Originally Posted by loboskis
well there are people who believe that the war is ineffective and wrong. Thus, to them, people risking their lives in Iraq aren't really helping the world any. Thus, the only benefit of their risking their lives is in order to bring food to the table of their families. But lets say Teton Gravity Research was paying this guy to huck the cliff. What is the qualitative difference then? Both are risking their lives for money and other personal reasons.
And you have not addressed the comparison to ski racing. Olympic downhill racers risk their lives too. So do indy 500 racers and nascar racers. Why not the disdain for these people? There seems to be a double standard here.
Uh. . . The soldiers in Iraq aren't there because they decided to do it as a lark or a publicity stunt. They are there because they chose (or were forced into, by financial circumstances) a career in the military.
Whether or not I agree with the war (and whether or not said soldiers agree with the war), they are doing a job they agreed to do, and doing what their government has asked of them. If we're concerned about poor preliminary risk assessment, we probably shouldn't be blaming the soldiers, but asking their commander in chief.
That said, arguably (and in some circumstances), war is fought in defense of one's country or for some greater good. In theory, somebody sent these guys to war because he thought it would make the world a better place or because he thought it would protect our way of life. (And I am not going to get any further into how I feel about that. . . it's a ski thread, after all!
Whether or not Jamie was *right* to do this or not by each of our moral standards, I don't think he did it for the same reasons that landed the soldiers in Iraq, and I don't think that we can begin to suggest that he did it for some greater good. He did it because he thinks this is the next step in big mountain skiing. He did it because jumping off cliffs is fun. He did it because there were cameras there. He even did it
: because he thought it would somehow being legions of people to Jesus. I certainly can't tell you which of these drove him to drop into that snow. But he certainly didn't do it in an attempt--well-considered or misguided--to help people, or bring about peace in our time or to stabilize (or destabilize) world politics.
As for the race car drivers and ski racers of the world, I can throw a few figures out there. In Formula 1 Racing, there have been approximately 30 practice, test, and race fatalities since 1950. Ski racing is not as dangerous as some people might think. Though there are serious injuries at the competitive levels, the death of Shelley Glover in 2004 was the first U.S. ski racing fatality in 29 years.
From my perspective, jumping off of things more than 200ft high (even into snow) is probably a bit more akin to BASE jumping in its level of risk. BASE jumping--while I am sure a huge kick-- has caused at least 92 confirmed fatalities since 1981. BASE jumping with skis instead of a chute. . . .hmmmm. . . . I guess it might be fun for some. But me, I'm not gonna play those odds.