Originally Posted by Snowflake
I admit, i'm not convinced about the necessity of a parachute. It still seems to me that most of the situations where the chute was used still boil down to "you shouldn't have been in that situation anyway" before the chute was pulled, and the times people have died without using it all get pointed at by people asking "why didn't they use the chute?" Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
When it comes time to pull the chute, I don't think it matters whether or not you "should have been" in that situation. You can worry about that on the ground, alive. I can just about guarantee that all of us (even - or especially - those who profess superior piloting and decision making skills) have been in situations where, had things gone bad, people could say "he/she shouldn't have been in that situation". Fly long enough, and outside the pattern, and things happen, even to the best of us. Usually we luck out, but not always.
We can either recognize that we are fallible beings, and prepare for our own screw ups, or keep telling ourselves that we are the one pilot in the world who never makes a bad call.
Of course, we could always go the opposite route. An economist once suggested the best way to make cars safer would be to remove all protective devices and then put a big metal spike sticking out of the steering wheel. Imagine how safe we would all drive then! Maybe we can rig a self-destruct device that activates as soon as it detects low fuel, VFR into IMC, etc!