Monday, November 22, 2010

Aron Ralston... Dumb Kind of Hero.





I just want to take a little time to thank Aron Ralston for being the best kind of idiot, and for keeping his name in the spotlight so that I can use him as an object lesson... Let me explain.

You see, I’m a Scoutmaster, and every year, just as spring is getting into full bloom, I teach my boys about Leave No Trace and about the rules to safe hiking. Prior to Aron Ralston I really didn’t have a good example of why these rules are important.

In case you don’t know, the first principle of Leave no Trace is to Plan and Prepare. Where are you going? What’s the weather going to be like? What’s the terrain like? What are the hazards? Do you need a permit? Does anyone know where you’re going? Food? Water? Jacket?
All of these questions raised by the very first principle of Leave No Trace tie into the rules to safe hiking.

1. Plan where you are going. (Break out a $4.00 topo map and plan your trip)
2. Tell someone where you are going, and when you are planning on being back. (ie. “We’ll be taking this trail into this basin. Don’t plan on us being back until Sunday afternoon.”)
3. Dress and pack for conditions.
4. NEVER hike alone. (Hey Aron… ever hear of the buddy system?)
5. Be prepared. (did you pack everything you need… Like a buddy?)
Now I will not tell you that I have never solo hiked… because I have. When I was a teenager and an Idiot! Fortunately, I grew up and finally realized that what I was doing was foolish and stupid. I thank the good Lord above for the fact that nothing really bad ever happened to me while I was alone in the wilderness long before cell phones.

People... Aron Ralston is no hero for cutting off his arm, and leaving a good deal of his DNA all over the desert of South Eastern Utah. I believe that he broke at least 3 of the Leave No Trace principles right there… but I digress. If he were following the priciples of Leave No Trace, he would have had someone with him and, thus... still have 10 pretty fingers.
He’s not a hero, he’s no one to look up to. He’s the poster boy for everything that you don’t do in the wilderness.
I can only hope that he has learned a healthy respect for the land, because as people seem to find out from time to time, if you don’t respect the wilderness, the wilderness will scrape you off it’s boot, and good riddance to you.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

AMEN!

Murph said...

In response to a comment I just toasted…

Hey Johnny.
Profanity is the final resort of a limited mind.

Anonymous said...

Murph,
Your soooo right.
Unfortunately, not the buddies who are there to help each other without much drama get famous and a film made about them. Being responsible, sensible, intelligent, social (apart from in the virtual world) and down to earth do not seem to be worthy attributes anymore.
Everybody needs to be a hero.
For me, the true heros of this world, are the people that help make society work. AR is not one of them.
And Hollywood should really think, what kind of rolemodels they promote! But then...what am I saying...it seems to be a lost cause with them.
Just needed to put in my twopennies worth
Good night
Elin

robert said...

I don't think he is a hero for doing something that I would not do due to my common sense. However, I do think he is a hero for finding a way to live when I would probably have not. I don't understand what you would rather have him do. You admit you hiked alone. I have as well. I boated without scouting and jumped off things that had no business being jumped off of. He made huge mistakes, and how he dealt with those mistakes is what makes him, in my mind, a hero.

Anonymous said...

beautiful writeup.
i had the same thing in my mind.

Anonymous said...

i would just like to comment on how i felt aaron did good no matter how much you prepare their is always something that can crop up. and he learned from the mistakes as he always lets people know where he is going now. would i have the guts to do what he did who knows but to me he is a hero for doing just that alone. and hopefully we can all learn from others

Apo said...

I think Aron accepted his own mistakes. I believe it will be an eye opener to all about the lessons we can get from Aron Ralston's experience. Safety first. ;)

Just wanted to share the full video of going back to Blue John Canyon http://lakbaylente.blogspot.com/2011/01/aron-ralstons-uncut-real-video.html

Scott said...

Oh please, give me a break. I have spent my entire life in and around the wilderness. He made a big mistake not telling anyone where he was going (not that it would have made much of a difference), but to call the man an idiot for hiking alone is pathetic. Besides, who exactly is calling him a hero? He's just a guy who got screwed over by lady luck. The only difference that was made by being there alone and not with a companion was that there wasn't a doctor down there to do that for him. I'm would guess that he accepted the risk of venturing into a place like that, as anyone who knows what they are doing does. Yes he could have been much more prepared, but you sound like a jerk-off by calling him an idiot. I hope you ALWAYS wear a seat belt, NEVER speed, NEVER swim after eating, NEVER eat in your tent, ALWAYS wear a helmet when biking, and never do the million things you shouldn't do, so that when you're at the wrong place at the wrong time, nobody will patronizingly thank you for being an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Geeez what haters on here! You guys are just jealous he has only one arm! Although I agree you should never hike alone you guys are still just jealous. A hero is a courageous person and thats what he was...

Crash Gear said...

This is not about right or wrong, it is about Survival. Scout Master or not as a grunt of 20 years I have been in situations that by desire of my own forced me to make choices that were not right or wrong. They were based on survival. No matter what you think or say I CHALLENGE any of you to be put in a situation of hacking your own arm off. Then you will have the ability to pass judgment. Was it a dumb move to not leave information yes, does this make him stupid and not a role model. Maybe or maybe not but none of you nor myself can make that call. It's called survival!!

Anonymous said...

who ever said he was a hero? no one. hes not a hero, idk y ur even saying hes not, buthe is a strong man, hes a survivor, and yes because he didnt prepare he got into a mess but accidents happen to everyone. and he had a strong enough will to live to cut his own arm off. i dont see anything bad about making a movie about him, its a great story. stop hating because he got famous im sure if u cut one of ur body parts off to survive ud be no differrnt lol

Anonymous said...

Hero to himself maybe...
I think the media should use him as an example of what not to do as well instead of tossing around terms like "heroic".

Joaquin Abian said...

i just read the book. I could not understand why many of the adventures Aron relates are considered accomplishements. He had been extremely lucky of not having a mortal accident before.
That is why I googled for 'Aron is idiot' and found this page.

Murph said...

Ya know what… this post has gotten some very constructive criticism, and quite a few people (I use the term loosely) who just want to call me names and use the “F” word in ways that I didn’t know was possible. If you want to use language like that, go somewhere else, because you’re not going to be posted on this blog.
Also… if you want to call me names and do it anonymously… Grow a pair, and then go somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

The only heroicness I see in Aron Ralston is the ability to not feel like a victim, but to feel like a survivor. This being said, I feel like the evolutionary principle of natural selection should have disposed of Mr. Ralston a LONG time ago. Why is it that he is allowed to risk his life and survive, whilst millions of people die everyday for no reason at all?

Anonymous said...

@Abian - "That is why I googled for 'Aron is idiot' and found this page."

Ha! Same here. At least you read the book - I couldn't even get to the halfway mark (and I haven't seen the movie yet.) This guy really comes across as an arrogant douche.

Anonymous said...

Hey Stupido!! u are just jealous to Aron that is the fact !!! u not what u have nothing that people can proud of ..u just a stupid, boring teachers that lead a scout boy what a shame!!

Murph said...

Stupido? Dude... have the eggs to at lest give your name before mis-spelling most of your post.
Ralston's the Fact? Ya, it's a FACT he has only one arm!

Anonymous said...

Your an ass-hole - keep your "idiot" comment to yourself. Luck found you safe and nothing more. He was unlucky and probably more of a man than you will ever be. To call him an idiot is unjust, unprepared maybe. Ever thought of being a real man and apologising

Murph said...

apologising? Mmmmm... No. Hey Anonymous... Ever think about being a man and... I don't know... give us your name?

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