Saturday, April 02, 2016

Safety first

Everything in America is getting so scary - not more dangerous, but more scary.  Parents who back in the 80's managed to fend for themselves are now hovering over their offspring now that things are substantially safer, and municipalities have tried to prosecute parents for allowing a ten year old to walk a mile unescorted. Safety.  Safety above all or ├╝ber alles as the song goes.

A week or month doesn't go by without some official raising of "awareness" and I believe than April is Autism Awareness month.  Of course the danger in raising awareness is that it raises fear without a corresponding  increase in risk and it seems that people 20 or 30 years younger than me are awfully nervous about -- well about almost everything from food to firearms and so often about things that are no longer nearly as risky as they once were.

Even children can communicate with nearly anyone in an instant should they need help, but how many had the freedom I had growing up in the 50's?  Damned few I should think.  It was back when the world, just out of a nightmare war felt very safe but most things were far more dangerous than they are now.  But if some kid was kidnapped, someone shot by a maniac or his drivers license stolen or was run over by a drunk driver in Sandusky, Ohio, neither I nor my parents would know about it.  There was no Autism awareness at all, not even by doctors, but there was epidemic Polio and childhood diseases killed far more children, as did cars and household poisons. It's much safer to be a kid and an adult for that matter.

I'm not saying, by any means, that life is worse now, but the fear factor is greater and the technology that once gave us freedom and safety is now looked at with fear; telephones, WiFi, bicycles and above all CARS!  Remember that freedom you used to feel in a car?  All alone on some lonely highway even if you were only commuting?  You might have to learn how to change a tire, you might have to walk, you might have to exercise some initiative but the taste of freedom!  Now, of course you just call the motor club and your location can be tracked if you call 911 but that's not enough.  It's still possible that you make a mistake, misjudge speed and distance or misread the road surface and you'll get hurt.  Too risk, we need self-driving cars and many if not all automobile makers are putting all their resources in cars that drive themselves BECAUSE IT'S SAFER.

I've lived too long.  I haven't had an accident since the 1960's and it was a minor scrape, but how can you trust me now that awareness has been raised?   Fortunately I have a motorcycle and a self driving bike probably isn't in the 5 year plan for Harley Davidson., but  the "American Road" will soon be as safely dead as Kerouac and Dean Moriarty, and I might as well be too, because even though it gets safer every year, it's too dangerous.  Will by grandchildren inherit a world without cash, with curfews and where all social interaction is on the Internet?  I don't want to find out.



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