Friday, May 11, 2007

Draw Circle. Bang Head Here.

Ever heard the saying ‘Rules where meant to be broken’?

This is actually true to a degree. Who was it who said “Rules are there to make you stop and think before you break them”?

…and last in this quote-a-rama. “They’re not rules, they’re more sort of…guidelines, than rules.”

Barbosa had it right.

Ok, by now, you’re probably wondering what I’m blabbering on about, and more than likely, wondering what I’m smoking.

Well, here it is.

In Twin Falls, Idaho, two canoeists saw a woman jump off the Perrine bridge. Seeing a fellow human in trouble, they attempted to rescue her. Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to get to her in time, and ended up paddling her body to the shore.

Sounds like a tragedy already, right? A perfect ‘end of the news’ moment. Two heroic canoeist risk their lives to save a stranger, but despite their best efforts, ultimately fail. Truly tragic.

However, What happened next was much more of a tragedy.

The canoeists get the body to the shore, people are crying and are visibly upset, when up strolls a police officer.

Did he offer assistance? Try to comfort the group?

Nope, he pulled out his pad and gave both canoeists an $85 dollar fine for not wearing life jackets. Let me be perfectly clear on this. Dead girl on the shore. People standing around crying. Two canoeists who paddled out in the water in an attempt to save the girl’s life trying to get their breath back.

Enter Dumbass cop with a citation pad, stage left.

Ok, we all know rules are there for a reason. However, it seems the people who enforce them don’t. Rules are there to protect us, but common sense says that you can disregard a rule when breaking it can save someone’s life.

If I run into the road to pull a kid out the way of an oncoming car, I shouldn’t have to worry about getting a ticket for jay-walking when I get back to the curb. If a psycho is pointing a gun at an innocent bystander, and I disarm the psycho by sneaking up behind him and hitting him over the head with whatever’s handy, I shouldn’t have to worry about assault charges…and if I jump in a river to save a drowning person’s life, I shouldn’t receive a ticket for not wearing a life jacket.

Here’s the part I don’t get. There’s a girl in the water who’s going to drown and die unless someone does something. Then the people who attempt to rescue her get an $85 fine for attempting to save her life, because they weren’t wearing the proper safety equipment.

I can’t over state this enough. The whole point of this rule is to protect people from drowning. Then two people get fined for disobeying this law in order to stop from happening exactly what that law is in place to prevent.

“Hey, don’t go in there without a lifejacket, you might drown!” “Yeah, but someone is definitely going to drown if we don’t.” ”Sorry, them’s the rules!”

In other words, according to the letter of the law, these two people should have just stayed on the shore and watched this girl drown.

It makes me wonder what happened to the days when people who risked their own lives to save a stranger were held up as heroes…not punished for not following the letter of the law during their rescue attempt.

You know the worst thing?

Ok, even if the cop wanted to be a ‘jobsworth’ asshole and give the canoeists a citation…wouldn’t it have been a good idea to wait a little bit, rather than hand over a citation right then and there?

If you really think about this, what if those canoeists didn’t have lifejackets? What if they’d just bought the canoes and were taking them home when they saw the girl jump in the water?

Were they supposed to say “Look someone’s drowning! Too bad we don’t have life-jackets or we could attempt to save her life! Oh well…keep driving.”? The funny thing is, this is exactly how that cop thinks.

Sometimes you have to forget the rules and actually think about why they were made in the first place.

There can’t be a rule for every situation. It’s impossible to think of everything that’s possible to happen and make a rule about it.

The ‘spirit’ of this law is to save lives. So isn’t saving a life the perfect situation to disregard it? Obviously, the person who made that law intended it to save lives, and obviously didn’t think there’d ever be a situation where saying “You must wear a life jacket’ could result in someone’s death.

In the end, we’re all thinking human beings. Do we really have to put “Unless the situation is really extreme and disregarding this law could save someone’s life” on the end of every law?

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