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News > Commentary - Judgement Day
Judgement Day

Posted 10/6/2010   Updated 10/6/2010 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Lt. Col. Charles A. Hurry
436th Contracting Squadron commander

10/6/2010 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- No, I'm not talking about the Second Coming, nor an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. What I am referring to is what we all do every day. Make judgments.

So much of our lives are directed by others. The sign on the freeway tells us how fast to drive. The technical order tells us how much torque to put on a bolt, the AFI tells us how many lines we can use on a performance report. The IRS tells us how much money to send to them. The boss tells us what time to come to work each day.

It seems like every aspect of our lives is already defined for us and all we need to do is follow the instructions and everything will turn out alright.

Well, I suggest that is far from the case. Every day we make judgment calls on things that could have devastating impact on ourselves and each other if we make the wrong one.

The speed limit may be 65, but a person might decide to drive only 55 on the way to the store because of the rain and darkness or perhaps not go at all, to avoid an accident. Beach goers may decide the tide and waves at the beach are too strong and thus stay out of the water to avoid drowning. People make judgments to avoid the risk.

On the other hand, a person might decide skydiving is something he or she would like to try, or perhaps motorcycle riding or some variation of auto racing, or mountain climbing, or even something as simple as snow skiing. That person makes a judgment to accept the risk of these dangerous, but lawful activities.

Personally I like to see people having fun; but I also suggest people do so with desire and intent and full knowledge of the risks involved. And then take precautions, wear the appropriate safety gear, and use the appropriate venue. Race on a sanctioned racetrack, ski with well maintained equipment. Get the proper training. Make a conscious decision to use good judgment to minimize the risks in whatever is done. People have the freedom and the right to choose their own sports or activities. I encourage everyone to live life and enjoy the freedoms and pursuits of happiness offered to each of us in this great country.

Recently I attended an automobile accident fatality briefing. Alcohol was involved and certainly contributed to the accident; however I would suggest it was more than that. The individual was known to habitually drive fast, and in this instance, apparently too fast for the road conditions. This was a judgment that ignored the risk.
Furthermore, the vehicle he chose to own was not designed for speed or handling. He made a bad judgment to purchase the wrong type of vehicle for his driving style, or perhaps we could say he used bad judgment in exceeding the capability of his vehicle, either way he ignored the risk. He allowed his friends and circumstances to push him to take avoidable risks to include drinking and driving, and speeding beyond the capability of his vehicle or the road conditions.

Many of us here like to watch the NASCAR races. NASCAR racing is a dangerous sport and occasionally drivers, and even fans, are killed during races. Even though NASCAR takes extreme precautions to make it as safe as possible, all risk cannot be eliminated and accidents and fatalities will happen.

I suggest we should all live our lives with that in mind, that risks cannot be eliminated, they can only be minimized. Ultimately each person decides if they want to take the risk, you be the judge, you're responsible. Be responsible. Make the right decision for you. Take control of your life, enjoy life and make every day your judgment day.

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