I hate that phrase but I am not absolutely sure why. Anti-authority? Anti-sanctimonious? The feeling that it is generally untrue or that my safety is probably none of the speaker’s business? Safety Nazis? All of the above?
Whatever the reason, “it’s for your safety” ranks right up there with “I’m sorry you feel that way” in response to an entirely correct call-out of dreadful service.
There seems to be an increased desire for exposure to danger. X Games contestants perform life threatening stunts but it is hard to find something that seems more dangerous than big wave surfing.
Talya Minsberg explained what the big wave surfing community is doing about the danger of their sport in her New York Times piece entitled Top Big Wave Surfers Unite to Promote safety.
“Surfers around the world descend every winter on the North Shore of Oahu, where a five-mile stretch of breaks churns out picturesque waves with inconceivable power.”
“But last month, the tight-knit big-wave community, a group that surfs waves taller than 20 feet, was reminded of the beast behind the beauty of the coast’s surf breaks. Kirk Passmore, a resident of Hawaii and a big-wave surfer, took off on a wave at an outer break called Alligator Rock. He went down in a brutal wipeout and was never seen again.”
“Surfing is inherently dangerous; there is no way to remove the risk entirely from a sport that involves flying down an 80-foot wave, skimming atop sharp reefs or swimming in shark-infested waters. And while surfers have long been drawn to isolated spots, the one-upmanship has only increased in recent years as surfers look for waves in locations far from lifeguards or hospitals. All of that means that safety concerns are more vital than ever, according to surfing experts.”
This all makes good sense but there is still the nagging question of whether excessive mandatory safety in our daily lives causes more people to seek ever-riskier outlets despite the chorus of nannies saying “it’s for your safety.”