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Free Fuckin’ Will

Should I jump off this cliff? A decision maker from Blue Skies Mag. | http://blueskiesmag.com
Written by The Fuckin' Pilot

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Originally printed in issue #69 (September 2015) of Blue Skies Magazine.
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This article isn’t particularly funny. Actually it isn’t funny at all. It’s not gonna be a long one either. It’s also not going to come as any huge surprise to those who have been reading me for a while, or to most active skydivers really. The general public lately, and even a few low-class jumpers, have really pissed me off and as is the norm for me I will tell you why.

After another round of tragedies in the sky-sports world, and specifically in BASE, the more vocal whuffo idiots have once again come out in major opposition to the way in which these people—these members of our family—have chosen to live their lives. They’re the same damn criticisms I’ve heard more times than I can count, but this time around they seem to be getting under my skin more than usual. The statements are all the ones you’d expect to hear, like:

“Why is this kind of thing still legal? How can the law allow people to go and get themselves killed in such a way?”

“I can’t believe how irresponsible some people are! They risk their lives for nothing more than a buzz, and we’re supposed to be upset when they die!”

“How selfish was this guy/girl? They had a wife, a husband, a significant other, CHILDREN! Now it’s these people who have to pay the price!”

You’ve all heard people say the same things I’ve heard, and in my not so humble opinion, none of them have a goddamn clue what the fuck they are talking about. These are the same people who ooooh and ahhhh over YouTube footage of amazingly extreme stuff, quickly forwarding links to all their friends so they’ll be the “cool ” person posting the clip, yet they’re also the first to scream, “What an idiot!” if something goes wrong.

Am I a BASE jumper? Nope. For me, it’s simply going too far. I made the conscious decision when I began jumping that my sport would include airplanes, helicopters, hot-air balloons and the like, but BASE was out of my league. I made that decision in part because I’d become a father not too long after becoming a skydiver, and in part because I’d been to Bridge Day and seen firsthand some major carnage that I had no desire to be part of.

Some of my BASE-jumper friends drew the line at those jumps they considered on the more mellow side; places like the New River, or Auburn or the Perrine Bridge are what they stick with because they are able to manage the risks in an acceptable way for themselves. For them, wingsuit BASE and proximity flying is a step too far. They’ve seen in that type of jumping exactly what I first saw at Bridge Day: an absolutely incredible sport I choose to stay on the sidelines for.

For the friends who go all out—the guys and gals who see GoPro footage shot 3 feet off the ground while carving down canyon and hillside, piercing through the narrowest of gaps with not much more than a fingertip’s reach and think, “FUCK YEAH! I am all about that shit!”—they either haven’t found a line they aren’t willing to cross or the line simply does not exist.

What is it that all these different groups of people have in common? And not just them, but everyone out there? Each makes a choice to live their lives the way they see fit. They choose to take part in, or to avoid, things that either call out to them or repel them depending on how they feel, for whatever reason they feel it.

So when I have to sort through my Facebook page to read how some fuck-stick cock-sucker (no offense to actual cock-suckers) thinks this person or that was an idiot, or irresponsible just because they’ve made a choice that they themselves wouldn’t make, it seriously makes me want to climb through the damn computer and shit on their keyboard!

In every one of my thousands of skydives or flights, I’ve made the same exact choice that every other skydiver or BASE jumper or skier or billiards player or porn star or fucking librarian makes every day: I decided the activity I was about to partake in was within my acceptable limit for risk, and worth the possible reward I may reap.

Every single time someone belittles the choices another person makes because it’s a choice they wouldn’t have, they not only insult the people they are talking about, but themselves as well. The 84-year-old grandma sitting in her comfy chair in Pasadena thinks the guy driving 90 miles per hour down I-5 is batshit, just like that blow-hard might think Eli or Dean or Jhonny went clean off the reservation when they stepped off the cliff … So what do I have to say to that? Fuck granny and her goddamn rocker if she forces her choices down my throat! Live your own lives, and enjoy everything you want to, in exactly the way you decide.

If I were magically given the power to bring all those we’ve lost in skydiving and BASE jumping back to life but, in order to do so, I had to take away the free will that made those choices possible for them, would I? Absolutely not. We love them for who they are, and who they are includes the choices they’ve made. Even those choices that took them from us. Would I want to change who they were in order to keep them? Well it wouldn’t be them anymore, now would it?

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