Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 04.13.16
Stanstead, Quebec


When cliffs attack

They are the silent killers -- except for the occasional seabird.

They hover at the edges of society -- along shores, on mountainsides, in classic movie chase scenes.

They walk among us. Actually, we walk among them, because have you seen those views? Breathtaking!

Regardless, they are out there. Waiting. Unbending in their resolve. They are the cliffs. And they are trying to kill us.

On Sunday, a 20-year-old woman in St. John's, Newfoundland drove over the cliffs of Signal Hill in her Toyota Echo (ECHO, Echo, echo...). The woman escaped from the plummeting vehicle before it came to a stop 90 metres down the cliff face. The victim was lucky, for if she had fallen into the sea, she would have been a-salted.

Then Monday, in Malibu, California, a man nearly drove over a cliff but managed to escape as his vehicle teetered over the edge. Unfortunately, he was immediately hit by a bus. California screaming indeed.

But putting aside the dangers of gratuitous punning, the question of what exactly provoked these unprovoked attacks is a provocative question that should be asked? "Should be asked?" No: "should be asked," period.

Either way, the cliffs aren't talking. Their stony silence is that much more disconcerting because they leave no rationale as to why they attack and when they will attack again. And rest assured, they will, and they have, and they are, and they be. Attacking. Will there be an avalanche of cliff-related assaults? Or will they erode our sense of security by making us wait, wait, wait… Wait, what were we talking about?

The gravity of extreme cliffism, that's what. Each year, over 1500 people are killed by cliffs, a figure that is as shocking as it is completely made up. That's more than are killed by dishwashers and vending-machine sandwiches combined. Make no mistake: you cannot turn your back on a cliff, especially if you're taking a selfie.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Gravity issued a report entitled "Threat Intelligence in the Vertical-Altitude Land/Void-Disparity Paradigm with Charts and Stuff," commonly known as "The Cliff Notes." In trying to get to the bottom of the cliff crisis, the Cliff Notes enumerated countless global drop zones that posed threats ranging from certain death to slight wooziness.

The report also indicated that many cliffs displayed extreme lack of flexibility and a failure to embrace racial diversity, a revelation that led to Great Britain's brief hashtag campaign, #DoverSoWhite. The bleeding-heart liberals will whine, "Oh, but not all cliffs are dangerous. Some cliffs purposely have ledges that you can land on if you fall or branches sticking out that you can cling to like an adorable cartoon character. Cliffs don't kill people; people kill people by saying, 'I dare you to lean over the edge of this cliff.' What we need is more understanding, more signs explaining cliffism and the origins of cliffs, so we can really get to know which geological era they're coming from. If we let fear of cliffs rule our lives, then the cliffs win. It's like Sir Edmund Hillary said, 'A Sherpa's pants may be saggy but that doesn't mean he…"

Oh, shut up, bleeding-heart liberals! No wonder nobody likes you.

It's common sense. If you fall for their "we just have a different outlook" line and let the cliffs go unmonitored, they will rise up. And it won't just be cliffs. Next thing you know the hills will be attacking, then the mild inclines. It's a slippery slope.

For the safety of our communities, for the safety of our children, for the safety of our poorly gripped smartphones, we must impose an outright ban on all cliffs. Let them continental drift back to where they came from.

And if they refuse, we must build a wall. We must build a wall so high that these precipices will no longer be able to lure innocent people to their doom with their panoramic vistas and their cavorting whales and that unnerving compulsion to fling yourself over the edge, go ahead, do it, DO IT! We must build this wall before society as we know it hits rock bottom.

P.S. Please do not climb on the walls.