No Good Deed Goes Unpunished # 174

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On April 29, a group of canoers, or canoeists, or canoe wranglers, or whatever you call people who canoe (if "canoe" is a verb), tried to help out when they saw a woman fall or jump from the Perrine Bridge over the Snake River in Idaho.  The woman didn’t survive, so for obvious reasons the group was pretty shaken up by the time they reached her and got her to shore.

This good-Samaritan act cost them $170, the cost of the two tickets that an officer immediately wrote them for not having life jackets on.  "The body was right there," said Dennis Bohrn, a member of the canoeing party.  "A deputy was trying to console everybody.  Then a sergeant walked up.  He said, ‘I see you don’t have any life jackets so I am going to give you a citation.’  It seemed a little cold."

The local sheriff said he stood by the officer’s decision, though he added, "Could it have been done at another time?  He had a discretion."  Well, that’s really not a rhetorical question, sheriff — yes, it could have been done at another time, or not at all, which is what discretion is for.  "They should use common sense," Bohrn suggested.  "Maybe his superiors could tell him, ‘Next time, wait until they get to the dock and the girls aren’t crying.’"

Link: AP via Yahoo! News