Most self-centered, ethnocentric U.S. Americans (reference to classic video of Miss South Carolina, 2007 ) think that our country has cornered the market on over-reacting, self-important, hot-air blowing politicians. But don’t worry, Canada, we here at Snow Goer (called Snow Sports in the fabulous land of the Maple Leaf, by the way) refuse to believe it. We know that you, too, have self-important, hot-air blowing politicians.
Today’s lesson in international civics? A politician in British Columbia apparently wants to outlaw the practice of snowmobile high-marking in the mountains, to the point where authorities could seize your snowmobile if you were caught high-marking with friends.
That’s right – take a mountain sled up a mountain, and the Mounties or other law enforcement types would have the right to swipe your ride. Does that sound fair to you?
This, of course, comes in wake of the absolutely horrible back-to-back tragedies in the backcountry near Revelstoke this spring, including one avalanche March 13 at the unofficial Big Iron Shootout event where a wall of snow threatened to bury the roughly 200 spectators at the bottom of the hill.
Well, according to a story posted on the CBC News web site, B.C. Tourism Minister Kevin Krueger is proposing legislation that targets high-marking.
“I think that this extremely risk behaviour (sic)… especially if it’s done in an area where other people are put at risk, should be the target of severe sanctions,” Krueger is quoted as saying.
In a different news piece posted on the News1130.com web site, Krueger is said to hope his legislation “will stop the very risky high-marking fad.”
A fad? Mountain high-marking is not a fad, it’s been going on for decades. But let’s set that aside — I wouldn’t expect every suit-and-tie-wearing “public servant” to have inside knowledge of our sport. The larger question is this:
How come every time somebody dies in a car accident, politicians don’t stand up and say, “We must outlaw automobiles, and anybody who is seen driving one will do hard time.” Yet when somebody has a horrible accident happen when recreating, some politicians foam at the mouth and trip over each other while trying to reach a nearest microphone to announce that they will introduce legislation to sanitize our world and make it safe for human habitation again.
Now I don’t know this particular politicians – he may have a good heart and merely be misguided and overprotective. And he certainly isn’t the first politicians (or radio talk show host) to want to use laws to try to somehow magically erase a previous event that truly was an accident.
Yes, an accident — not a malicious act. Every time something bad happens in our world, we don’t necessarily need more laws. And tragedies don’t always have to be turned into an opportunity for a publicity-seeking politician to further his or her career doing whatever they can to attract a bank of microphones and television cameras.
Over-reaction is not the answer.