Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Risk Culture

There is a lot of sad news tonight (20th July). A father and daughter died when they fell 50 feet at a waterfall in Wales. A paranoid schizophrenic stabbed his parents to death in Liverpool. Children have been caught throwing bricks onto the motorway in East Lancashire. The news in general is not good and the trouble with bad news apart from the obvious story, is that there are investigations associated with each story and the investigators have to come up with ways to lower risk. Why is lower risk a problem? Let's take a look.

Should the waterfall be fenced off? It may save lives. Should the schizophrenic patient have been in hospital? That would have saved lives. How do you stop children throwing bricks from a motorway? Should we stop pedestrians from using motorway bridges? It should be common sense that we don't go swimming in the canal but a lot of children do it. Do we need to fence off every canal to stop children (or adults) getting near them. Methods of lowering risks may affect our freedoms like walking the towpath.

There was a comment yesterday about litter and lack of bins. One consequence of extremist action is that we don't have bins but there are so many other examples of restrictions on our freedoms. One example is the way that we speak about night club bouncers. The latest PC term for them, among others is "floor hosts" but I would have no idea what this means if I had not looked it up. Politically correct activity means that we have to be very careful about causing offence to floor hosts or any other group or individual even when absolutely no offence was intended.

This is a serious blog because the news is serious, but I think modern society magnifies the seriousness. Let's try to move away from a blame culture and accept that if people want to live their lives then risk happens and we should allow some risk and decrease red tape.

Change the world

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