Absolute Freedom

Today, someone on twitter expressed an opinion - as is his right - that the TT should be stopped as there are deaths. Quite a reasonable view, you might think.

However, I believe that we all have absolute freedom in this regard. If I chose to ride a motorcycle around the TT (And I wish I could - but after two sessions at Knockhill, I quickly realised that I had zero talent!), despite the risk of death, then I should. 

Safety should be paramount of course, but you cannot remove all risk from every event. Boxing, Formula 1, any form of motorcycle racing, Bog Snorkelling, Football, Rugby, Cheese Rolling - even Cricket have risks. 

I leave it to the ruling bodies of those sports to mitigate risks as far as possible. Formula 1 is a good example in this regard where the on-track carnage has been reduced. 

For instance, I help out at a local Raft Race event. 10-20 rafts, each containing between 1 and 8 folks paddle 2.5 miles down a very cold river in May, raising money for charity. Last year we had two safety boats, two safety divers and 8 coastguard volunteers along the banks, and a safety briefing beforehand.

Its not a high-risk event, nor is it an extreme sport, but I feel as a committee we have mitigated the risks of the event as far as possible, and this pays off in terms of lack of injuries. 

So when someone with little experience, and no knowledge comes along and makes judgemental, sweeping statements about any sort of event without reference to the ruling bodies recommendations, participant expectations, etc, it does rather light the blue touch paper.

Absolute freedom in my books is also the freedom to participate - should I choose - in a sport or activity that might result in my injury or death. 

Remove that freedom - turn us into some nanny state - asks a lot of questions. Who should decide whether something is safe or not ? The nanny state predicates that its not the participants - the folks who are actually in danger - or the ruling bodies of that sport - the folks with the most experience.

It'll be some hand-wringing civil servant in some anonymous office who bases his opinions on such intellectual tomes as 'The Sun' or relies on pressure from lobbyists.

That day can never happen.

So if you see something that might endanger our freedom - its our duty as citizens to stamp on that, and stamp on that hard. 

If you think I'm being unreasonable, concentrate on something you hold dear. Now assume that someone with no qualifications, experience, knowledge, participation on that thing tells you not to do it. How would you feel?