Individual responsibility

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink."  That statement pretty well sums up the issue regarding wearing a life jacket, especially on the Rogue River.
We were asked recently why we didn’t publicize that people should wear life jackets, that there are some safety rules to consider on the river.  Did the caller not see the diagrams we ran along with information on about six different kinds of life jackets? Did the caller not read articles we have run on river safety?

Newspapers, radio, television have all urged people time and time
again, especially this summer, to wear life jackets when involved with
the Rogue River. Is there anyone who doesn’t know the river is running
very high and very cold? Perhaps those who do not read or listen or
watch TV. That story also has been told time and time again for two
months or more.
Raft rental places are required to include
life jackets with raft rentals, but that doesn’t mean they can make
"adults" wear them.
It is much like using a seat belt or a
bike helmet. It is for your own safety. Or look at it another way, it
could sure save taxpayers money if rescue units didn’t have to make
those very expensive emergency runs because someone was floating in the
river without a life jacket. 
Why is it so difficult to do
something that might protect one from serious injury or from dying? We
often say youth believe they are invincible. Perhaps those who don’t
choose to wear protective devices remain in that invincible stage of
life. Or perhaps there are those who refuse to wear life jackets,
helmets or to use seat belts because they feel an authority is forcing
them to do something and they have a resentment against authority. But
they are mighty glad when some of that authority comes to their rescue.

Whatever the reason, it would certainly be nice if we could
get that poor old horse to drink a bit of that water we keep leading
him to.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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