Readers — What can I say? It’s as if our country — its administrators, regulators, insurance execs and many everyday folks — are in competition with each other. The game is, “Can you think of a way that X or Y is dangerous?” If you can’t, well, clearly you don’t care enough about safety. Don’t be surprised if you are snubbed at the playground/voted out/passed over for the big promotion. But if you are clever enough to come up with a way that X or Y could, conceivably, even once in a very very very long while hurt someone, well BING! BING! BING! BING! You win! You’re proven you’re good at “threat assessment” and can now go on to the next step: Creating a protocol to make sure that the nearly non-existent danger is nearly non-existent. (Yes, I realize that means you haven’t changed the threat level one iota. That was never the purpose! Obviously you can’t make anyone safer if they are already safe. Your job is simply to ESTABLISH this bureaucratically.) Now that you’ve done SOMETHING, even something POINTLESS you get your reward! More rules to enforce!
Speaking of which, here’s a note from a reader:
Dear Free-Range Kids: So in my state the child care regulations state that children may be allowed to go to the bathroom by themselves if they can handle the whole process without help. This pretty much means kids 4 or 5 and older. But now the local licensing folks have ruled that you cannot leave the liquid hand soap in the bathroom. The kid has to come out and have the adult dispense the soap. This is all because the kid might put the soap in his or her mouth.
Putting aside the unlikelihood of this happening, if it did, the child would spit it out quickly and the small amount would do no harm. But the office seems to be going for zero risk, a really scary concept. – Day Care Lady in New York