15 March: "Your School is Inviting Entries for a Writing Competition. The topic is "Dangerous Sports Activities...are Selfish, Often Put Others at Risk, and Should be Discouraged." Argue For or Against."

When it is a good day, the weather is clear, and I have the means, I take my air rifle down to teh local woods (with the permission of the landowner) as well as some tin cans, and I set them up, lie in the mud and take my aim. I know that there are some rabbits nearby, I also know that nobody comes down here anyway, and I am allowed to shoot my cans in peace, without disturbance from bypassers or the police.

So far I have caught my fingers in the lock twice, had a recoil injury once, and have harmed another living organism no times. Suffice to say that on a peaceful day of shooting, I and my friends at the shooting range, only harm ourselves, and even those injuries, resulting from a lapse in bodily awareness, are very minor. an air rifle has never made myself, or anyone that I know, bleed.

I know that there are other sports that people get a thrill out of, such as extreme cross-desert running, and so on, that carry a higher risk of death than a tin* pellet in the flesh. But the qualifications of such people doing these sports must be taken into consideration. They have been skiing and running for years, they know in their own unique way if something is amiss, and if they have an accident - these are rare and unfortunate, but in teh majority of cases, result from a lack of concentration on the person's part. The sport is dangerous, of course - but free will is so much more important.

What sport ever puts another person, who is not involved with the sport, at risk? Sport - individual sport - is strictly  one-man basis. And if you did decide to row down Niagara Falls with three other people, they were probably consenting anyway. If you bunged them in the back with duct-tape around their mouths and called it "bondage water joyride", that would be defeating the point of the extreme sport, and would also be first-degree murder, which is something else entirely.

No. We as individuals retain the right to practise extreme sports, assuming full responsibility of the consequences. I believe that everyone should exprience their first shot, and if you haven't yet, do. There is nothing like the thrill of shooting, and I imgine it so with skiing, tennis-on-ice or whatever people do to themselves to get a sense of living, of the greatness of life. How can we learn that if we chain ourselves to a desk?

Secondly, extreme sports, though they can in some cases end or debiliate lives of people who have lacked common sense and discretiion in the first place, they can save them. The knowledge gained from parachute-jumping and freefalling can save the person's life, if they ever find themselves in a situation where their plane is going into tailspin and they have to leap out to save themselves. The average civilian would never do it, and there is no denying that these things happen. They are unlikely, yes, but they happen. And someone who is a proficient archer could be a proficient gunman as well, showing that these skills are transferable. Hunting, pronounced a despicable and dangerous sport, teaches patience, choosing the right moment, and observational skills and staying calm in an exciting situation, which can be used in a vareity of everyday situations.

*Can be made out of lead, in which case lead poisoning is a risk. This can usually be treated without loss of life...unless you decided to eat your own ammunition, in which case I remain unsympathetic.

The End

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