For the last two weeks, the news has been full of the gripping story of the search for three climbers stranded on Oregon's Mount Hood in a series of savage snowstorms. The families and friends of the men, one of whom has been found dead, are going through a terrible time, particularly this close to Christmas. Your heart has to go out to them.
But nevertheless, the Grinch in me asks, "Why are we spending tens of thousands of dollars and risking many more lives on the mountain to rescue experienced climbers who should have known better than to try to scale this peak at this time?"
I guess I'm glad that there are brave souls who are willing to risk their lives to rescue persons in distress. Coast Guard search and rescue professionals, members of the Ski Patrol, military and police pararescue specialists, all perform a vital function that we all hope we will never need. But all too often, their services are needed not because people find themselves in deadly danger as a result of accident or natural disaster, but because people need to be saved from the consequences of doing stupid things.
We live in a no-fault society in which all too many people refuse to take responsibility for their actions, and expect to be bailed out of trouble without consequence. The fabled America of the rugged, self-made individualist is long gone, if indeed it ever really existed.
I'm truly sorry for the three climbers in Oregon, and for their families. But I can't help feeling that they should have known better.
Have a good day. More thoughts coming.