Written by Sanford Begley
I saw a video on FaceBook today, a line of people in wingsuits lined up and jumping off a mountain. It happened to be titled Crazy White People. I agree with the title, almost. It should have been titled crazy young people. Why crazy? About halfway through the video the person wearing the GoPro took his turn, about halfway down the cliff someone had augured in.
Now some of you are going to say “but people have always been adrenaline junkies look at XXX”. Thing is that the old days of adrenaline rushing were dangerous, not suicidal. I don’t follow the wingsuit “sport” but a man I know does. He talked to me about it. He told me that auguring in isn’t always fatal and many people resume the sport as soon as they heal. He also mentioned that most of them die in later accidents.
Now don’t get me wrong, a large portion of me is happy to see chlorine cleaning the gene pool. We have too many idiots today. If you don’t believe me look who the top contenders for this year’s election are. People voting for Trump, Clinton, or Sanders are seriously brain damaged and a detriment to the human race. No, this isn’t going to be a political post, that is simply the most widespread example of idiocy this year.
Thing is, I’m trying to figure out why we have so many idiots out there. Not just the wingsuiters or base jumper either. There are a lot of videos around of people hoverboarding on the lip of skyscrapers or riding a bicycle down a mountain ridge about a foot wide and high enough that an accident probably means death.With others taping it, cheering them on, and waiting their turns to try and overmatch the previous idiot.
You see, when I was a young man we did wheelies on motorcycles and small jumps over hills. We didn’t do front wheelies at ninety miles an hour on the interstate and then stand on the seat. Nor did we climb out to the middle of a beam hanging over the side of a skyscraper and do gymnastics routines. What made the change?
I’m not sure, I don’t think anyone can be sure,but I have a few ideas. Whether I’m right or wrong my reasoning is fairly sound and my guess is as good as anyone’s. So I’m going to make a few guesses from my observations of people over the last half century.
When I was growing up, half my classmates were farm kids, the rest had families in occupations of various risk but they all worked occasionally at real occupations that carried real risk. Everyone knew someone that had been caught in a baler, or a stamping press or some other kind of remorsely brutal machinery. Work had dangers inherent in it, life had risk and we tried to minimize it. Death may not have been a constant companion, but we were familiar with it.
Becoming a man was largely a matter of accepting that life was dangerous and you had to accept it and go on. You took a bit of that and a bit of responsibility and made a life. The problem is that we did too good a job of making life safer.
Kids today learn that there are no real consequences to their actions. If you die you just reload the game and go on. Young people are always immortal, we were, so are these kids. Thing is, we had been exposed to real dangers, gotten hurt, and gone on. Many of these kids have never suffered any consequences to their actions, They get awards for showing up. How the devil are they supposed to know how stupid their actions are?