Friday, May 20, 2011

Progress, Pain, Cost, Risk, and the Greater Good

My sister Heather wrote an excellent post describing how disillusioned she is by the decision of the Sioux Center City Council to approve the Sandy Hollow gun range, despite being presented strong evidence of it's risk, and over 400 signatures from those opposed.

These are some thoughts that I wanted to add to hers:

There are risks in all areas of life. And yes, "progress" sometimes causes pain, and it costs something. As a pregnant woman, I'm well aware that that the progress of bringing another child into the world will involve risk and pain, and it will cost something. There's road construction near my house. There's an element of risk there to the workers working with construction equipment. The progress will cost the city money, and the detour I am sure is causing excess noise to a residential community, for a short time.

There is a tiny element of truth in most lies, and I think this idea that
"a little risk is OK, a little pain is OK, progress always has it's costs" is one of the ideas causing people to support the gun range. However, they are failing to realize the bigger truth that whenever possible, a good leader will minimize the risks, and the risks are borne by consenting adults, hopefully for a short time in order to have a long-term gain. A good leader follows the reasonable recommendations of expert organizations: I take my vitamins and eat healthy and get prenatal care, and I see the construction workers using safety equipment and directing traffic away from workers. A good leader speaks up for those less powerful than himself.

People undertake the risk of having children, building roads, etc. because the situation of never having children, or continuing to use an old and overcrowded road system would be, in the long run, more dangerous and risky than the temporary risks of pregnancy and road construction.

These situations are entirely different than the situation of the gun range, where the City Council (and others) are asking someone else to bear long-term or permanent risks, costs, and pain of "progress" that isn't essential at all, and meanwhile ignoring the safety recommendations of experts such as the NRA and EPA.

John Byl, president of NIOSC, the gun club planning to build the range, said

"All progress is not good for everyone in the community." (quote in Northwest Iowa Review).

I think this statement admits that the gun range plan would have a significant negative impact on a lot of people, including neighbors of Sandy Hollow and people who do or would participate in other recreational activities there.

I think Heather's post excellently demonstrates that the thinking behind approving this range just isn't right, and it is a shame to those that approved it.


Ruth said...

Sorry to hear.

Rebecca said...

You and your sister are both excellent writers. I wonder if you could submit something to a Sioux Center publication. The council's decision makes me very angry.