Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"In Loco Parentis": Mandatory Flotation Devices

"People who hope to beat the summer heat by swimming, floating or boating on rivers in King County (Washington state) must wear a life vest or face an $86  fine. A divided County Council on Monday passed a personal flotation device ordinance by a five to four vote. Opponents said it was an intrusive move by "big government."

"This council sometimes thinks it's everybody's mom," said Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, who voted "no."  Supporters said the new rule will save lives."


46 Comments:

At 6/22/2011 5:48 PM, Blogger Cabodog said...

I have no doubt this WILL save lives.

According to the State of Idaho, "75% of boating fatalities could have been prevented if the victim was wearing a lifejacket."

http://www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Health/InjuryPrevention/Drowning/tabid/1390/Default.aspx

But, I'm mixed on mandating things, especially a county.

 
At 6/22/2011 6:29 PM, Blogger Craig said...

I have no doubt this WILL save lives.

I agree with you just as I believe that wearing seat belts saves lives. I suspect that motorcyclists' wearing helmets saves lives just as I'm pretty sure that well-designed and now-mandatory children's car seats -- save lives.

All that said, I can't help but wonder when it became government's mission to make us save our own lives.

Sensible people would wear a seatbelt. I always do. It's saved my life in two different accidents. Sensible people won't smoke tobacco. I smoke anyway -- I like it.

Leave me alone, please.

 
At 6/22/2011 6:35 PM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

"...hope to beat the summer heat by swimming"

Hard to do wearing a vest.

 
At 6/22/2011 6:41 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

As I often post here, the feds may tax you to hell, but you local government will regulate you into infantile compliance.

Try running a jitney service, or growing pot in your backyard, for sale or use. Hell, try moonshining. Want to open a barbershop? How about a speakeasy. A push-cart soup service? Need to turn a few tricks to earn the rent?

Un-uh bubelah. And don't go swimming without a lifejacket.

States rights and local control sound nice. Fact is, local governments are very repressive.

 
At 6/22/2011 6:45 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

if council members all drove only 10mph and wore full face helmets at all times, that too would save lives.

somehow i doubt the council will get behind that one...

 
At 6/22/2011 6:50 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"States rights and local control sound nice. Fact is, local governments are very repressive."

this is a meaningless statement.

the two idea have nothing to do with one another.

first off, for any given level of state intrusiveness, less federal is still better.

second, the ability to be intrusive doe not imply that they will do so or that they ought to do so.

to whom power ought to be devolved and to what ends that power should be used are two different questions.

finally, if a state annoys you (as califonia taxes annoyed me), you can leave (as i did).

it's a bit trickier federally. giving up US citizenship is not easy (and is VERY expensive as doing so is now a taxable event)

there is no question that states and localities impose too many (and often stupid and harmful) rules, but that is not an argument not to devolve power to them.

you'd rather have the feds?

keep in mind that if the feds were allowed to make those rules, they would, and they would likely be much more draconian and reflect local opinions less well.

 
At 6/22/2011 7:02 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

According to the State of Idaho, "75% of boating fatalities could have been prevented if the victim was wearing a lifejacket."

This may be true but wearing life jackets may also give people false security and increase risk taking activities. In turn, those greater risks may create other fatalities that would not have taken place by people who were more vigilant.

 
At 6/22/2011 7:37 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Morgan Frank:

Yes, much of what you say is true--on the other hand, states and local governments can also actively repress my rights, unless the federal government intrudes.

The right to vote needed federal intervention up through the 1960s, for example.

A state might decide I cannot marry a person of a different race, and some did until recent times.

And, as we see, local government are positively active in denying people entrance into business activities, especially low barrier-to-entry businesses.

A local government can strip you of your property right, by downzoning, or eminent domain.

Local governments are easily captured by local business, and then act to suppress new business.

It is a far-fetched hope, but I keep hoping the federal government will someday defend my right to start a business with the same vigor they defend my right to free speech.

 
At 6/22/2011 8:36 PM, Blogger Plans to Prosper said...

The good thing about this happening at the county level is that it's so easy to leave the county.

 
At 6/22/2011 8:38 PM, Blogger Evergreen Libertarian said...

That mean a lot fewer kidneys available for transplant.

 
At 6/23/2011 2:23 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Obviously King county doesn't really give a damn whether someone lives or dies, they look at this 'regulation' as another potential revenue stream like the crapola regarding seat belts is...

Stupid people electing dishonest progressives get the government they deserve...

 
At 6/23/2011 7:30 AM, Blogger Bernie Ecch said...

Why wouldn't any parent spend some $30-$50 on a device that can save their most precious thing from dying? And is it really that bad if the county requires it..as long as it is more of a guide to help save lives instead of harassing people legally?

 
At 6/23/2011 8:32 AM, Blogger George Phillies said...

The regulation must make scooba diving really interesting.

 
At 6/23/2011 9:28 AM, Blogger bob wright said...

Talk about the Nanny State, check this out.

A great quote from the video:

"The merit of an idea does not depend on the number of people who hold that idea."

 
At 6/23/2011 9:33 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

benji-

but if local governments did not have the ability to do those things, the feds would.

that's a worse situation.

you point about voting is just an inaccurate framing of the issue.

of course there are federal laws and there ought to be. not all powers are devolved to the states. the point is that federal powers are constitutionally enumerated and that the feds cannot go past that point.

 
At 6/23/2011 11:53 AM, Blogger Seth said...

I wonder why these people don't start a charity that will encourage folks to wear life vests properly and provide swimming and water safety classes to folks who might not otherwise have access to them.

I guess it's easier for them to get a law passed and feel like they've done something and then move on.

Recently, the parents of a kid who killed at a local unmarked railroad crossing was on the news for pushing to get the railroad company to signal the crossing and said they would push for the construction of more crossings to save more lives.

I wondered why they weren't pushing to simply remind people to pass all crossings with caution.

 
At 6/23/2011 11:54 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Talk about the Nanny State, check this out.

A great quote from the video:

"The merit of an idea does not depend on the number of people who hold that idea."


Actually, as a generality, I tend to agree with that statement.

The problem arises when those who don't agree are forced to live as if they did hold that idea.

Hopefully those city counsel members are enjoying their last term in office. Based on the level of opposition seen in the video, I would say that they could easily be defeated by any candidate running on the single issue of repealing the lock box requirement.

 
At 6/23/2011 12:26 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

"75% of boating fatalities could have been prevented if the victim was wearing a lifejacket."

100% of boating fatalities could have been prevented if the victim wasn't on, in, or near a boat. How far do we intend to regulate people's choices?

 
At 6/23/2011 12:28 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I guess it's easier for them to get a law passed and feel like they've done something and then move on."

It's always easier to spend someone else's money. The force of government does that for them.

"Recently, the parents of a kid who killed at a local unmarked railroad crossing was on the news for pushing to get the railroad company to signal the crossing and said they would push for the construction of more crossings to save more lives.

I wondered why they weren't pushing to simply remind people to pass all crossings with caution.
"

Such warnings must not be effective, as evidenced by the fact that this accident occurred.

I suspect that blaming the railroad for inadequate crossing control is easier than admitting to carelessness.

 
At 6/23/2011 12:38 PM, Blogger Mike said...

My wife thinks I'm a horrible person (most of the time, but especially) when I say that we aren't letting the stupid people kill themselves anymore.

This is all about money, and I think that's why Benjamin believes state and local governments are repressive. The locals think they can save money on search and recovery to blow somewhere else....and make a few more bucks in fines....by putting ridiculous restrictions on people who should be free to make their own decissions.

Memorial signs with photos of fit people who have drowned in "this lake" would probably be more effective, but that would cost additional money.

 
At 6/23/2011 12:49 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Why wouldn't any parent spend some $30-$50 on a device that can save their most precious thing from dying?"

Well, I suspect that most parents would, but that's not the issue.

"And is it really that bad if the county requires it?"

That's the issue, and yes it is that bad. Who owns your body, you or the county? The idea that someone can determine for you what you must do to be safe is anathema to a free society.

 
At 6/23/2011 12:55 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Memorial signs with photos of fit people who have drowned in "this lake" would probably be more effective, but that would cost additional money."

But not as much as enforcing a flotation device ordinance.

 
At 6/23/2011 1:46 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

""Why wouldn't any parent spend some $30-$50 on a device that can save their most precious thing from dying?"

because they think their kids can swim? i could do a mile in open water at 8. my parents would have laughed at you for suggesting i needed water wings.

lots of things are that may be good ideas are still outside the purview of government.

you'd live longer of you ate more vegetables, drank less beer, and got an hour of cardio a day.

how would you feel about being required to to so and fined for failure to comply?

you'd be MUCH safer if you never, ever, rode in a car again. far more prople die in car wrecks than drowning.

shall we ban driving?

require 10mph speed limits on the highway?

5 point seat-belts, bolstered seats, neck braces, full face helmets and fire suits?

that would make you safer for sure. no racer takes the track without those things.

so why not require it?

people ought be left to determine for themselves what is safe enough. once you let this nanny state crap start, we all wind up having to wear helmets in the shower to stop slip and fall deaths.

 
At 6/23/2011 1:58 PM, Blogger Frank said...

..."Supporters said the new rule will save lives."

Well...sitting on the beach saves lives too so why not ban swimming and boating altogether...and riding bicycles...driving cars...etc etc etc

it never ends.

 
At 6/23/2011 2:10 PM, Blogger Ten Mile Island said...

An old stats professor of mine was to receive an award for his contribution to the field. He declined, even though several of his colleagues were going to the ceremony to receive similar commendations. The reason? The risk of falling prey to a random bomb on the plane, while slight, was too great for my prof to risk.

On the day of departure, his colleagues were surprised to find him, waiting on the tarmac, for the flight.

When asked what had changed his mind, he stated the while the probabilities of a single bomb on the flight were to him an unacceptably high risk, the probabilities of two bombs being on any flight were infinitesimal, pointing out that what appeared to be his luggage was in fact, his own bomb.

Living on the Oregon coast, I'm often invited to join other in deep-see fishing. I decline. My rule is, if you don't go out, you don't drown.

What this story fails to provide, is whether or not lifejackets have been mandated for use in public and private swimming pools and hot tubs. I would think that far more people come into contact through pools and spas than lakes, streams or rivers. But what do I know.

I guess I'd like to see Becker's take on this. What utility does one receive from entering a public lake or stream if that entrance in conditioned by the wearing of an uncomfortable safety device? And, are we capable of sorting out the values of utility and risk on our own, or must we rely upon councils and government agencies to impose appropriate ratios of benefit to risk for us?

No doubt this will save lives. Just as would outlawing automobiles, airplanes and war.
.

 
At 6/23/2011 2:22 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"But not as much as enforcing a flotation device ordinance."

absolutely correct, particularly if you add in the lost benefit of swimming without a flotation device.

but you leave out a key issue:

"costs whom?"

posters cost the county.

life vests cost you. tickets bring in revenue and let them keep park police on staff.

hell, for all we know the head of the board's spouse runs "county life vests inc".

 
At 6/23/2011 3:39 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Mike-

I don't think local governments are repressive, I know they are.

In my neighborhood there are occasional sidewalk vendors selling bar-b-ques. They are always stopped by the police.

You cannot practice free enterprise on public spaces in America, and sometimes not even in private spaces. Try opening up a liquor store or saloon. The regs and permits will drive you crazy. Try selling liquor cross state lines.

The federal government does a pretty good job of defending my right to free speech and my right to vote. Thanks to the federal government, if I want to marry a person from another race I can.

But un-uh, don't try to run a jitney, or cut hair, or sell cheap booze in your duded-up garage. A lot of low-barrier-to-entry businesses are strictly off-limits.

And the local government can zone your land like they want, or even seize it through eminent domain. Both are deeply corrupt practices.

All this ranting about the feds is worthy, but even more ranting about local governments should be forthcoming.

 
At 6/23/2011 6:48 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Benjamin,
I wouldn't go thanking the federal government for rights that we've agreed were endowed by our creator. I'm not an expert on the subject, but I do know that the 3rd branch of or government has upheld insane imminent domain decisions by locals....I'm sure they've upheld many, many repressive local laws...as they say, if you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
If it was legal for the feds to muddy the state waters any more, you can bet they'd do it. They continually attempt to distort the interstate commerce law.

 
At 6/23/2011 6:58 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Oh! And the story I read yesterday about the city of San Francisco attempting to ban the sale of goldfish, hamsters puppies and kittens makes mandatory lifejackets seem downright adorable.

First they came for my Happy Meal, and I didn't speak out because I prefer Quarter Pounders with cheese.
Then they came for my foreskin and I didn't speak out because I'm already circumcised....

 
At 6/23/2011 7:35 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Mike-

One sad fact: If ever you find industries in which you need state licenses to operate--such as insurance, law--you find less competition, more crony regulation etc.

One problem with health insurance is that we cannot have a few large private sector buyers of health services--the states forbid it.

Insurance, especially in states such as Florida and AZ, is very smelly.

There is always a state somewhere that wants to be the "flag of Liberia" state, and all the riff-raff congregate there.

I am not lionizing the federal government, and would like to cut federal outlays by 25 percent.

That said, my civil rights have been better protected at the federal level than by many states and nearly all localities.

 
At 6/23/2011 8:10 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Are you reading any of this, Ben, or am I just writing for fun?
The actual sad fact is, if it were legal for them, the feds would screw with your liberties as much (or more) than the locals. They CAN'T.


I would wager there have been too many lawsuits regarding insurance to count, that have been upheld or overturned by the 3rd branch, in favor of the system you're complaining about.

 
At 6/23/2011 9:49 PM, Blogger Cabodog said...

Read this and then say life vests shouldn't be mandatory.

http://www.ktvz.com/news/28340706/detail.html

 
At 6/24/2011 4:35 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"hell, for all we know the head of the board's spouse runs "county life vests inc"."

I'm almost certain of it, now that you mention it.

 
At 6/24/2011 4:49 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Read this and then say life vests shouldn't be mandatory."

There's nothing in that story to indicate that mandatory life vests saved any lives.

 
At 6/24/2011 8:23 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

cabo-

so what?

your logic is totally flawed.

banning swimming and boating altogether would save even more lives. banning cars would save 1000 times that many.

shall we do that as well?

just because something may be a good idea does not justify the government forcing you to do it.

 
At 6/25/2011 11:22 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The seat belt you were iwearing was fought tooth and nail by the auto industry and probably would not have been there to wear, had it not been mandated.

 
At 6/26/2011 1:45 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The seat belt you were iwearing was fought tooth and nail by the auto industry and probably would not have been there to wear, had it not been mandated."

What you may be missing, is the fact that the auto industry embraced the idea of mandatory seat belts, as then, every car would have them, and the price would be included in the price of the car. As an option, they were losers, as buyers were reluctant to pay the price for the belts.

Nanny Staters, undaunted by lack of public support, decided as they usually do, that they nonetheless knew what was best for all of us, so seat belts are now mandatory.

You should be aware that businesses often welcome government regulations, either because the cost of such regulations are automatically added to the price of a product or service, or the regulation favors some businesses at the expense of their competitors, especially new startups in the field.

 
At 6/26/2011 4:50 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> Leave me alone, please.

And THIS is why they do it.

The appropriate response is something more along the lines of:

===================================
GET THE #$%$%^%$^%$ F*** OUT OF MY LIFE YOU #$%&^#%$&%^$&^% SON OF A BITCH C-SUCKING @^%&%#&^#%$&#%$& F*** WADS!!!
===================================

a) politeness and subtlety are lost on government busybodies.
b) Cabodog, may I suggest you actually pay attention to the COUNT involved? From Here:
"Fourteen recreational boating fatalities occurred statewide in calendar year 2009 compared to 15
in calendar year 2008. Of the 14 fatalities, five involved non-motorized vessels and nine
involved motorized vessels. Idaho has had 307 boating fatalities since 1975, which is an
average of 8.77 fatalities per year."

So, over the last 35 years, the argument is this kind of micromanagement would save all of SIX lives each year.

You know, if you slowed all vehicular traffic down to drive at only 15 miles per hour, you could save A LOT more than six lives.

SIS FREAKING LIVES is simply not worth the kind of #$%^@$%^$^ micromanagement being invoked here.

I repeat myself:
===================================
GET THE #$%$%^%$^%$ F*** OUT OF MY LIFE YOU #$%&^#%$&%^$&^% SON OF A BITCH C-SUCKING @^%&%#&^#%$&#%$& F*** WADS!!!
===================================

You need to get in their damned faces and get them to realize that Americans DON'T put up with crap like this.

>>> Benjamin: States rights and local control sound nice. Fact is, local governments are very repressive.
Indeed, but that's where voting with your feet comes from. You can't escape federal mandates, you can hopefully find somewhere on the local levels that the @$%^%$#^ nannies aren't in charge of.

 
At 6/26/2011 5:00 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>> Why wouldn't any parent spend some $30-$50 on a device that can save their most precious thing from dying? And is it really that bad if the county requires it..as long as it is more of a guide to help save lives instead of harassing people legally?


YES it IS you STUPID F*** WAD.

Yeah, I'm being obnoxious AND rude -- because people like you can't grasp the damned problem is IT'S NONE OF YOUR $%^$%^%$ BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

If a parent CHOOSES to protect their kids in this regard, that's UP TO THEM.

It's none of your damned nanny-state's business to regulate every frigging damned aspect of someone's life to match some asinine level of "safety" that straight jackets everyone into some narrow range of behaviors that YOU and those LIKE YOU deem "acceptably safe".

If I want to jump out of a @#$$#% plane with a big silk handkerchief attached to my back, IT'S MY LIFE TO RISK, not YOURS.

FOAD.

*Seriously*.

Emphasis on the "D".

As an old song put it, "You can't even run your OWN life, I'll be DAMNED if you'll run MINE."

Got that, ASSHOLE?

 
At 6/26/2011 5:11 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>> I guess it's easier for them to get a law passed and feel like they've done something and then move on.

Wait, who the f*** are you and what have you done with our Seth?

Indeed, that IS a huge chunk of the problem, along with the fact that such organizations never, ever disband when the job is actually done.

MADD is a prime example. Attempting to bring awareness of, and spotlighting issues with, drunk driving is one thing, and one would not argue it was a bad idea -- but... having accomplished that, they decided that they wanted to lower the alcohol limits, and then that there WAS no acceptable lower bound short of zero, until you're now at the level where too much cough syrup threatens to turn people into "drunk drivers".

Sorry, the whole idea itself is specious. I don't generally drink, so I get thoroughly buzzed off a fraction of the blood alcohol level that a regular drinker can handle without any measurable effect. So the same blood levels that would clearly negatively affect me would do nothing whatsoever to a person who drinks regularly.

The law should reflect a rational middle ground, with expectations that a person also make a responsible choice (with severe consequences for NOT making a responsible choice).

What laws should NOT do is push for the extremes of human behavior.

Such laws undermine all respect for the law, because people start to laugh at it because it's so ridiculously out of touch with reality.

And the more laws you have like that, the less overall respect for the law people have as a whole.

.

 
At 6/26/2011 7:49 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The seat belt you were iwearing was fought tooth and nail by the auto industry and probably would not have been there to wear, had it not been mandated.

That is not true. If consumers wanted seat belts some manufacturer would have provided them.

 
At 6/26/2011 7:52 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Why wouldn't any parent spend some $30-$50 on a device that can save their most precious thing from dying?

Parents who could afford such a device and were concerned about safety would certainly buy one. Those that could not afford it would not let their kids swim in dangerous waters. I do not believe that there is a case to be made in which the government winds up caring more about my kids' safety than I do.

 
At 6/26/2011 8:00 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

VEETC stands for "Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit."

First, if I call a cat a dog it will not be a dog. Second, if you let the blenders cover the extra cost of adding ethanol to gasoline you are not subsidizing them but the ethanol producers. The blenders would rather have had the government not install the mandate so that they would not have to spend money to add ethanol in the first place.

I note that all you are doing is diverting attention from the real issues.

And, that bill did eliminate the Import Tariff, but it won't make any difference; American Corn Ethanol is, and has been for a long time, Selling on the World Market for less than Brazilian Cane Ethanol (w/o subsidies.)

Actually, Brazilian ethanol is much cheaper. Which is why the ethanol lobby works so hard to make sure that the tariff stays in place.

 
At 6/26/2011 2:45 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"GET THE #$%$%^%$^%$ F*** OUT OF MY LIFE YOU #$%&^#%$&%^$&^% SON OF A BITCH C-SUCKING @^%&%#&^#%$&#%$& F*** WADS!!!

I wish you wouldn't beat around the bush like that, just say what you REALLY mean.

 
At 6/26/2011 4:25 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>> I wish you wouldn't beat around the bush like that, just say what you REALLY mean.

Well you will note I censored it.

:^D

There are several types of dangerous people:

1) The ones who have a casual attitude and don't really care -- they just stand by and allow their rights to be overridden and slowly leached away

2) The type, like Bernie, who really just don't grasp why it's absolutely wrong from the start, who have to Get A Clue that, even if THEY don't mind it, there are those of us who are pretty much sick and tired of this nanny-state garbage and are fit to be tied at the attempts of people LIKE him to turn us all into good little "safety zombies".

3) Natural Bureaucrats, who ride on the coattails of the other two into positions of petty power where they can deal with their own little issues by stomping on the rights and opportunities of others. Cops, IRS/DEA agents, and the like are the worst sort of this, but all of them are at best unwitting evil -- and I don't use that last word casually. What they do IS evil for the most part, even if they "have good intentions".

All of them fail to remember what the paving material on the proverbial Road To Hell is made of.

 
At 6/27/2011 4:37 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>> Actually, Brazilian ethanol is much cheaper. Which is why the ethanol lobby works so hard to make sure that the tariff stays in place.

Dude, don't confuse the issue with blatantly verifiable facts. He's got fantasies to sell.

 

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