Posted by: trashee | July 29, 2008

Paranoia reigns supreme… but….

Seems the media, police and lotsa other concerned folks are all a-tither about a bomb scare that occurred last week when a suspicious looking package was found under a bridge near the Hurdman Transitway Station.

Seems a participant in a modern day version of the old scavenger hunt called “Geocaching” hid the package there as part of this hobby. It was seen, reported to the police, the robot bomb-disposal thing was used, it was blown up and, of course, the police are all a-tither cuz their officers were put at potential risk, it cost $$$’s, blah-blah-blah.

While I am not one to advocate paranoia even in this Age of Paranoia, the person who hid this box in this location should have used a bit more common sense. Given these times when a forgotten backpack on a park bench can trigger a full-force armed response (and with robots too!), we all have to be careful about how we carry out activities like these. I’m not saying that cities should regulate these activities or the cops should be in on every single “cached” item, but this hobby – that is fairly well-organized – will have to do a better job a self-policing if they want to avoid a Nanny-state response.

Finally, I was reading one of the comments made on this story on the cbc.ca site by someone who called this a child’s game and I can honestly say that while its roots may be in a children’s game of treasure / scavenger hunting, this activity is way more sophisticated and legitimate.

If we as a society are to brand these things in such a way (i.e., as kid’s games that sensible grown-ups should not be party to) and assign blame and cost when things go wrong, then all games and activities that could potentially result in a draw on the public purse should be treated in the same manner.

Does the hockey player who takes a puck in the face have to pay for his hospital care? Does the lawn bowler who has a heart attack have to pay for paramedics? Does a jockey who gets thrown from his horse pay for any of these things? Of course not – at least not in civilised countries that have public health care.

Bottom line geocachers – educate and police your players better or you’re going to have a heap of issues to deal with in this Age of Paranoia.

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