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One Man's Opinion: Let's Take Care Out There
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One Man's Opinion: Let's Take Care Out There

One Man's Opinion: Let's Take Care Out There

One Man's Opinion: Let's Take Care Out There

"A little healthy fear is a good thing." Anonymous.

For many, summertime means more time spent outdoors, recreating and on occasion taking risks which we might not normally consider. A lesson I learned early, though it admittedly took longer than it should have to sink in is, “Large risk, small reward…don’t take the risk.”

Two recent tragedies hit close to home, impacting many friends and families we know well, and in both cases potentially avoidable, reminded me of the importance of reminding others of two very simple words which can mean a great deal in your lives as well as the lives of others...take care.

Georgia’s Lake Lanier has already had 12 fatalities this summer, either due to drowning or watercraft accidents.

Three lives, all in circles which intersect mine were sadly and terribly impacted in the past two weeks by potentially avoidable accidents. During 2017, more than 169,000 Americans died as the result of unintentional injuries. As a cause of death, accidents are only surpassed by heart disease and cancer.

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One Man's Opinion: Let's Take Care Out There

Brad Alexander, 37, was recently riding one of the many electric scooters in Midtown Atlanta when he was struck and killed by a CobbLinc Transit bus late Wednesday night, July 17. The bus was turning right onto 15th Street, where Alexander was also riding on the street, with sidewalks closed by road construction. With no helmet or safety gear, the young man was crushed...and died at the scene. The bus driver is on administrative leave, as of this writing, the Atlanta Police Department has not cited the driver nor Mr. Alexander with fault in the accident. This is the second scooter fatality in Atlanta in as many months.

Family vacations and holiday celebrations are also taking place in our oceans and lakes all over Georgia, as well as neighboring Alabama, Florida and across the south all summer long. A prominent community leader in DeKalb County, former Vice-Chair of the DeKalb County School Board, Jim McMahan, 53, was enjoying time with his family on Lake Wedowee in Alabama, when he and his 17-year old daughter collided on two jet skis at 9 a.m. on Sunday, July 14. McMahan was killed almost instantly, while his daughter survived, after critical surgery and the loss of her right leg.

Training and safety gear should be a required when using engine operated devices on water. Georgia now requires a year with a learner's permit, prior to testing and the receipt of a Georgia Driver's License. Young drivers, on land or water, are by their nature generally less experienced, as well as more prone to a sense of invulnerability and risk taking. 

On our recreational lakes and reservoirs, the combination of fun, sun, and occasional consumption of alcohol, blended with murky waters which sometimes require quick turns to avoid objects, make for a toxic mix when outboard motors and even smaller engines are at play. I know of other friends and families with members maimed by the simple act of backing a boat out of dock without first checking to see where nearby children were at play.

As with the two car minimum length distance suggested between vehicles on interstates at higher rates of speed, 50-100 feet is a generally safe bet when maintaining distance between non-docked water craft. Shifting currents, wakes and operator error are simply too prevalent given the often infrequent experience of recreational craft operators.

I've noted many of these scooter riders moving at top operating speed (roughly 20 mph), sailing through red lights, ignoring stop signs and seemingly choosing on impulse the road or the nearest sidewalk. Though the electronic contract with scooter operators suggest or mandate wearing helmets, the bulk of the younger riders almost never comply. And though current Georgia law does prohibit bicycles and other moving objects operated by anyone over the age of 12 on sidewalks, I would much prefer a municipal traffic ticket over any type of impact with a car, truck or larger motor vehicle on a road shoulder with a scooter or bike. Those odds will simply never be in my favor.

I've been to too many funerals in recent years, of those taken all too young, or helped grieving friends recover from such losses. Yes, you may seem a bit less courageous wearing a helmet when scooting down that sidewalk, or not running/walking alone on an unlit path at night...but you will also much more likely reach your ultimate destination with that solid accomplishment of arriving safely and alive. Please, take care out there.

 

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News

  • A new environmental foundation backed by Leonardo DiCaprio is pledging $5 million in aid to the Amazon, which has been swept by wildfires. >> Read more trending news  According to The Associated Press, Earth Alliance, an environmental foundation that was created last month by DiCaprio and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth, launched the Amazon Forest Fund.  The alliance is also seeking donations to help repair the Brazilian rainforest, called the “lungs of the planet.” Brazilian federal experts reported a record number of wildfires across the country this year, up 84% over the same period in 2018. The funds will be distributed to five local groups working to combat the problem: Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida, Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, Instituto Kabu, Instituto Raoni and Instituto Socioambiental. Backed by military aircraft, Brazilian troops are deploying in the Amazon to fight fires that have swept the region and prompted anti-government protests as well as an international outcry. Brazil contains about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, whose degradation could have severe consequences for global climate and rainfall. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, who has said he wants to convert land for cattle pastures and soybean farms, won office after channeling outrage over the corruption scandals of the former government. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A large crowd gathered Sunday morning at RiverScape MetroPark for a service hosted by Kanye West. >> Read more trending news  Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and their children held the Sunday Service in support of the victims and survivors of the mass shooting at the city of Dayton’s historic Oregon District. Several other celebrities, including Dave Chappelle and Michael Che, of “Saturday Night Live,” also were seen at the service, which lasted about two hours. “The best way we can honor our fallen is by getting up better than we were before,” Chappelle told the crowd. “We won’t let those people die in vain.” Two attendees said they had a great time at the service this morning. “It was really fun. I actually got to be a part of the Sunday Service choir,” Chaelyn Allen said. “We been rehearsing for, like, a few days this week, so it was really fun.” “I think it was awesome, a great cause,” Shantel Wilder said. “It feels good to be a part of it.”
  • Disney is completely reinventing Epcot. At its D23 expo in Anaheim, California, this weekend, the company announced some major changes coming to the park. >> Read more trending news  The company kicked off its announcements with Journey of Water, Inspired by 'Moana.' The attraction will let guests 'interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting.' The upcoming 'Guardians of the Galaxy' ride finally has a name. The company announced it will be called 'Guardians of the Galaxy': Cosmic Rewind. It will feature 'the first reverse launch into space.' In the park's Mission Space pavilion, the company announced a new restaurant called Space 220. It will open this winter and is described as 'an out-of-this-world culinary experience with celestial panorama of a space station, including daytime and nighttime views of Earth from 220 miles up.' The United Kingdom pavilion in the World Showcase will welcome the first attraction inspired by 'Mary Poppins' in Cherry Tree Lane, the company announced. We don't know a lot about this attraction other than it will be the first for the United Kingdom pavilion. The park also announced a new pavilion at World Celebration. It will be the home base for Epcot's signature festivals, providing a view of the World Showcase. The company said it will be a three-level structure and will become a new icon for Epcot. Finally, the company announced a new nighttime spectacular called 'HarmonioUS.' It is said to be the largest nighttime show created for a Disney park. Disney said it will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people around the world. For more information, visit the Disney Parks Blog.
  • Firefighters came to the rescue of a dog that got stuck on a roof overnight Saturday in Everett, Washington.  South County Fire tweeted that the dog went out an open window onto a narrow roof and couldn't turn around to get back in. Firefighters were able to get the scared pup back inside.
  • The Cocoa Beach Police Department arrested Joseph McKinney, 40, of Texas, after he allegedly threatened to conduct a shooting at a hotel. >> Read more trending news  Investigators said McKinney was taken into custody after he got off a cruise ship at Port Canaveral on Sunday morning.  Police responded to the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel on Friday after the hotel received an electronic guest review expressing McKinney’s displeasure about his recent stay, according to police. Officers said McKinney’s review contained threatening language and made reference to an “active shooter style” event at the hotel. McKinney was charged with making written threats to kill, do bodily injury or conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism. He was transported to the Brevard County Jail and is being held on $25,000 bail.
  • Atlanta police last week released a video showing a suspect in a shooting at a block party at the Atlanta University Center that wounded four students. No one has stepped forth to identify that man, so on Sunday, Atlanta City Council member Cleta Winslow said she is adding $3,000 more in reward money to better incentivize someone’s good citizenship. The reward will now be $5,000. “This is personal,” Winslow said after a short press conference near the AUC campus. “Parents send their children to our town. They need assurance that they are safe.” Four women — two students from Spelman College, two from Clark Atlanta University — were shot or grazed Tuesday night outside the Robert W. Woodruff Library during a party before the first day of school. Police believe the young man in the video was involved in a confrontation in which four or five shots were fired in the plaza crowded with 200 students. Police said that perhaps a second possible gunman was targeted by the suspect but that the women were not intended targets. One of the victims was shot in the chest, but all are expected to recover. Police said they are getting some tips but have not gotten enough information to make an arrest. Longtime civic activist Michael Langford said, “I want to appeal to the community at large because no crime occurs without someone knowing, hearing or seeing something. “And while the money is there, I want to appeal to your moral conscience to come forward because the only thing it takes for evil to exist in our community it for good people to sit back and do nothing.” Winslow said she had just met with student leaders to assure them of their safety. Both Atlanta and Atlanta University Center police said they have beefed up patrols in the areas that area. » RELATED: Concerns on Atlanta campuses after shooting » RELATED: Tighter campus security