Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16. Day 137. Where's the balance?

As a society we have become so risk adverse - or perhaps it's litigation adverse - that we manage to create new and more impressive headaches for ourselves. Kids used to roam and come home at dinner time. That's too dangerous now. We collect them from the school gate and then wonder why they are not getting enough exercise. For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction and the action we are seeing more and more of is the nanny state stepping in to "protect" individuals against themselves. Take Simon the slackliner. Musgrave Park used to be a hive for the slackliners but not so much any more. Simon was there this afternoon and he says councils make his hobby increasingly difficult to pursue. Slackliners face complaints about possible damage to the trees from tethering the lines, for a start. As Simon points out, no-one has a more vested interest in protecting the trees than a person whose life is literally on the line attached to that tree. There are also complaints about the lines across a park amounting to capturing an exclusive occupation of the park by sleuth. Of course, a group playing cricket on the oval is doing much the same but that sport is better understood and accepted.  And when it comes to being understood and accepted, a person who climbs on that line and twists and turns and jumps and balances knows and accepts the risks associated with that activity.  Sure, says Simon, most slackliners have been injured and they don't need a council to tell them to act sensibly to mininise that. No-one want to get hurt. You have to wonder if that risk is theirs and it's time for others to step back and let them go. 

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