Blaming the Victims
The following article by Moulton Avery was originally published in Paddler-ezine, and is shared by permission. Featured photo by John Boyer from FreeImages.
Picture a mother struggling to bear an incomprehensible loss. Her husband and children are dead - victims of a kayaking accident that left her as the sole survivor. Who would be heartless enough to look her in the eye and tell her how stupid, how irresponsible, how reckless they were to go kayaking on that day, at that location, in those conditions.
Yet that’s precisely what many paddlers do on the internet in the aftermath of a tragedy, thoughtlessly hurling Darwin Awards in language that’s both insulting and gratuitously cruel. Is that the kind of culture we want to embrace in paddlesports – one that leaps to shaming and blaming fellow paddlers who are the victims of some unspeakable tragedy? Is that the kind of people we are? And if not, why do so many of us tolerate that sort of behaviour?