One thing I see over and over again in magazines and forums is a blatant disregard for safety procedures in potentially dangerous metal fabricating activities. I do my best to give good advice when I see such instances on the forums, but have never taken the time to write in to a magazine until now.
You have a man welding or plasma cutting in cloth sneakers, shorts, and a sleeveless T-shirt, with no safety glasses, face protection, shaded eye protection, ear protection, or gloves. If this guy wants to burn his body until it scars, let hot sparks quench in his ear drums until his ears are infected and hearing is damaged, sunburn his body until it's red and peeling, and burn his retinas until he can't even open his eyes, let alone see while he's working in his own garage, that is his agenda. But why would you photograph and publish something like that? People (most specifically the younger crowd) see these pictures and figure if it's in a magazine, it must be the right way to do it.
The off-road community in general is so often garage-taught (as opposed to receiving proper education), and safety is often overlooked or taught wrong. We need to do our best to teach the right ways, not the wrong ways, so that people can enjoy their hobby rather than ending up in the emergency room or worse. Maybe as a rebuttal for this publishing, you could write an article about proper safety in metal fabricating to help teach people the correct way things are done.
... Or con?
Note to my fellow readers: Let's vow to not write letters over every infraction you nitpicky safety Nazis identify in the photos. Péwé wants to weld in sandals and do the dingleberry dance? No problem. Someone's hand is grabbing the outside of a rollbar? Big deal. And while I'm at it, quit whining that your Ford/Scout/Trooper/Chevy/Whatever doesn't get enough coverage in the magazine.
One more thing. You're going to cancel your subscription because your panties are all wadded up over one of these matters or any other? Just shut up and do it. I love the magazine and will be a subscriber until ADT (that's "asumes dirt temperature"). I feel better now.
Chris and David, you both make excellent points. Since most of us were garage-taught, that is the way we do it-and yes, I've had my share of ER visits to prove it. We'll be more safety-conscious as we age. See what you think of this month's story on trail welding, "Burning for You," page 50.
Save The Bantam!
This isn't your regular letter to the editor. I won't wax prophetic about too much of one brand versus another, or ask for advice from Péwé about how I can convince the missus to allow another project in my driveway, or ask about getting a picture of my rig in your mag. I am here to voice my concerns over a threatened piece of 4WD heritage, the Bantam factory, better known as the Birthplace of the jeep (and all things flat-fendered for Péwé). Regardless of brand locality, we can all agree that the Bantam design/jeep spurred on a new type of vehicle and brought off-road enthusiasm home after helping win World War II. Therefore, it is important to all ORV enthusiasts. The factory, located in Butler, Pennsylvania, is vacant, and both current owner AK Steel and a number of local volunteer and civic organizations are trying to preserve the site and building. My hopes are that you will publish this in your next issue and that other loyal readers and advertisers may read it and see how they can help. To learn more, visit the website my.preservationnation.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9491&security=2862&s_interest=3225. Another good site is www.butlerdowntown.org.
Scott, we were there on our 2009 Ultimate Adventure and agree with you on the importance of saving the factory. Thanks for the link. It's up on our website as well.