We’re not huge fans of the self-titled “Human Polar Bear”, Lewis Pugh, here at 6000 miles… as you may remember from such posts as Do Some Fracking Reading from earlier this year. Pugh’s tactics to get people onto his side rely on emotion and irrationality rather than any sort of logic – which is an unnecessarily juvenile and unhelpful approach to what are (or should be) important debates.
Well, now he’s back with a corker of a tweet from this morning:
Cue over 40 sycophantic retweets and you can almost imagine people reading it and thinking “By golly, he’s correct! People die on the roads and they never shut them down for 5 days! I must forward this to all my friends and followers immediately.”
But for those who can manage to get past the kneejerk reaction and who choose to analyse further, what is it that Lewis actually saying here? It seems to me that he is irritated by the dichotomous reactions to the shark attack in Fishhoek last week and the horrendous statistics of fatalities on our local roads. In my mind, there’s absolutely no reason that these two completely unlinked things should be treated in the same manner, but Lewis obviously disagrees.
So what exactly does he suggest? Well, based on the tweet above, I guess it’s one of two things: either he wants Fishhoek beach reopened or he wants the RSA roads closed for 5 days.
Of course, choosing to close down the entire road network of a country is not a decision to be taken lightly. The effect on the economy of even a minor early morning fender bender on Hospital Bend and the subsequent delays is often quoted as running into six figures. And that’s just one road, in one city, for just one hour.
Can you even begin to imagine the impact of shutting every road in the entire country down for five days?
According to this page, the network of roads in South Africa amounts to a staggering total of 755,000 kilometres. And Lewis wants all of that shut down for 5 days?
Does Mr Pugh perhaps have shares in the local traffic cone industry?
That’s not going to work.
Better then that we find an alternative, and of course, Lewis has that covered: let’s reopen Fishhoek beach.
This is an undoubtedly brilliant plan, because not only is it easier to do than closing three-quarters of a million kilometres of roads, but it also uses fewer traffic cones and there’s obviously nothing that could assist Cape Town’s vital tourism industry more than the city being labelled as the Shark Attack Capital Of The World. People will flock from all over the planet to swim in our waters and enjoy traumatic amputations of their lower limbs or – if they choose to take the five star package – death, at the hands of the super-predators in our waters.
Those ridiculing the buffoonery of Michael Cohen will have to SIT DOWN, because purposefully wading out into shark-infested waters is the new black, according to Lewis.
Does Mr Pugh perhaps have shares in the local private medical industry?
Because I’m struggling to see any benefit to anyone else in putting people at great risk of getting attacked by the obviously hungry great whites in False Bay. Perhaps Lewis, with his impeccable aquatic pedigree, would like to be the first to go for a dip beyond the breakers. Shall we get the air ambulance ready, Lewis, since you’ve already closed all the roads?
And as an aside, even while I’m writing this:
Is there a way that we could reduce the number of people killed on our local roads? Is there a better way to symbiotically manage human/shark interactions off our coastline? I guess that the answer to both of these questions is “possibly” – maybe even “probably”.
But despite deciding to comment on these issues Lewis Pugh once again offers nothing realistic, sensible or helpful to the debate.