Thursday, 02 November 2017 14:15

Checking your brains at the wheel

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As humans we are all known to make stupid mistakes and commit major acts of non-intelligence.

We always have those regrets where we think “why was I so dumb?” That’s OK. That’s why we are human. We are supposed to learn from our errors and correct them for the future.
What differentiates a stupid act from a stupid adult is being told not to do something and repeatedly doing it anyway.
Whether one does this because of callousness, sheer irresponsibility or just narcissism, it is becoming seriously evident there are more people out there who are flatlining between the ears, more than one realizes.
This is painfully obvious when it comes to those who operate motor vehicles.
During the recent last few weeks, there have been horrible grass fires plaguing southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan.
High winds and extremely dry conditions have provided perfect storm opportunities for these fires in Hilda, Empress, Burstall, Jenner, Ralston, Redcliff, Medicine Hat as well Crowsnest Pass and Waterton.
Damaged. Ravaged. Hurt.
Now the rebuilding and cleanup truly begins.
A life has been lost, firefighters have been injured both physically and mentally, families have been severely hurt by the fire either by loved ones being hurt themselves or property and livelihoods being destroyed.
Pastureland has been damaged for a long time. There will be major soil erosion, feed will now be hard to come by and other countless issues created by these fires.
Nothing yet has been determined what caused these fires. Regardless, everyone has heard of them. So, why oh why, would there be cases of people throwing lit matches or cigarette butts out of windows when they are driving? Why?
That. Is. Stupid.
In the Oct. 30 case of a grass fire near Beiseker, there was photographic evidence provided by RCMP that it was a cigarette butt which caused it.
Perhaps you have seen a social media account which has shown a picture of someone complaining about seeing someone throwing a cigarette butt out a window. Just saw one from Swift Current complaining about a car with Alberta plates. Yikes.
Do we as a society really need to explain to these individuals, “Gee, throwing something lit on fire may actually cause something dry to quickly turn into a blaze and with the strong winds we have had lately, it may spread extremely quickly?!”
Maybe finger puppets or props would help?
I guess it shouldn’t be all surprising. Drivers have been doing it for years with drinking and driving and this despite the best efforts of government, insurance, health and emergency service personnel and organizations like Students or Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Having seen first-hand the tragic consequences of seeing someone who was driving while intoxicated and having five friends killed in one accident and subsequently five families irrevocably damaged ... still ... one becomes extra sensitive about drinking and driving and its consequences.
You can be damn sure those people in and around Hilda, Jenner, Empress et al will be watching for those committing stupid acts everytime they see a car window getting rolled down.
To tell you to not throw a cigarette butt while it's this dry out seems, well stupid. But stupid is as stupid does, so ... don't it. It's not smart.
Pray for snow.
(Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with comments about this opinion piece at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor