Technology Doesn’t Cause Stupidity

People cause stupidity. Apparently thanks to GPS, cell phones, and other such gadgets people have been acting dumber when venturing into national parks. This is a cause of concern for the National Park Service but also a slight irritation to Charles Darwin’s ghost who has to deal with all this stupidity:

The national parks’ history is full of examples of misguided visitors petting bears, putting children on buffaloes for photos and dipping into geysers despite signs warning of scalding temperatures.

But today, as an ever more wired and interconnected public visits the parks in rising numbers — July was a record month for visitors at Yellowstone — rangers say that technology often figures into such mishaps.

People with cell phones call rangers from mountaintops to request refreshments or a guide; in Jackson Hole, Wyo., one lost hiker even asked for hot chocolate.

I have a solution for this little issue. If anybody uses their cell phone to call a park ranger in the hopes of getting a beverage delivered to them I say the rangers oblige by launching a barrage of artillery onto the caller’s location. Of course this will require buying artillery for the park rangers but I’m willing to donate money to a good cause.

“Because of having that electronic device, people have an expectation that they can do something stupid and be rescued,” said Jackie Skaggs, spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

“Every once in a while we get a call from someone who has gone to the top of a peak, the weather has turned and they are confused about how to get down and they want someone to personally escort them,” Skaggs said. “The answer is that you are up there for the night.”

Damn right make them sit it out. Stupidity is meaningless without lessons being learned and people generally don’t learn when they get bailed out. Of course the rangers aren’t be Luddites:

The service acknowledges that the new technologies have benefits as well. They can and do save lives when calls come from people who really are in trouble.

Technology is a tool and like any tool can be used to enhance good and bad. Many people use it stupidly and end up driving into a lake because their GPS told them to. These people should be removed from the gene pool as soon as possible so I feel even in the hands of the stupid a GPS is ultimately being used for good.