But, would we have stopped to save David?

May 30, 2006 — 1 Comment

The car was stopped in the middle of the highway and cars were skidding and swerving to avoid rear-ending the maroon Ford Taurus.

“What in the world is going on?” I asked out loud (even though I was driving home from work . . . all by myself!) as I quickly maneuvered to avoid ruining two cars and a relaxing drive home.

What would make a man stop his car in the middle of rush-hour traffic and get out?

Was it an accident? An injured person in the road? An old lady trying to cross the street?

Why would a sane adult stop his car in the middle of a highway if not for an accident, a hurt person, or old lady in need of assistance? No. This guy wasn’t stopped to help a person. I almost rear-ended the car of a man who had stopped to move a turtle out of the road.

Now, I like turtles and don’t condone running over a turtle with your car (unless it is carrying a cat across the road on its back), but I also don’t condone risking the lives of innocent people by deserting your car in the middle of a busy road.

But, it seems to happen a lot. People stopping their cars to rescue turtles from roads that is.

It’s a nice thing to do. Rescue turtles from the road that is.

People are generally nice. That’s why the following headline caught my attention: “Left to die on Mount Everest.”

An article in last Thursday’s edition of the Buffalo News (http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20060525/1043217.asp) detailed how dozens of climbers left a British mountaineer to die during their own attempts to climb Mt. Everest. The AP writer, Steve McMorran explained that David Sharp, 34, died while descending from the summit of Mt. Everest. More than 40 climbers are thought to have seen him as he lay dying, and almost all continued without offering assistance.

Mark Ingles, the first double amputee to reach Everest’s summit on prosthetic legs, stopped as soon as he saw David. He and his party gave David oxygen, and radioed for help, but it was too late.

David’s official cause of death was low-oxygen, but the real cause of David Sharp’s death was apathy.

Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to reach Everest’s summit, was disgusted by this event.

“There have been a number of occasions when people have been neglected and left to die, and I don’t regard this as a correct philosophy,” Hillary told the Otago Daily Times. The whole attitude toward climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top,” he told the newspaper. Hillary told New Zealand Press Association he would have abandoned his own pioneering climb to save another’s life. He said that his expedition, “would never for a moment have left one of the members or a group of members just lie there and die while they plugged on towards the summit.”

Hillary’s closing thoughts are profoundly true, “Human life is far more important than just getting to the top of a mountain.”

Like Sir Edmund Hillary, I’m also disgusted by David Sharp’s death, but I’m also convicted by David Sharp’s death.

I never want to be like one of those climbers who chose the summit over the life of a dying man.

This world is full of people who are spiritually dying. They are all around us. I will pass by thousands of them as I drive home tonight.

If given the chance to share life with one of them, would I stop, or would I choose dinner over the opportunity to share life with a dying soul? I’d hope that I’d stop, but you never know.

What about you?

What about us?

I know many people who would stop to save a turtle, but would we have stopped to save David?


One response to But, would we have stopped to save David?


    Fantastic. The idol of our personal Everest weighs against the divine call to seek and save. Perhaps we are on the wrong adventure.

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