NEWS BLOG (WSAU) If I was going to blog about common sense, the obvious topic is 16-year-old Abby Sunderland. She’s the teenager trying to sail around the world who became stranded by rough weather in the southern Indian Ocean – literally the middle of nowhere. The obvious question is what were her parents thinking? I don’t need to spend a lot of time pondering. I already know these are parents who are raising high achieving, exceptional children. (Abby’s brother already completed his round-the-globe trip at age 17.) I’m sure their kids are exceptional – and are nothing like typical teenager. I’m also certain these parents are out of their minds. It’s irresponsible parenting to let kids chase a dream at the possible expense of their life.
That’s not my initial common sense thought.
I’m more curious and more critical about the thought process behind the rescue of Abby. A person, young and inexperienced, sets out on a perllilous journey. If she runs into trouble, her parents have almost no chance to rescue her. In case of disaster, she’s totally dependant on others to save her neck. And that’s what happened. There was a massive international search to locate Abby’s distress beacon. She was found by an Australian Airbus jet several hundred miles offshore. A French fishing vessel, which is still a day away, will change course and sail into the same treacherous waters to pick her up.
The time, danger, and cost that were expended in Abby’s rescue are staggering.
There’s something in human nature that makes us want to help a stranded 16-year-old girl. And I’m not suggesting that Abby should have been left adrift. But I’m critical of the mindset of someone who expects other people, sometimes complete strangers, to have their back while they chase an overly ambitious dream. It’s a selfish way of thinking.
At least she isn’t one of those young aviators trying to fly solo for long distances. Sometimes when they crash, they take out innocent people on the ground.
Operations Manager, Midwest Communications-Wausau