The sad story of Wilson Gavin serves as a case study for the naivety and unethical focus of Safety.
When one defines Safety as zero (http://visionzero.global/node/6) (the global mantra) as the absence of injuries, then whatever follows must be unethical. Zero ideology commands the safety industry fuelled by unethical binary thinking of entrapment ‘how many injuries/deaths do you want today’. Once binary thinking is accepted, then anything that follows is ‘justified’ by numerical variation.
This is how we get to no more unethical campaign than Melbourne Metro’s Dumb Ways to Die campaign. How does this campaign get’s away with demonizing suicide by rail? The absence of an ethic. I wonder what the Gavin family think about that campaign?
The whole focus of Dumb Ways to Die is simplistic, naïve and unethical. Here we have a simple little cartoon jingle where characters suicide in various forms and then some weird leap of logic is made to being safe around trains.
Yet, no one in the safety industry criticizes this unethical campaign indeed, the campaign is praised and lauded by Safety as effective judged by numbers of hits on the Internet! (https://mediashower.com/blog/four-reasons-why-dumb-ways-to-die-is-a-great-marketing-campaign/ ) Except the real numbers of suicides is not decreasing and even judged by Metro Rails own numbers is completely ineffective.
The movement of numbers is nothing more than attribution, all numerics are subjective and interpreted. If numbers judge success then all sorts of unethical practices can be justified! That is, made just. Eg. At the time of the release of Dumb Ways to Die (170 million views) was also release ‘Wreckingball’ by Miley Sirus parading nude on a wrecking ball (4.8 billion views). So now parading nude on the Internet must be valid, good and ethical. This is what one gets from an ideology defined by a number.
Let’s look at the Wilson Gavin story again. A bright, intelligent and passionate young man (certainly not dumb) gets involved in ideological ideas connected to moral cause and shares in moral outrage at a Drag Queen reading stories to kids (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-16/drag-queen-protester-wilson-gavin-family-share-anger-liberal/11873326 ). Then the video goes viral and the moralism and emotivism of the twitter moralists reverse moralise the young man for his stance. A clear case of my common-sense ethics are better than your common-sense ethics. This emotivism (MacIntyre) common to most social media is the test of fluffy ethics (https://safetyrisk.net/fluffy-ethics-and-safety/ ) and binary nonsense! The next day, Wilson jumped in front of a train.
The letter from the Gavin family is astounding, full of love and forgiveness for all, a truly ethical response. What we see in the family’s response is silence about the binary tirade. No binary right or wrong rhetoric, no nonsense about being ‘troubles’ or blaming mental health issues just a tribute to a young life ended too soon.
Maturity knows that when you celebrate the loss of your son’s life there is no ‘dumb ways to die’ and Safety isn’t dead right!