Yesterday one of my friends crashed badly and will spend quite some time in hospital getting some crushed vertebrae repaired. Three weeks ago another local pilot crashed at the same site; he's had a number of surgeries fixing a broken pelvis, arm and so on. A few days earlier, a hotshot pilot crashed a few hundred kilometers north of here; he will also spend a long time hospitalised.
And despite that, we keep flying. Even the ones in hospital come back more often than not.
If you look at this impassionately, you can only conclude that we're all suicidal idiots: we know it's dangerous, we see friends getting hurt and still we can't keep from doing it.
Why? I don't really know. I think it is a mixture of addiction and avoidance. The addiction pulls us back into the air, while avoiding to dwell on the dangers allows us to not freeze up shit-scared when flying (which is a good thing as freezing up will surely compound most minor incidents).
It must be a bit similar to how other people in dangerous occupations cope. I've read that fighter pilots among others have this ego thing down pat: while knowing a lot of dangerous stuff happens, one just doesn't believe that it'll be him having a problem. It feels similar with free flyers, motorbike riders etc.
Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, Paul is back home and walking - after one operation on his spine and only 6 days in hospital and. A speedy full recovery is what I wish him!