For starters, I must say I appreciate the respectful and thoughtful debate rather than jumping down each other’s throats (maybe there is hope?). ;)
I think you hit the nail on the head in that mistakes and loss of talent moments will always happen. I think the disconnect is karters believe we should be able to continue racing after contact without consequence, especially if it wasn’t our fault (how many racers actually admit that they made a mistake or could’ve taken a different approach?). Formula 1, Indycar, and other open wheel racing have consequences because even a small amount of contact will tear up a front wing, puncture a tire, break suspension, etc, which virtually ends their race. I think karting needs this type of consequence and a drop down bumper does it without requiring actual damage (the revised one that doesn’t flop underneath the kart).
It is my perception that bodywork was added to increase the safety of our sport as the consequences of contact were too severe; however, we now seem to be closer to concession karts where quite a bit of contact can be made without issue. Many of the write ups for big races include big pile ups, red flags, injuries, aggressive driving penalties, etc. I don’t see this changing until another major change is implemented that makes us adjust how we race to decrease contact. The national level gets most of the attention because of the publicity but plenty of contact exists at the club levels too.