Friday, July 11, 2014

Jackass’s Steve-O jumps into San Antonio River, kills common sense

Rivercenter Mall San Antonio |PHOTO CREDIT: Kenny Underwood via Flikr
Rivercenter Mall San Antonio |PHOTO CREDIT: Kenny Underwood via Flikr

Jackass’s Steve-O jumped into the San Antonio River on Friday, March 14, 2014. Now he’s claiming he should be recognized as a hero and thanked.

One of San Antonio’s main tourist attractions is the Riverwalk. Though the river is not very deep in many spots, its history runs very deep.  The area was established for entertainment and commerce originally in 1936, though the San Antonio River’s place in history is documented back to 1716 when the site was selected for a fort and a Christian mission. In 1724, the fort and mission moved to what is now known as the Alamo. The Riverwalk has since undergone many improvements and beautification projects. One of the most expansive upgrades was one done in preparation for the 1968 World’s Fair, nicknamed the “Hemisfair”.
Today, at one end of the Riverwalk rests the Rivercenter Mall. The center of the mall has an open-air appearance with restaurants, terminals for boat tours, and live music encircling a four-foot deep, man-made lagoon.

While touring the Riverwalk, Stephen Gilchrist Glover, more commonly known as Steve-O from the Jackass television show and movies, had what he claims as an impromptu stunt idea. He jumped from the East Commerce Bridge high above the Rivercenter lagoon, performing a back-flip. He landed, allegedly unscathed, in the shallow water.

San Antonio police are investigating the incident. San Antonio laws prohibit swimming in the San Antonio River. It is a misdemeanor that carries a $500 fine. $500 may not be much more than a minor slap on the wrist for Steve-O. But investigators are looking into other possible charges.

In response, Jackass’s Steve-O is claiming he should be thanked for his stunt. He claims it was a public service that will raise awareness of the risks. Allegedly, he is attempting to start a campaign to have signs erected around the Riverwalk warning people not to dive into the water.

It is already against the law. San Antonio Code of Ordinances, Part II, Chapter 22, Article V is relatively easy to find online.
Sec. 22-87. Swimming in San Antonio River prohibited; penalty.
(a) It shall be unlawful to swim in the San Antonio River within the corporate limits of the City of San Antonio. “Swim” as used herein shall include bathing, wading or any other water contact recreational activity.
(b) Violation of any of the provisions of this section shall be a misdemeanor offense and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00). (Ord. No. 88236, § 2, 8-6-98)
Sec. 22-88. Swimming in city parks and city public property prohibited; penalty.
(a) It shall be unlawful to swim in any body of water, natural or man-made, in any city park or other city public area within the corporate limits of the City of San Antonio, except in designated swimming pools or swimming facilities during operating hours. “Swim” as used herein shall include bathing, wading, or any other water contact recreational activity. “Body of water” as used herein shall include but is not limited to lakes, ponds, creeks, water fountains or any other water feature.
(b) The director of parks and recreation shall have authority to grant exemptions to this policy under appropriate conditions to conduct supervised recreation or education programs. (Ord. No. 88236, § 3, 8-6-98; Ord. No. 2008-04-17-0317, § 10, 4-17-08)
Apparently Steve-O thinks there need to be signs posted as well. If there had been one, would he have bothered to read it? This is a guy who is known for performing risky stunts that most people who possess any amount of common sense would not attempt. Hence it creates the brand of comedy for which Steve-O is famous.

Despite being against the law, it is rather obvious to most people that visit the Rivercenter that the lagoon is shallow. Much of the remaining river is murky, varying in depth. Much of the river running through the Riverwalk district is four feet or less deep. Common sense would dictate somebody looks before they leap, especially a “professional stuntman” such as Steve-O. Prior to Steve-O’s stunt, it was extremely rare for somebody to jump from one of the bridges into the river. Hopefully his stunt doesn’t give amateur daredevils the bright idea to copy him.

Why don’t we have signs? Perhaps Steve-O would also suggest we enact laws forcing diamondbacks to carry signs saying “Caution: I’m territorial and I WILL bite you if you disturb me”? It’s about as preposterous as somebody suggesting signs on electric fences warning against urinating on them. Do we also need signs at barbecues that read “Warning: We cook with fire. Open flames can be hot”?

The simple answer is Texans pride themselves on common “horse” sense, normally. Of course it goes on vacation at times. That would be the only explanation how people such as Sheila Jackson-Lee, Henry Cuellar, Wendy Davis and Julian Castro got elected. However, Texas is a state with a long history of thriving through grit, tenacity, determination, and “horse sense”. The state’s history embodies a quote attributed Robert A. Heinlein’s fictional character Lazarus Long:
Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin; the victim can’t help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.
Welcome to Texas, Steve-O, bless your heart.