Here we go again!
I watched a video about a “body recovery” that took place under extreme circumstances. A lost person; remote area – wilderness. Rugged and dangerous. A search that continued for many weeks, by the people whose job it is to “rescue” people. Finally the body was discovered, in a deep rock cleft – dangerous to get to and then requiring a life-threatening repel into a place that no one would otherwise go – and then wresting a badly decomposed body from where it was wedged into fallen rock. A truly perilous task.
The question was asked, “Should two lives be risked to recover a dead person, when it means possible injury or death for the “volunteers?” In this case, two men with the mountaineering skills needed; two men whose regular job did not require them to be rescuers. Two men with families. Two men, who when interviewed after the fact, were permanently “disturbed” by what they were asked to do – and did. They were not trained for the strenuous psychological choice, for making a decision that placed the needs of the deceased person’s family “to have a body to bury” above the needs of their own wives and children. It was a life-scarring incident that had not left them, but required ongoing effort to “deal with” the experience.
I live in Wyoming. The wilderness is a dangerous environment: things happen, people need rescued and recovered. The neighboring state of Utah has vastly higher population and a considerable numbers of residents and vacationers who want to experience Utah’s incredible natural environment. Our “local” TV channels are in Salt Lake City, so the nightly news mostly reports Utah’s problems. Incidents of “rescues” in and around the city, as well as in the National Parks and other popular outdoor locations occur daily, so much so, that hints of “rescue fatigue” are evident in the people tasked with doing these jobs and the drain on funding for public safety services.
For social reasons, of course, they put on the required “stoic face” and recite repetitive scripts about how happy they are to save the lives of people who have no concept at all of the hazards and challenges of wandering off without sufficient water, food, clothing, maps, GPS, etc – and totally misjudging their physical abilities or ignoring health status.
It’s not as if the State of Utah and the relevant agencies don’t try to warn and educate people; the media are also on board, constantly reminding hikers, rafters, climbers, kayakers, campers and visitors to follow the most simple instructions: tell someone where you are headed; park your car at the trail head with information about who you are and when you expect to return; take water, food and “weather appropriate” clothing; stay on marked trails and do not overestimate your physical fitness for the difficulty of the terrain you have chosen.
Imagine how frustrated (and angry) “rescuers” must be, when time after time, the people (many are volunteers) who do this job day after day, “rescue people” who simply do not require rescue, having “wandered off” unprepared for even a stroll in a city park, or a trip to the grocery store. The advent of “better” cell phone coverage enables the new expectation, that if confused, cold, hot, hungry or thirsty, the first thing to do is to call 911. That immediate attendance to one’s “problem” is mandatory. Like many “services” in public safety infrastructure, overuse and abuse for temporary and non-threatening situations, erodes funds budgeted for true emergencies, accidents and natural disasters.
The “new normal” is that “the public” are simply too incompetent to function in any reasonable and responsible way – across the entire range of behaviors that constitute “living a life”. A permanent “class” of stand-ins must take up the slack and function as parents to the masses of adult toddlers and adolescents that populate the U.S.
Where is the empathy for these socially-designated baby-sitters and “metaparents ” – the individuals who day after day deal with injury, death, crime, accidents, shootings, stabbings, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and every sort of human demand placed on the equilibrium of society at large, which is always in peril?
I admit, that as a “realist” Aspie type, I would be incapable of the social role of enabling the “supernatural” perceptions of social typicals. Of pandering to the notion that ignorance of physical reality and childish expectations of “magical exemption” from consequences, means that other people are required to endanger themselves, even if my “jeopardy” is imaginary and narcissistic, and may divert adequate response to real disaster victims. Having said that, I am thankful that Wyoming law enforcement are available for helping out when one meets the inevitable vehicle failure out in the middle of nowhere, if cell phone service is available, that is – a big “if” – because our environment is challenging and dangerous. And I carry supplies to make an extended wait possible. And, I observe limits to sensible risk versus bat-crap-crazy expeditions into dangerously remote areas and situations. Still, there is no guarantee that I won’t become a victim of my own inattention or carelessness.
Are we not fortunate that some of our fellow citizens take on this role of saving our asses? Which piqued my curiosity as to what type of person possesses what I perceive to be a “generosity of spirit” beyond comprehension? So, I did a Google search for a discussion of the “rescuer” as integral to successful social structures.
Surprise! Instead of this activity being viewed from the observational POV of the positive effects these individuals have on society, and the personal costs, what is presented first is the perverted psychological dogma, of a “rescuer” as one more “pathologic” human type.
Why is it that the “psychopathological” perception of human reality dominates Internet search results, whatever the aspect of human existence one is seeking to understand?