Friday, September 04, 2009

Kids play with fire in plane crash dare games

I am appalled by continuing stories in the Liverpool Echo of young people armed with laser light pens, which they are shining into the cockpits of planes flying into John Lennon Airport in the hope of dazzling the pilots.

There is a massive gap between reality and imagination here, a void so huge so that it is inconceivable.

As a child, before rear seat belt laws came into effect, my little sister and I used to amuse ourselves on long drives by poking our tongues out at the drivers in the cars behind us, or perhaps waving to them, or trying to engage with them in our child-like sign language. And yes, in retrospect that was dangerous.

I hope that the children and young people who are engaging in this dangerous actitivity, like us before them, have no idea of the potential consequences. A few weeks ago a young lad was killed on a railway sidings in Springwood, Liverpool, when electricity arced across the air and electrocuted him as he stood on top of a shunted carriage. He would have had no idea of the potential danger he was facing either.

But there is something truly frightening about children and young people taking on a plane, for fun. If the worst came to the worst and a plane were to come down, it would be tragic beyond anyone's comprehension.

But how do we get this message across? Children have been killed on railway lines since they were first laid, as they have been on roads, and as have young people been in stolen cars. My horror lies with the potential scale of such a disaster, but that does not of course make it any more or any less serious a problem than those with lesser potential for loss of life.

At a time when we are convulsed over the future of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi who was found guilty of bringing down Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, I am astonished that a similar disaster might lie so close to home, caused by kids with absolutely no idea of what they are doing.

Surely we must act? What can we do to bring home the potential disaster of these childish things to those who carry them out, and how can we reach them, if as I suspect, they are not the same young people who engage with youth clubs, scouts/guides, church groups, community centres, or indeed go to school regularly.

This is a theme I shall be returning to later, how do we reach those young people who are not part of our regular networks?

1 comment:

scouseboy said...

In answer to your question, I think the only way is through outreach.