Circling the Drain
Posted by Joseph Moore on October 14, 2013
Here’s a story about a hunter getting lost in the forests near Mendocino, CA, for 19 days. His survival was ‘miraculous’ according to the report.
Maybe I’m missing something, but: Huh? I’d assume, if the dude were a competent hunter, that he’s lost in the woods with;
- - a gun;
- - ammo;
- - good sturdy footwear;
- - suitable clothes for the area and time of year.
Soooo – isn’t he excellently equipped to survive? Wouldn’t his *failure* to survive be more shocking? The coastal range near Mendocino, while no walk in the park, ain’t the High Sierra neither. We’re not talking about 20′ drifts of snow this time of year, probably just a light dusting.
My father’s generation would have been embarrassed by getting lost – this, pre-GPS – and embarrassed by having made people go look for you. And, if they had died, they would have done so under a shroud of presumed incompetence. A hundred an fifty years ago, many settlers in the truly wild areas would have considered a fall hunting trip to stock the larder before winter a routine thing.
This got me to thinking: My mom, who was born in 1919, could start with a live chicken or rabbit and turn it into dinner in a couple hours; my father build a house in his spare time. These were people with high school educations, raised in rural areas of Texas and Oklahoma. They would no doubt think it very stupid to get lost while out hunting, but be unsurprised by the dude’s survival.
This – this right here – is what I mean by dumbing us down. We Americans come from people like my parents, people who assumed anyone with a reasonable claim on adulthood could take car of themselves. I think many people today would starve surrounded by canned goods if they couldn’t get power for the electric can opener.
These are also people who assumed they could govern themselves, and instinctively resisted and resented suggestions that they could not.
Anyway, turns out the lost hunter was 72 years old, which casts the event in somewhat different light – but not that different, if he is indeed mentally and physically competent.