Imagine, if you will, getting a call from a frantic mother/father/sister/brother, telling you that their child/wife/husband/family member has gone missing on a wilderness hike/ski trip/canoe ride/whatever.
You are an experienced woodsman/hiker/skier/canoeist; you volunteer to help look for said missing family member.
You risk life and limb, but find the missing family member and all is well.
Imagine doing this on a regular basis. As a volunteer. You don't get paid. It's dangerous work. You do it because you are experienced in the outdoors, and feel a desire to contribute your particular skill to help your community. You don't always find the missing person in time to save their life, but you give it your best shot, risking your own life to try to save someone else's.
Now imagine that you are on a ski holiday, at a resort, wanting a little thrill. There is an area marked out-of-bounds, but you are arrogant enough or bold enough (perhaps even drunk enough) to think you know better than the operators of the ski resort. You and your spouse decide to ski that fresh powder beckoning just beyond the markers. You get lost. You do everything you can think of to attract attention. You stomp SOS in the snow. You spend long cold days and longer colder nights on the mountain. Your wife finally succumbs to the elements just two days before you are finally rescued.
You are overcome with guilt, frantic at the thought of your wife needlessly losing her life because of your own stupidity. Do you compound that stupidity by turning around and SUING THE VOLUNTEERS for not finding you in time to save your wife?????!!!!!
I can only assume that the asshole who went skiing out of bounds in the mountains of BC with his wife (who subsequently died of exposure after they spent seven nights in the elements) has lost his mind..... why else would he sue the people who volunteered to search for him? He and his wife must have known there was at least a chance that they would lose their lives when they deliberately crossed the clearly marked barrier into the out-of-bounds area of the mountain.
This has made me so angry, I can scarcely marshall my thoughts into coherent phrases. Volunteer Search and Rescue organizations all over the country are wondering what will happen. Their volunteer searchers - those brave souls who go out in all kinds of weather at great risk to themselves to help find someone who is lost - are dropping out of the organizations, fearful of being sued for not finding someone on time.
I am over-simplifying the situation, perhaps, but the whole idea of suing someone who didn't have to go out and look for me in the first place doesn't sit well with me.
Those people knew the risks involved in going into an area they weren't supposed to be in, and I for one, hope that this case is thrown out of court. If the case is actually heard, and the fellow actually wins, there will be no-one willing to volunteer for anything ever again, because this opens the door for myriad abuses. Would you volunteer to help someone with their groceries if they could turn around and sue you because you didn't bring the groceries into the house quickly enough to suit them and a fly got into their house? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But is it more ridiculous than suing someone for not rescuing you quickly enough from a situation you created with your own stupidity?
Am I off-base? Do I sound like a cranky old woman? What do you think about suing volunteers? Do you wonder, as I do, if some of those volunteers are wishing they had been just a little slower finding this guy?