Tombstoning is one of those ‘crazy’ activities that receives an awful lot of coverage in the Daily Mail each summer:
- ‘I wish I had died’ says man paralysed after 25ft ‘tombstoning’ leap into just 36 inches of water
- Tombstoning tragedy as man dies after jumping from danger pier
- Tombstoning man rescued after 100ft jump goes wrong
- ‘Drunken’ father, 33, becomes first summer tombstoning death
- Suicidal teenagers caught ‘tombstoning’ off Dead Man’s Cove
- Schoolboy killed in ‘tombstoning’ dare after he was swept away by fast-moving currents
- The moment ‘Death Bay’ teenagers were swept from rocks at a notorious tombstoning spot
- Army recruit, 19, killed in ‘tombstoning’ tragedy at notorious water-filled quarry
- Boy, 14, suffers spinal injuries after falling onto rocks while ‘tombstoning’
- Pictured: The ultra-dangerous death-defying ‘tombstone’ leap from a 75ft cliff
And so on, but you get the picture. Here are a few Daily Mail descriptions of what tombstoning is:
‘ultra-dangerous craze’, ‘A dangerous summer craze’, ‘a dangerous dare’, ‘a moment of madness’, ‘a dangerous craze’
Again, I could go on, but you get the picture. An activity that when participated in by teenagers is described as ‘suicidal’ is today being used as an example of a daring pensioner giving two fingers to ‘elf n safety’: ‘Elf ‘n’ safety be damned! The ex-Army major, 75, who leapt off Durdle Door tells his critics to go take a running jump‘.
Considering the amount of serious injuries and death reported by the Mail from partaking in this activity it seems extremely irresponsible and actually pretty offensive to the families / partners / friends who have lost or seem loved ones disabled for life because of this activity. To claim that Christopher Irven’s jump – just because he is a pensioner – is some kind of rebellion against an overbearing ‘elf n safety’ culture is shameful – even more so when you consider the terms that tombstoning is normally described in by the Daily Mail.
Furthermore, the results of this jump demonstrate exactly why health and safety takes issue with idiots jumping into the sea from great heights: Christopher Irven required rescuing. According to the Mail:
[his sons] plucked him from the sea the other day and dragged him back to shore, then caused a fuss by calling 999.
HavIng said that, when the air ambulance arrived, he was lying on the beach, his shorts ripped, a large red bruise on his head, his groin aching and his body shaking uncontrollably from the shock.
He was given emergency oxygen on the beach, strapped to a stretcher and flown in great haste to Dorchester hospital.
As if to make the Daily Mail’s disdain for health and safety or risk in this instance just look at how they portray the experts:
The local coastguard was unimpressed by Irven’s dive. ‘He shouldn’t have been doing it, especially at his age. You’d think he’d know better,’ sniffed a spokesman.
[Emphasis is mine]
The coastguard – commenting on an activity that the Daily Mail regularly describes as ‘crazy’ and ‘suicidial’ is being ‘sniffy’ about it now, just because it was a pensioner jumping and not a teenager. The dangers of the activity are also dismissed:
James Weld, of the Lulworth Estate, which owns Durdle Door, added: ‘It’s a very, very stupid thing to do because there are a lot of rocks under the water.’
But Irven says that things have just become a little overblown: ‘All this talk about serious injury is codswallop.
‘I wasn’t injured – I’d had a bit of a bang and I was in shock. All right, I shouldn’t have been in shock and it was my b****y fault. But I wasn’t seriously injured.’
You see, when you’re a feral teenager you’re acting ‘crazy’ and ‘suicidal’, but when you’re a pensioner you are merely seeking ‘fresh experiences’ and sticking two-fingers up at the PC-health-and-safety-gone-mad nanny state. He’s a Daily Mail hero and Vince Graff – the Daily Mail ‘journalist’ that pieced together the article – is close to worshipping him by the end of the article:
‘Safety at all costs is disastrous. It is producing the most namby-pamby frightened generation of fat, gutless children. Thank heavens my grandchildren aren’t like that…
I don’t believe in avoiding risk at all costs.’
He adds: ‘I’m not hugely interested in being dignified.
‘I lost dignity with the Durdle Door dive, but so what? At least I won’t have regrets.’
And somehow, you just know he’s right.
Funnily enough Vince misses the part where Irven describes the seriousness of what happened:
Grandfather Christopher Irven said he felt he had gone 10 rounds with a heavyweight boxer after a ‘swallow dive’ went wrong, leaving him with injuries to his groin and stomach.
He said: “The dive was a bit of a cock-up and I hit the water at a bad angle – it was too shallow. My face, chest, tummy and legs took a battering. It was rather like being badly winded and my bits hurt a bit.
“I started to swim back to shore but couldn’t and my two sons and another fella came and got me out. I lay down and a bit of shock set in – then the medics arrived and said I ought to go to hospital.”
Funnily enough there is also no mention of the taxpayer picking up the tab – no rentaquotes are consulted – and no outrage is directed at the pensioner for wasting the valuable resources of the Air Ambulance. It seems all you need to do to win the sympathy of the Daily Mail is to be of a certain age and willing to insult the ‘namby-pamby’ nanny state and you can get away with anything – even an activity that normally has the Daily Mail thoroughly outraged.