding a danger warning has no real consequences because there will always be someone there to rescue him. Dear old dad will pay the costs of rescue and the people who showed up to take them back to safety - oh well, they were just doing their jobs. What could possibly go wrong as we teach a whole new generation that there is no need to take responsibility for their actions.

And besides, it didn't really improve my eyesight as promised - I have to wear glasses but I Can See Clearly Now.

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