Safety First

Although I have nothing even as insignificant as statistics to support this, I don’t think that it’s outside the realm of possibility that a correlation exists between ease of life and risk. There appears to be a tendency for people with easier lives have less risk tolerance. By and large the average person in the United States is well off compared to the average person in many other regions of the world. The average person in the United States also seems to have become more risk adverse and that aversion seems to be spreading to the point of absurdity:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — A near-century-old outdoor recreation club will now refrain from going outside because it is too dangerous out in the wilderness, according to officials at Penn State University.

The Penn State Outing Club, originally founded in 1920, announced last week that the university will no longer allow the club to organize outdoor, student-led trips starting next semester. The hiking, camping and other outdoors-focused activities the student-led club has long engaged in are too risky, the university’s offices of Student Affairs and Risk Management determined.

When I first read the headline I assumed that the Penn State Outing Club was partaking in firearm-related activities and that this decision was really a move to punish gun enthusiast. After all, it struck me as absurd that a university would ban one of its organizations from partaking in mundane outdoor activities like hiking and camping. Then I read the article. Now I realize that the United States really has reached where things I think are too absurd to be reality and, in fact, reality.

Unfortunately, risk aversion is contrary to reality, which is extremely risky. You certainly can be injured while hiking or camping but you can also be injured walking around town. At any moment you could be hit by a car, you could trip over a broken piece of sidewalk, or you could be bitten by a stray dog. This isn’t even beginning to touch on the “background radiation” risks like the increased pollution of cities that leads to numerous health issues in the long run. Hell, you might just have the bad luck of being killed by a meteorite.

Different people are going to have different levels of risk tolerance. If you are entirely intolerance or risk, you are going to have a tough time living in this universe that is constantly trying to kill you.