When a society makes it a huge priority to protect people from their own stupidity, it will eventually grind to a slow, bureaucratic halt. I have to show my ID to buy Sudafed, spray paint or glue because someone has decided I might use these items to do something stupid. However, I can buy bullets without an ID. I was talking to a policeman the other day and discovered I could be thrown in jail for the amount of decongestant I had in my house. Seriously!
When it comes to the safety of society as a whole, I’m much more concerned about a couple lunatics running around with an unlimited supply of bullets than teenagers armed with nasal decongestant and super glue. Yes, I know that teenagers can use those items to make drugs, get high, and glue all their fingers together. Using drugs can cause permanent brain damage–but seriously, with all the anti-drug education, if they don’t realize doing drugs is dangerous, don’t they have some type of damage already?
If things continue, we will eventually have to show an ID to buy almost anything. If you try, you can come up with dangerous uses for just about anything.
- Super-soaker Water Gun – Could be filled with dangerous chemicals and sprayed in people’s eyes.
- Bleach – See item number one.
- Disposable Camera – The flash mechanism has a capacitor capable of delivering a shock of 300 volts. (I know this from experience)
- Hair Dryer, Toaster, Electric Drill, Coffee Mug Warmer – If you drop any of these in your bath water…goodbye cruel world.
- Rope – Could be used to hang yourself.
- Coffee Mug – Could be filled with boiling hot water and thrown at someone.
- Computer and Internet – Could be used to read this list.
- Telephone – Could be used to call and taunt a bully who comes over with a super-soaker full of bleach and sprays in you in the face.
Let’s try to protect the weaker people in our society, but not at the expense of choosing a path where everyone is eventually protected from doing just about anything.
I know a farmer who is a very intelligent no-nonsense type of person. He feels that all of the warning labels were contributing to a decline in human IQ. If warning labels are the only thing preventing you from raising a running lawnmower over your head, ironing your clothes while wearing them, or trying to cram someone into a clothes dryer, your genetics would probably do more damage than benefit to the human gene pool.
I’m not saying we should just remove all the warning labels and let the cards fall where they may, but I think we need to look down the road 30 years and think about the logical outcome of where we are currently headed as a society. We may be hampering our growth in productivity and technological advances by spending too much time trying to legislate common sense.
Originally published on March 21, 2007.