In a sporting world that matched its avalanche of sharing and caring PR, the cricket bouncer would have been banned long ago as an act of violence with potential consequences too horrifying.
The essence and attraction of sport though is that it takes its participants to their edge and - sometimes - beyond what is legal or moral on the street. Even the medics, trained to save and heal, work feverishly to send battered bodies back into the fray.
The bouncer has been saved, ironically, by the crazy courage and logic-defying skill of the very men it is designed to dismantle, the world's best batsmen, and the survival instincts of those lower in the order who are not so well equipped technically. If they weren't so good, the bouncer would have been bounced on safety grounds.
A rock hard cricket ball hurled well beyond allowable motorway speeds can only be resisted by courage, remarkable reactions, technique, supreme concentration, and the current helmets and body armour for most of the time.
There are going to be bad days and what occurred in Sydney on Tuesday, the tragic felling of the South Australian batsman Phillip Hughes, was not an accident waiting to happen, because it is not a true accident and it has certainly happened before.
The fact is, bouncers are aimed at the head and body. They are intimidatory, and they are designed to hurt. They are not designed to miss. If they were there wouldn't be any bouncers and they would be called wasted deliveries instead.
Cricket will be forced to address this issue, and the Hughes tragedy is the catalyst. At the very least, there will have to be a leap in the safety gear. There might also be other debates, including whether the old "rule" that fast bowlers don't pepper lower order batsmen needs to become a real rule. Certain protective equipment might become compulsory.
The great fast bowlers and their terrifying ways have given many of us cricket lovers exhilarating viewing experiences, and yet ... there is no other sport where a small, hard object is sometimes propelled with the express - and it is express - aim of injuring, with vital organs among the targets.
The overt, macho aggression of a Dennis Lillee may have gone, but the intent remains.
The bouncer is central to the fast bowler's art, and is difficult to do well. It may even be essential to test and first-class cricket, keeping the bowlers in the hunt as batting gains the upper hand and T20 slams tradition and techniques for six.
In the hands of the best practitioners, with the Australian Mitchell Johnson a fine current example, the bouncer can terrorise even the toughest, as with the South Africans in facing Johnson.
Middle order batsman Ryan McLaren was felled by Johnson, blood flowed from his head, and he was pulled from the remainder of the series this year, only to return months later - stupidly minus an arm guard - to have an arm broken by the same man.
These kinds of battles are fascinating, compelling. But when serious and life threatening injuries are involved, the thrill has gone and analysis must take place. Sean Abbott, the bowler in Sydney, performed an accepted task and is left devastated, another victim for sure.
Put it this way: a few more incidents to match the shocking scenes in Sydney, and cricket would face an uproar. Here's another angle.
Cricketers including Australian captain Michael Clarke have rallied around Hughes. But Clarke was once caught by a stump microphone telling English fast bowler, hopeless tailender and serial sledger James Anderson to get ready for a "broken f****** arm" as Johnson steamed towards him.
The cricket community is coming together now, but only briefly, because it is a game played in a soulless atmosphere, where a lack of respect between opponents gushes out via premeditated, embarrassing and pathetically moronic sledging. Even while dressed in white, this is a nasty sport laced with fraud and played by some seriously twisted men.
Players are telling us what a great bloke Hughes is, but out in the middle, him and his kin are likely to get called every name under the sun. Oh sport is so inspiring.