The best way to stop people from giving into the temptation of trying to swim across the Thompson River would be to hit them in the pocketbook. At least, then, taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for them.
It seemed like a good idea to Lewis August, we’re sure, to swim the river Tuesday, but he didn’t make it. He had to start yelling for help.
“I didn’t think I’d make it to the other side; I knew people were close enough to hear me, so I just asked for help,” he told a Daily News reporter.
August, and anyone else tempted to swim out into a powerful current, should know that the river is still higher than it normally is this time of year, and faster. But then, it’s not a good idea to make the attempt at any time of year.
Here’s the amazing part: August intends to try it again. “I’ve done it before and it’s easy.”
We say Lewis August’s courage is admirable. Some people like to take risks, to do the unusual, and they enjoy it. But it’s costly.
RCMP, Fire and Rescue, and two ambulances were dispatched to deal with August’s dilemma when he found himself up the river without a paddle. What did that cost the taxpayer — a couple of thousand dollars?
Some might have found Nick Wallenda’s high-wire crossing of Niagara Falls a couple of months ago foolish — but at least he was wise enough to take out a $20-millionUS insurance policy to cover the cost of any untoward events.
Every time a skier or hiker ignores warning signs and wanders off the trails and has to be rescued, there’s a cost. Nowadays, they can face pretty stiff financial penalties designed to lessen the blow to the public purse.
It only makes sense. It’s against the law to drive without a seatbelt, because if you’re injured in an accident the healthcare system must pick up the tab. It’s against the law to ride a bicycle without a helmet, for the same reason. Drive drunk — putting yourself and others in danger — and you’ll find yourself in front of a judge.
Those who say we can’t legislate behaviour are wrong — the law, from the lowliest municipal bylaw to the federal laws of the land — are all about enforcing good behaviour for the common good.
Just as the law says we must not forget to buckle up, must stick to the trail, must not leave our bicycle or motorcycle helmet in the garage, must not pick up a cellphone while we’re behind the wheel, and must not consume too much alcohol, there oughta be a law against leaving your common sense on the beach.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.