It's the catchphrase of a new millennium. Once reserved for parents to preach to their children and spouses to coo at one another, it's now the kind of thing you can hear from anyone, any time. Case in point: a co-worker said it to me yesterday as I was leaving, motorcycle gear, helmet in hand.
Going on vacation? Be safe. Heading home? Be safe. Going to the refrigerator for a slice of cheese? Be safe.
What does the phrase really mean? Does it mean people think so little of you that they feel you might do something dumb and get yourself killed? Do they think I am so naive as to be completely unaware of the risks as I step out my door? Do they fear some random idiot might make a move that erases me from existence? Or is it, as I suspect, a pat little apothegm that doesn't mean shit except to make us feel better about something we have no control over?
We sue for safety. We march in the streets for it. We demand our government enact laws to keep us safe from each other, and ourselves. But when does it become ridiculous, or dangerous in and of itself? At what point have we given up more than the false sense of security is worth?
I'm all about minimizing the risks I can and accepting the ones I can't, as a racer and five day a week motorcycle commuter, it's become an ingrained habit. But that's the difference really, isn't it? They are my risks to minimize and accept, or reject as I deem appropriate. Mine. My responsibility. Not some government's, some committee, some band of concerned citizens.
The world is a dangerous and scary place and you are never going to legislate enough, round enough sharp edges, or riddle with enough bullets to make it otherwise. Get over it and get on with it. And be safe about it!
|What do you mean 'this doesn't look safe'?|
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