Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"Can you fly this plane, and land it?"

They do this sort of thing in Jackass movies and we roar with appreciation for such a deft comedic touch.

Well, I do.  Here is a scene from the Jackass oeuvre that is meant to show the awesome power of a jet engine stream. 

If the people visiting St Maarten Airport in that little teeny island had paid more attention to noted thespian Johnny Knoxville and his merry band of pranksters, they would know better than hang around where the jets take off and land... 

Image result for st maarten airport

You see this sign? You would think that the word DANGER is big and red enough for people to take note, and say, "Maybe, let's avoid this area, lest we suffer extreme bodily harm and/or death."

You would think so, but then you would also think that people wouldn't attempt to type out a text message as they drive an automobile at or above the posted speed limit, so that's that.

But now, another  tourist has been killed down there at "the most dangerous airport in the world"  - the Princess Juliana Airport in the Caribbean. A Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737 was taking off, as planes will do. And a 57-year-old woman from New Zealand was hanging around by the fence at the end of the runway, when the force of the engine knocked her down, which resulted in a fatal head injury.

Here's the situation. You have a little airport on a little island with a public beach and a mountain serving as borders, and pilots have to skim over the mountaintop just to land and take off with planes full of happy vacationers.  

And people  - some of them airplane "fans" known as "avgeeks" cluster around the fence, getting selfies ("Planies"?) with jets scooting over top of them by about three feet or something. 

This perfectly illustrates what happens when there is no regulation, no government stepping in to protect people from their own folly. Here in the real world, the authorities would not allow people to hang around in that area, but in St Maarten, the tourists come and bring that green, and most of them get to go home.

Except for this unlucky New Zealander.

Listen, I'm sure it would be a real thrill to jump between two skyscraper roofs, or ride atop an elevator in a 35-story building, or run through the streets of a Spanish town hoping to avoid being gored by the bulls who are also running with you.

But people who want to live long enough to collect Social Security don't take risks like that, and I hope you don't, either.

If you want to see people who know how to outrun risks, come on over and I'll show you every Jackass movie ever made.

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