Friday, August 21, 2009

Tiger Brewer

By now most of you have probably heard of this little fellow. His name is Tiger Brewer, he's eight years old, and he's a wing-walker. He has broken a record for being the youngest wing-walker in the world. When Phinnaeus and Marigold were eight years old, they were just graduating to the adult rides at Playland. I may be wrong, but I don't think an eight-year old child belongs strapped to the wings of an airplane. The little fellow was very frightened, and he kept repeating "Fear go away, Fear go away..." Well, okay. I guess everyone will think this is amazing, and sure, I guess it's okay. We live in an age when we don't send our children outdoors without helmets and knee pads, which may be a bit over the top sometimes. But I believe there is something inherently wrong with allowing an eight-year old child to do this. An eight-year old child cannot make this decision, and children rely on the big people to use good judgment about these things. As it turned out, nothing bad happened, but what if...

Does this little face belong strapped to the top of an airplane, hundreds of feet in the air, going 120 miles an hour? Maybe I'm wrong, but there is something about this stunt that doesn't feel right to me. It feels as if this child's parents and his grandfather are trying to draw attention to themselves, and using the little boy to do it. His father has legally changed his name to Happy Birthday, so I guess they are not a conventional family. On the other hand, I am probably completely wrong -- which would not be the first time, believe me. I just hope nothing happens to him, but what a story he has to tell his friends at school.

"What I did on my summer vacation..."

And I can just hear their mothers, when the children ask if they can wing-walk like their friend Tiger.

"If your friend wanted to jump off a bridge, would you do it too?"

Does anyone remember seven year-old Jessica Dubroff? She was a little girl who was attempting to become the youngest person to fly an airplane across the United States. It ended tragically over Cheyenne, Wyoming. I would be interested to know how many parents would feel comfortable allowing their child to do this. I can't help feeling, somehow, that these children are being exploited. Shouldn't someone be protecting them? Oh, well...

20 comments:

Land of shimp said...

s. But I believe there is something inherently wrong with allowing an eight-year old child to do this. An eight-year old child cannot make this decision, and children rely on the big people to use good judgment about these things.

If you're wrong Jo, you've got me for company in that. Holy buckets, there has to be an acceptable middle ground between the culture of fear that we have going, and this.

Yes, it's rather silly that the kids in my neighborhood mount a Big Wheel (a sort of low to the ground tricycle) wearing protective pads and a helmet.

However, it's full on idiotic to expose a little kid to a potentially fatal environment, no matter the justification.

We shouldn't be ruled by fear, but embracing the survival instincts of a lemming is not the cure!

The Bug said...

I would probably have wanted to do this when I was 8 (as long as it didn't involve going upside down I was there!). But I'm fairly certain my parents would have said NO!!! Then my Mom would have done it instead... She never lost her daredevil like I did.

PhilipH said...

Tiger's grandfather is almost certainly the one who should be ashamed of himself.

I love flying in small planes and gliders and was thrilled when I had my first glider flight at age 13. I was in the Croydon Air Training Corps and my squadron was taken to Kenley Aerodrome for this gliding event.

It was very scary! I can't imagine how it would have been had I not been strapped in the cockpit.

I imagine peeing one's pants, or worse, might have been excusable in young Tiger's case.

My wife was horrified. Most people will, I think, side with your opinion on this Jo.

Butler and Bagman said...

Clearly roller coasters don't cut it for him.

PS: I kind of agree with Land of Shimp.

Jean said...

I tend to agree with the majority on this one. Although I know there are those who would say you put your kids in as much danger putting them in a car everyday, but I say why tempt fate?

Jennifer D said...

Jo, I am a mother who lets her son do all sorts of dangerous things that other mothers would not let their child do. I don't understand why he wants to do these things,my only defense is pads and a helmet. When my son was little he would be watching TV with his helmet on and I would say "why don't you take it off?" He would just shrug, and he would shortly be off the sofa and off to find adventure. I was just glad he wasn't a couch potato/video head.

However- I would never let him walk on the wing of a flying plane!

robert said...

Good morning from Athens and a father of a nearly two year old boy.
Reading this made me think very much about how much to allow now and in future times him to do.
Something that is for sure out of question is the subject of your entry.
'an eight year old cannot make this decision ...' - once again am glad you giving it a voice.
With regard to my son, I guess he must and will be allowed to do as much as I did and do.

Leslie: said...

I'm stunned! How come HE got to do it and not ME!!! ;)

ivan said...

I notice the vintage biplane has, as an undercariage, what used to be call spats and pants. Spats for the wheels and pants for the wheel leg. Myself, I would crap my pants and even get some on the spats.
Had a scary enough time putting a plane deliberately into a spin dring flight training.

Mean Mama said...

EIGHT????!!!!!! My kids would not do anything like this in their 20s!!! 30s!!! 40s!!! I would bodily throw myself between them and the plane. I would throw such a bad temper tantrum they would be too embarrassed to go through with it. I'm afraid to put my children on a PASSENGER plane.

That aside, I'm ok with outdoor sports like rock climbing, skateboarding, cycling, even bungee jumping as long as the proper equipment is used and if needed, professionals.

This child's parents/grandparents are just plain stupid.

Alissa said...

There is something really, really wrong with this. We don't let kids drive cars because we know that they don't have maturity, experience and intelligence (yes, sadly, there some adults who are lacking in these areas) to handle something that can be very dangerous. Walking on the wings of an airplanes is actually far more dangerous than driving a car. We don't have laws preventing kids from doing it, because we didn't think anyone would be stupid enough to let their kid do something like this.

Nancy said...

I agree 100%! Children this age are doing these kinds of things to please their parents. Period.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I think you are right about gaining attention by using the child. Shows a total lack of good judgement. But, that is just my opinion.

Mean Mama said...

I looked up Jessica Dubroff. Apparently her flight instructor insisted in flying in bad weather. The crash was determined to be his fault because he took over the controls. He wanted to make a media event. Her last words were "Do you hear the rain?" "Do you hear the rain?" She was being ignored! and pushed! Her mother apparently was a nut job. There was a law passed over her death that stated no one without a flight certificate is allowed to fly. So sad. What kind of laws will be passed when children like this little boy fall off the wings?

the walking man said...

I can build cars that would go faster than that...hmmm my granddaughter is going to be 10 this year if I get to work I can hand her the keys on her birthday. I can make her the worlds fastest deadest 10 year old.

larkspur said...

J-Crimminy, NO! What parent in their right mind would allow this? This gives 'go outside and play' a whole new twist.

Russell said...

I confess. I have never heard of this child or what his family allowed him to do. I all sounds quite stupid to me.

When I worked at Legal Aid I often saw parents who were extremely irresponsible. This sort of nonsense ranks right up with the craziest of it all.

But, then again, I have seen lots of parents put a very small child on a 1200 pound horse ... whatever happened to riding the merry-go-round and blowing soap bubbles?

Barry said...

I'm on your side Jo. The parents and the sponsors of this event are being reckless and irresponsible.

Paula Slade said...

Unbelievable!!!! The parents and grandparents should be locked up for child endangerment!

Nicole said...

All I can say is NEVER NEVER NEVER would I even think of one of my children doing this!