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Don't Destroy the Wild for Safety's Sake

June 29, 2002

Re "Brothers Die While Diving in Old Mine," June 25: I am a resident of the canyons. It is sad to hear about the unnecessary death of anyone, especially brothers so young. The comments from residents, sheriffs and others speak to the dangers of this abandoned mine or the tragic loss of life. However, there is no regard for the concept of personal responsibility.

Nearly all of the Southwest's ghost towns are riddled with mines and myriad dangerous conditions. It is not only ignorant to think that we can protect everyone from themselves but disgusting to destroy history in the process. I enjoy the dirt trails, the animals and the trees. The inherent dangers of poison oak, snakes, bobcats and even abandoned mines are part of the equation. These mines are historic. They affected the growth of the area, and the trails that people enjoy are frequently there because of old mining complexes.

There is a sense of wonder that I find in hiking for hours to see that gaping maw that was the creation of hard work, all to bring out some silver. Now we have to destroy a landmark like the Blue Light Mine that is part of Orange County history, all because two individuals did not realize that a 100-year-old flooded mine shaft was dangerous? Shall we kill all the rattlesnakes that live in the hills because someone wearing shorts decides to kick over rocks in the brush? Shall we fence every divide, every gap that someone could stumble off wearing flip-flops? I hope that we turn this concept around. We as people are responsible for ourselves. We cannot protect everyone from everything.

Karl Kasarda

Silverado

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