Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Difference Between People Who Need To Be Rescued & Crazy-Ass White People With Their Extreme Sports

Hey Folks,

I hope you gave my last article a good, thorough reading and then sent it to all the special Giants fans in your life. Barry is a baseball player above all, and he's been the best. Only Babe Ruth and Willie Mays can compare to Bonds.

ANYWAY...

I must say that I was saddened to hear the news last week that they had found the body of James Kim, the father of two who died in a vain effort to find assistance for his snowbound young family.

I'm sure we all know the story by now. The Kims took a trip to Oregon to see people and do stuff. They took a "shortcut" that ended up being a wrong turn onto a logging road that should've been closed. Then their Subaru (man, Subaru is a weird word... just look at it) got stuck in a bunch of snow. They ran the car at night with the heater on until they ran out of gas, then burned the tires for warmth after that. The mother, who had a 7 month old infant nursed the two daughters via breast feeding, and they ate snow for water. When they ran out of gasoline and food, Mr. Kim decided he had to go and get help. Probably very logical. No one knew where they were, they weren't on a marked road, and it wasn't exactly South Florida out there.

Unfortunately, James Kim wasn't dressed for the conditions, and after hiking a mind-boggling 16 miles through treacherous terrain and deep snow, he succumbed to hypothermia, dying an unfortunate death.

God only knows how many rescuers tried to find them by chopper, on foot, and with bloodhounds. Eventually the mother and two young children were found. If only James had stayed there! He never could've known that they would've found them though. He did a courageous thing, and probably lasted longer than I would have.

Don't take this the wrong way. I've already made it clear that I feel that this was a tragedy, and that Mr. Kim was an absolute beast out there. However, if you were to tell me that a Korean guy from San Francisco who did gadget reviews for CNET would last 16 miles in nearly impossible conditions, I'd have called you crazy and probably had a good chuckle over it. Unfortunately, there is no chuckling involved with this story. Mr. Kim was a brave, strong fucking guy, whose determination to save his family proves what superhuman strength lies deep down in most of us. It's there somewhere, and hopefully none of us are in a situation like Kim's in which we must find it.

I've thought about the whole story, and I cannot think of too many things that they could've done differently. Although I have come up with a few things.

1) Don't buy a Subaru. They are all incredibly gutless vehicles (aside from the WRX), whose "all-wheel-drive" might be good for driving in the rain at best. Also, they have very small gas tanks and perhaps a bigger vehicle with more fuel would have sustained them longer. Of course, they do live in San Francisco, and obviously weren't down to own a Chevy Tahoe.

2) When they had the tires burning, they needed to find more burnable fuel to sustain the fire. I know it must be extremely hard to find any dry wood or dead wood in snowy conditions, but it can be done. I know they didn't have an axe or hatchet, but dead branches can usually be pulled down or found on the ground.

Also, let it be known, that they did the right thing by burning the tires. Tires burn long and hot, smell terrible and produce unnatural black smoke. Young, green branches should be placed on top because they give off thick white smoke. It's a double whammy.

3) I don't know if they salvaged parts from their car or not, but it's definitely a good idea. You can use everything from electrical wiring, engine parts, and the battery to the seats' upholstery and covers. James Kim could've used the foam and seat covers to insulate his feet or his pants on his cold, wet journey.

Anyway, they did the best they could, and it was just a bad scene overall.

In contrast to harmless folks like the Kims who had no intention of immersing themselves in the elements, extreme rock climbers, radical basejumpers, and tubular helicopter snowboard jumpers are the problem.

As we speak, search & rescue efforts up on Mount Hood have been delayed again. Some retarded assholes decided that it was a good idea to do some extremely radical December mountain climbing up in Oregon. Oh, great idea dudes.

Screw that, man. Let's go tsunami surfing in Thailand or Volcano crater hopping on my sweet SuperCross bike. No, I've got a better idea, let's go kayaking down Victoria Falls, and later we can play extreme safari tag with a pride of lions wearing clothes soaked in zebra blood. Extreme. Totally extreme!

These "extreme sports" afficionados are very similar. They are most often white males between the ages of 18 and 40 who may or may not listen to punk rock music, enjoy being outdoors, and have no regard for their own safety. Only crazy-ass white people jump out of planes for fun or jump off objects with a nylon cord secured around their waist.

All kidding aside, I understand why these people do these crazy things. They get a rush out of it, they feel alive-- yada, yada, yada. So I say whatever. Do your downhill skateboarding and your snowboard luge, and whatever in the hell else it is that you people do. All I ask is that you don't affect other people by your stupid actions. I don't want the X-Games on ESPN when I want to watch baseball. I don't want snowhills in Pacific Heights so Johnny Mosley can do some extreme urban skiiing, listening to Blink 182 on his new Zune, while an MTV crew blocks traffic. I also don't want people risking their lives to save you when you shouldn't be there in the first place.

As I said, there are currently 3 stranded hikers on Mount Hood in Oregon. The winds are whipping around at hurricane force with all kinds of snow flying around. The temperature at the climbers' location is probably well below zero with the wind chill. I'm pretty sure that these people are dead by now. I almost hope they are. Well, I kinda do and I kinda don't. I think what would be best, is that they find these morons alive, and they vow to never hike a 5,000 foot volcanic mountain in the middle of December again.

I mean, how fucking retarded is that? Climbing a mountain in the middle of winter. I just cannot comprehend why someone would risk their well-being and worry their families to death. Why couldn't this wait until April, or at least late February?

As a result of their extreme hubris and love of extreme sports, they will be extremely dead by the time the weather clears. They have no one to blame but themselves, and I hope their families can forgive them for committing suicide by nature on Mount Hood.

There is much to be said about the differences between to the two rescue efforts in Oregon. The Kims' situation was a complete accident, and that road should never have had its gates open. It's just a shame that James Kim died as a result.

On the other hand, you have people climbing mountains in the middle of winter with no radio contact during a blizzard. They should never have been there in the first place. In fact, I think it should be against the law certain months out of the year. The good people up in Oregon shouldn't have to foot the bill for some extreme snow hiking idiots. If they go up there by choice, they should leave their American Express card at the bottom with whatever agency is in charge of search and rescue. I cannot think of a worse way to spend tax dollars--federal or otherwise--than risk lives in order to search for some stupid jerks in a blizzard who chose to be there.

I guess that's it. I have all the sympathy in the world for the Kims, but not an ounce for the jerks on Mount Hood. Call me what you will, I don't care. It's pure stupidity to do what those people did, experienced or not.

Until next time...

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