Use common sense to minimize danger

We've all done stupid things.

In most cases, by luck or grace, we've escaped serious injury or worse.

We can look back on our youth and remember stunts that might have caused us serious pain but turned out to be nothing more than a sheer adrenaline rush.

And, we don't necessarily lose that thrill-seeking gene as we grow older.

Summer seems to bring out a little more of the daredevil. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, social gatherings are more frequent.

And our judgment tends to get a little more clouded.

Sure, we know that jumping off a bridge into a cold and fast-moving river could have unfortunate consequences.

We know that folks who can't swim shouldn't be near our rivers and lakes without life jackets.

We know lighting illegal fireworks can be fraught with danger, but that doesn't stop some of us from setting them off for the thrill it brings.

We know lots of ways to avoid danger, but that doesn't mean we always put them into practice.

We don't think the bad stuff will happen to us.

Unfortunately, it does.

As a newspaper, we report on what happens in our community and beyond. That includes the good, the bad and even sometimes the mundane but important news.

And it includes the dangerous things that people do in our community, from children riding bicycles without helmets to some foolhardy soul jumping off the cable bridge. We don't make people do these things and it's not a newspaper's job to police them.

It is our job to reflect the community we live in, even if it's not always the way we'd want it to be.

We read headlines every day about missing hikers who separated from their partners, a no-no in basic outdoorsman rules. We read about well-educated folks like the two middle-aged nurses who took an inflatable raft into rough ocean waters off Benson Beach near Ilwaco. Neither was wearing a life jacket. The raft capsized multiple times. One man did not survive the trip.

What can sound like a fun and spontaneous adventure can quickly turn into something much more serious.

We're not saying we all shouldn't have fun and live life to the fullest. There is so much to do and explore in our state. We don't want folks living in fear or locked up inside their houses because there's too much danger outside.

You could spend all your life living in fear and trying to avoid danger and still get taken out by doing something as simple as crossing the street.

Make your choices, seek your thrills. But take common-sense precautions -- like wearing life jackets and helmets and leaving a route plan when heading into the backcountry.

In the end, those decisions are up to individuals. The consequences can be widespread, affecting an entire community.

We'll keep covering the questionable things people do. We'd just like a lot more of those events to end in sighs of relief than in tears of grief.