BOATING ACCIDENTS: Is a cultural shift the cause?

Published on March 21st, 2013

Are we conflicted when it comes to personal responsibility? Fear keeps our kids from being unsupervised, from exploring canyons and sailing from shore. Yet does our reliance on such support prevent us from learning how to make qualified decisions? When we do get in trouble, do we rely on ourselves, or do we reach for all the support that surrounds us?

In the March edition of Latitude 38, a reader’s letter expressed their disapproval of a magazine photo showing a young girl not wearing a lifejacket as required by the law. The editor’s response began with the challenge of how “‘one size fits all’ nanny-state laws crafted by well-intended bureaucrats” don’t fit every situation. They then closed their commentary with this comparison…

“There are many differences between the United States and Mexico. In the United States, the majority of legislators feel it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure that even the most stupid, stoned and drunk individuals can’t do any harm to themselves. In Mexico, people are expected to make a reasonable effort to watch out for their own well-being. If, for example, somebody hits himself in the face with a hammer, it’s considered to be the fault of the person who swung the hammer, not the manufacturer of the hammer. While neither system is perfect, we prefer the Mexican view of personal responsibility.”

There has been a lot of sailing accidents lately. Has a cultural shift opened the door for this to be now the norm?



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