Monday, June 9, 2008

Farm foolishness

This is a subject close to my heart.

Many years ago I worked in a university residential college. The students there were attending a campus specialising in rural, agricultural and agronomic studies.

Some of these students were certificate students, so they were under 18 (the age of majority in Australia). The college principal, staff and residential staff had a duty of care to these youngest, and a responsibility to their parents/guardians to ensure that they were not in danger, moral or otherwise, at the college. Some of the adult (read over 18, under 25) students disliked the restrictions placed on them to protect the younger residents.

There were things which happened on the campus which were stupid. Students took risks. It was almost impossible to get through their 10foot tall and bulletproof attitudes that there were some foolish and risky things that they should not participate in or encourage.

Things like the common practise of riding on the back of a tractor just for transportation, or travelling in the back of a utility on the campus roads.

Their come back was "It's a private road, so we can do it, it's not illegal."

Well, it is not a private road. It may not be illegal to do it on a private road, but if something goes wrong there are worse things than dying. And the fact that it's not illegal won't save you from dying or breaking your neck. Ask my cousin who is an incomplete quadriplegic and has been since 1991 when he was only seventeen and sleeping in the back of a moving panel van which was shunted from behind.

Ask these kids and their families...

Update: I have read on the TV crawler that they were rabbiting... let me see, 14 people in a 1 ton ute... three or four in the front. Ten or eleven on the back? Shooting rabbits? With rifles? I don't think so.


mythusmage said...

Heard a bit from a comedian played as a bumper on a morning radio show. In it the chap talked about how we're being too protective of our kids, how we're denying them chances to screw up and by that screwing up learn that screwing up is a bad thing.

The example he used was small kids burning their fingers on the stove, and how we now had covers and plates to prevent that. He said we should let kids burn their fingers on the stove. As near as I can recall he said, "I'd let my kid burn his fingers on our stove. He did I'd look at him and ask, 'Aint gonna do that again, now are you?'"

Minicapt said...

"Individual" and "Responsibility"


kae said...

My point is telling them that it doesn't matter that it's not illegal. If you die you'll be just as dead whether it's illegal or not.

I don't advocate wrapping kids in cotton wool, but there's a difference between a minor spill on your bike or skates and piling into the back of a ute and getting killed or breaking your neck.

It's fine if you want to do it at home, but don't do it where I'm responsible or work for the organisation who is responsible for your health and safety.

Noone could probably stop the kids anyway, you have no idea how many serious but luckily non-fatal ute accidents there were on campus. At least one per semester.

Boy on a bike said...

Like they say, it's always fun until someone loses an eye.

I've been tossed out of the back of a ute - I was riding in the back during a bit of drunken circle work, and the thing dug in and damn near went onto its side and I was flung out like a dishrag. I was also pissed as a parrot, and holding a stubby. I managed to land on my side, roll over and flip to my feet in one smooth motion without spilling a drop, and without being run over by the out of control ute.

Some people have all the luck. It could have gone another way and ended up all bad. A cousin of mine was crushed to death when riding in the back of a landcruiser. It had a blowout on a gravel road and went over, and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"you have no idea how many serious but luckily non-fatal ute accidents there were"

Having been to a lot of B&S Balls in my youth, I witnessed a couple of drink induced crashes per ball - all non-fatal. It's amazing we all made it to 25 and beyond.

kae said...

Boy on a bike,
My ex housemate, the nice Daughterly one, was thrown from the back of a ute.
Picture this, the Principal resides on campus. Opposite the tennis courts. Which have cyclone mesh fencing about 15ft high or more. Huge.
Drunk bloke driving ute with tray full of more drunks takes the corner too fast and stacks into the whole side fence of the tennis courts. IN FRONT OF THE PRINCIPALS HOUSE. Oops!
The girl had huge cuts on her face, embedded gravel on her face, shoulder bum and other places. Third degree burns from the bitumen. Good thing she landed on her arse and head, she coulda been seriously hurt!
There was a 17 year old killed locally here a couple of years ago, drunk and doing circle work with people in the back of a ute. He was thrown from the ute and the driver didn't know. It was an birthday party for one of the local kids.