Josh Dalton's article "Thrill-seeking at its peak" (Sept. 29) should read "Thrill-seeking at its peak or how to die an early death." I have served with the Search and Rescue Units and Emergency Services for 15 years and have never seen such an irresponsible article published in the newspapers. To encourage people to jump from 50-foot cliffs into narrow, shallow pools is just plain stupid. I would ask if it did not create a situation where the Wildcat was not responsible (morally) and should be held liable for the deaths that could occur. By recommending such reckless behavior, I am sure the Forest Service and the Pima County Sheriff's Office might find that you are creating a public nuisance and should also be held accountable.
Too many times I have seen young people permanently disfigured, paralyzed and dead doing such stunts. Often times in the course of thrill-seeking they use drugs or alcohol, loosing the good judgment and motor skills necessary for safely climbing up the cliff and landing in the small target area. One small miscalulation may lead to a fractured spine or head injury.
I am not your mother telling you it might happen, I am an experienced rescuer telling you from experience that eventually someone will be seriously injured or die in this folly.
When paramedics, helicopter pilots and Search and Rescue personnel are required to go after people who are injured in such reckless, stupid acts, they put there lives on the line. Rescue work in these remote areas may take hours, if not a day, to get the victim out of the field requiring 30-40 rescuers. Minor injuries become life-threatening in remote locations.
If people want thrills, take up skydiving or bungee jumping. This way you do not put emergency personnel in harm's way with your reckless acts and these activities, contrary to popular notions, are very relatively safe. The small price you pay for these activities includes a tremendous amounts of safety features. Your life is worth it!
For many years, I have believed and supported free search and rescue for all people lost or injured in wilderness areas. With this article in mind, I have changed my opinion and now will actively encourage that people engaging in totally irresponsible acts who must be rescued should be fined for costs reimbursable expenses and punitive fines.
To counter this article, I think you should publish an article retracting such irresponsible behaviot. I hope you will publish an article about the ethics of responsible activities and personal safety in the outdoors. I wish that I could show you all of the mangled and dead bodies that fill my flashbacks and nightmares, most of them from some "accident" which could have been avoided by using a little common sense.
Name Withheld on Request
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