Two events during the past week have had me shaking my head in disbelief at the stupidity of the victims, and anger at them for causing so much grief to and for their loved ones.
The first was in Hawaii, where a tourist was sucked into a blowhole and is presumed to have drowned.
The fiancée of the Northern California man who was sucked into a blowhole to his apparent death said Friday there should have been signs warning people of the dangers of the geyser-like creation along a rugged stretch of the Maui coastline.
Tika Hick told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday from San Anselmo, Calif., that 44-year-old David Potts vanished into the ocean during a vacation to enjoy some time in the Maui sun before she undergoes a double mastectomy next week following a recent breast cancer diagnosis.
Eyewitness accounts from tourists who were there said Potts was dancing around inches from the hole's opening and playing in the sprays of water shooting high into the sky when he disappeared.
Hick disputed that description and took local officials to task for not posting warning signs at the site. She was not at the blowhole at the time, but said her brother and sister-in-law were there.
"He slipped because it was slippery," said a sobbing Hick.
No, Ms. Hick . . . he slipped because he went where it was slippery. If he'd had more sense, he'd never have been in any danger. He put himself in a position where he was at risk, and that risk caught up with him. Plain and simple. However, I'm sure his survivors will try to hold others accountable, instead of him. According to the report, there's already disputes over who may be liable for any damages awarded if a lawsuit is filed.
Then, yesterday, three young people were killed in Yosemite National Park when they ignored warning signs and put themselves at risk.
One slip in knee-high water, a desperate grab for help and, in one frightful moment, three Central Valley residents were swept screaming over a thunderous 317-foot waterfall to their apparent deaths as dozens of tourists in Yosemite National Park watched in horror.
Ramina Badal, 21, a nursing student at the University of San Francisco, and Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock (Stanislaus County) clung to each other as they were carried over Vernal Fall on Tuesday, witnesses said. Hormiz David, 22, of Modesto followed them over the edge after reaching for them and slipping himself.
Just 25 feet upstream from the drop, the victims had climbed over a metal guardrail, ignoring warning signs and apparently pleas from other hikers to get out of the water. Their bodies have not been found in the foaming, boulder-strewn torrent that is the Merced River. They are presumed dead.
"It's 317 feet down. Nobody can survive a fall like that," said Scott Gediman, a spokesman for Yosemite National Park.
There's more at the link. Bold print is my emphasis.
Apparently the three victims were 'inspired' by another member of their group, who climbed over the barrier and held his screaming daughter over the rushing water. Dare one hope that his custody of the child will be summarily terminated by the authorities, so she can have a better chance of surviving to adulthood with more responsible foster parents?
A couple of the readers who e-mailed me links to these stories suggested them as candidates for our 'Doofus Of The Day' series. However, I try not to use stories leading to fatal outcomes. Those involved (at least in these accounts) are no less stupid and culpable, but there are those who mourn their deaths. It hardly seems fair to rub salt into their wounds unnecessarily. However, I hope that those of my readers who have children (particularly teenagers) will use these accounts to remind them that they are mortal, and can die. My older sister (a nurse) is fond of saying that teenagers think they're invincible, invulnerable and infertile. These reports prove that the first two, at least, are wrong . . .