Thursday, January 16, 2014


People all die, many unavoidable or unexpected  as to timing.

It is the only way out of here (planet Earth).

Sometimes it is a total relief and all too often it is tragic and on occasions numbingly so.

A man 50 something and two kids 5 and 9 die in a suburban Dunedin home from gunshots allegedly a murder suicide over night.

Child 6 years old killed under an overturned quadbike on a farm in Southland ten days ago.

Toddler found dead in a small pond on a farm, again in Southland.

Each of the above and many others will be latched onto as todays "tragedy" by a very inept and insensitive media with accompanying opinions from a list of repetitive suspects with an agenda.

Gunlaws need tightening, children must be kept off quad bikes, all ponds must be baricaded with the latest brainfart in that department, being the ruling that paddling pools must be fenced and emptied overnight.

Give me strength, our kids rode every bit of machinery as soon as they could reach the controls, those two mites, who it appears must have been extremely lucky, survived so many water hazards growing up on a farm, and they, very early in their cognitive development were instructed on safe use and the inherent danger of firearms.
Before such "dangers" could take their innocent little lives there was pretty intense instruction, warning, discipline and at times restraint  as a plan of survival. Sheesh they were even tied up with a harness to ensure their current location was assured.
There was never a concerted identifying, listing, addressing and recording of such dangers, as promulgated in H & S garbage for workers today.  Potential danger was met and dealt with as they arose.

The greatest single danger those two remarkable kids faced apart from their venturing out on the nations roads as teenagers, came from their number one chosen sport, equestrian. Piloting an animal many times their body weight at a gallop, over fences and obstacles, some built with safety in mind but when Hunting to hounds, any and every that came their way. Yes we were lucky, very bloody lucky. Hell a good mate of mine was killed sitting in front of his horse while mustering , waiting for the sheep to pass through a gate, the horse struck his head with a pawing hoof and killed him,  in another case a child wandering around a horse being groomed was likewise struck and killed.

Where am I going with this, well shit happens and to avoid all potentially fatal outcomes requires a pretty restrictive regime of protection and very few will accept such constraints. People drown at the beach, dont hear any calls to prohibit that activity, others die in the roads, again no blanket prohibitions ever proposed. All it usually takes is a small slipup in concentration or an unintended clash of opportunity and victim

Keeping kids off quad bikes is admirable but not entirely practicable, I recall an attempt to solve children dieing as a result of tractor involvement with a law prohibiting under 12 children riding on a tractor with no seat, hell I survived formative years perched in a Coopers Dip box bolted on the footplate of a Caterpillar 15 sound asleep with no restraint.
The only prosecutions came for already grief stricken families. Zero compliance process.
Fencing a water hazard as opposed to imparting the dangers to the vulnerable, counter productive, as when protection is not in place  tragedy beckons.
As for tighter gun control, dont bring black humor into this debate. Raymond Ratima killed many more with old fashioned slashing and bashing in his effort, and they were just as dead. The fact is the Gunshots in the latest tragedy in Dunedin had an AOS rumble in minutes just discovering the Ratima dead took hours to ascertain numbers.

Yes farms are workplaces but nearly all include homes and places of entertainment and relaxation just as the  park and backyard is for the town dwellers.
The only solution is education, awareness and personal responsibility leading to sensible common sense prevention measures with a dollop of good fortune tossed in.

So media people, report the facts but spare us the preaching and prevaricating, people died and those who care are grieving but it is very unlikely the best person to prevent tomorrows tragic death/s will read or listen to the sermon and even if they did it will not occur to them they could be next in line.

1 comment:

Chris Bird said...

I totally agree with your comments, GD. As with you I was also bought up on a farm with my siblings, and I also bought up my children in the same environment. Yes there were the odd times when someone got into trouble, but if parents knew where their kids were at all times then the outcome was usually OK.
As far as Quad bikes go, I have used these since the early 80s when they first came on the scene. Used on steep hill country, I never had a accident or injury.I was actually injured more severely from a horse accident when we used these on farm for stock-work.
The call to ban quad bikes is ludicrous, it would be like banning the use of Chainsaws in forestry just because a few are killed using essential equipment.