Saturday, July 19, 2008

Reason and responsibility

We all want the same thing. I mean except for a few mental midgets who truly want chaos, we all want safety and security. We all want to be safe in our homes, on the freeway, and safe at work. We all want our children to be safe at school, safe at home, safe at grandma’s house, safe on the sidewalk, safe in church, etc.
- safety: freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury, danger, or loss.
- security: precautions taken to guard against crime, attack, sabotage, espionage, etc. something that secures or makes safe; protection; defense.
- responsible: having a capacity for moral decisions and therefore accountable; capable of rational thought or action

So, what it comes down to is how you want to achieve the state of feeling safe and secure.

Medical safety
American Red Cross

“For nearly a century, the American Red Cross has prepared people to save lives through health and safety education and training. From first aid, CPR and bloodborne pathogens training to swimming and lifeguarding, HIV/AIDS education and Babysitter's Training, American Red Cross Preparedness programs help people lead safer and healthier lives.”

“Today's innovative programs also include teaching lay persons and professionals how to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to save victims of sudden cardiac arrest. Last year, nearly 11 million people enrolled in American Red Cross health and safety courses."

Why have 11 MILLION people enrolled? Because the sooner first aid is available the better the chances of survival, that’s why. If the “lay person” is on site the victim need not wait for someone to arrive before help can begin.

Train more people. Equip more people. Better chance of survival.

I’m pretty sure a defibrillator used in an irresponsible fashion can harm or kill. Much like a knife or gun or automobile can maim or kill; when used carelessly by unqualified untrained people. Why has no one complained about these potentially lethal devices being placed in our schools and churches and homes? Because, when used correctly, they SAVE LIVES, that’s why. Having this equipment readily available and trained personnel nearby makes us feel safer.

Motor vehicle safety
Motorcycle helmets make me feel safer, so do seatbelts. As a society we are so enamored with these particular safe practices we force it on people by making it law. We require auto manufacturers to include airbags for more security. Do I agree helmets and belts are safer? Yes. Do I think people should be forced to be safe? No. Bungee jumping isn’t particularly safe but there is no law against it.

Train more people. Equip more people. Better chance of survival.

In a fit of road rage can I take my helmet and pummel another motorist or pedestrian? Yes. Can a carjacker get in my car and strangle me with the seatbelt? Yes. Do we prohibit people from owning helmets or buying cars with seatbelts because people who are out of control or criminal MIGHT misuse them? No.

Home safety
We require inspections to make sure our homes will meet safety standards even before we buy. We require smoke alarms and circuit breakers and gas cutoff valves. Why? For more safety and security, that’s why. Many people even have civilian security companies monitoring their homes. People pay extra money every month for additional peace of mind; more security for their home, children, even pets. Some places require additional fencing for pool safety. Some require signs posting warnings about pets. Special permits are required for exotic animals because they are potentially hazardous to others.

Litter boxes are hazardous for pregnant women. Q-tips are dangerous if you stick ‘em in your ears too far. People choke on food all over the world. Food isn’t banned by the constitution; should local governments pass laws regulating the size of the piece of steak you can put in your mouth?

Train more people. Equip more people. Better chance of survival.

Can I train my dog to viciously attack people? Yes. Do I? No. I take responsibility for my dog. He’s trained to not pee on the carpet and he’s trained to guard my property. He’s trained to not eat things on the ground because I’ve seen what poison does. He’s trained to make a racket and get my attention when someone is nearby because I don’t want anyone sneaking up on me. He’s trained to wake me up when my blood sugar makes me sleepy and sluggish. He’s trained to come get me when it’s time for my meds. He’s learning to get the phone or the remote when I can’t.

Ladies and gentlemen,
If you misuse it, intentionally or accidentally, if you don’t take the time to learn proper technique, if you are not prepared; or in criminal hands ANYTHING CAN BE DANGEROUS.
Seatbelts Q-tips Dogs Water

Personal security
Let’s face it; there’s crime everywhere. Anyone who thinks otherwise probably has their shoes on the wrong feet. Statistics can be misleading at best and anyone with a goal can (ab)use stats to show just about anything. Grabbers and Toters have been hurling stats at each other since we quit using sticks and rocks.

There is a whole phone system, NATIONWIDE, in use because the police are not nearby when you are in danger. If the police were right on top of every incident no one would need to dial 911.

Having the desire to help does not magically create an ability to help. Nor does it guarantee the presence of any entity willing and able to help at the instant help is needed. Neither of my parents can swim. When I was young, I knew if I ever got into trouble in the water, my parents would be unable to help. Ask any parent of a drowned child how long it takes for tragedy to strike. Ask any EMT/Paramedic/First Responder what the window of opportunity is for ‘help’. It isn’t very big. This is why we put SIRENS AND FLASHING LIGHTS on emergency vehicles; because response time is often the difference between life and death.

The lack of immediate professional help is why we have 911, it’s why we have ADT home security systems, it’s why we have people trained in CPR in our schools, it’s why we have lifeguards at the beach, and it’s why we should be allowed to carry weapons.

Train more people. Equip more people. Better chance of survival.

If you feel secure enough with help 3 minutes away, good for you. I can’t hold my breath that long. I’ll learn the Heimlich maneuver.
If you feel secure enough with a hamster, good for you. I’ll keep my big dog.
If you feel secure enough with 911 on speed-dial and your phone on your belt, good for you. I prefer to confront people who violate my rights with an immediate response.

People take toy makers to court when children put things in their mouths. The toymaker wasn’t there when it happened
People take auto makers to court when cars malfunction. The auto maker wasn’t there when it happened.
How long until people take the police to court when a crime happens?

What separates the gun toter and the banner-grabber is the willingness to take responsibility for personal safety.

I took responsibility to learn to drive safely. I took responsibility to train my dog safely. I took responsibility to learn first aid. I took responsibility to study self defense techniques that I hope I never have to use. I took responsibility to train with my firearms. I don’t want to have to look at my family someday and say “daddy called for help, and they’re on the way” in a situation where I could say “daddy took care of it, and it’s ok”. I have a responsibility. I’m not going to pass the buck and say it is someone else’s responsibility to keep my family safe. Because it’s not.

Its about responsibility.


Carteach0 said...

Hear Hear

Brigid said...

Amen. . I could NOT have said that better. Thank you for speaking for the quiet majority.