09/21/11 — Common sense: It's great that hikers have been freed, but what a risk to take

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Common sense: It's great that hikers have been freed, but what a risk to take

OK, so we are glad that the remaining two of the three American hikers are now on their way home to America after two years of confinement on espionage charges in Iran.

It is nice that the ordeal is over for their families and that a potential stress in the Middle East has been averted.

But while it is obvious that the arrest of the Americans who say they accidentally strayed into Iran while hiking along the border was merely another grandstand move by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, there is a certain amount of disdain that belongs with the three hikers themselves.

They did not deserve to be arrested, but they should have been smart enough to stay away from the border -- far enough away so they could not possibly make a mistake. The reason? The potential for not only the risk to their safety, but the precarious nature of relations right now with the Middle East.

This nation certainly does not need another reason for stress and concern -- especially with thousands of American service members fighting in the region.

So, here is the message for any would-be college explorers -- stay home and wait until it is safe to be in the areas where you want to visit.

And if you are a freelance journalist, behave responsibly and understand that while your country will protect your right to pursue information, yours is a dangerous business and requires experience, resources and common sense.

The hikers have been returned and that was the right move. But it was a stress this country certainly did not need -- and one that could have been prevented.

Published in Editorials on September 21, 2011 10:43 AM