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  • Karrie E. Alms: Amazing insight into the world of politics awaits any reader at pibgorn … from a Demon’s...
  • Tony: Homefield is Dynegy. Dynegy is Ameren. There Charging You twice for the same energy. Do you really thihk $.04...
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  • Eric Pollitt: I flew economy class to Hong Kong for Christmas vacation, which is a 14 hour flight. When I got back...
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  • mortified: Fun while it lasted. Godspeed!
  • aaron: your blogging will be missed but i know that your spirit of fairness will remain alive in your other...
  • Jon: CJ, your blog was a revelation and an inspiration. You have a wonderful talent that is an asset to the...
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  • Paul Wilkinson: CJ, am sorry you have ended your blog. It was well done. It seems many have given up as we keep...
  • Sharon Crews: Your voice is definitely needed in this community. Thanks for all your insights.
  • emergepeoria: Your blog is great resource to research Peoria issues. I hope you leave it up.
  • BucketHead: I was not suggesting that, I believe the both of you had very strong common sense and that lead to your...
  • C. J. Summers: Without anonymity, there is no courage among my detractors. Take a look back at the wide variety of...
  • Of course the Chronicle is done: Without Sandberg to give stores to the Chronicle there is no Chronicle.

Question of the Day: Should there be a law against running with scissors?

I think we would all agree that one shouldn’t run with scissors. It’s dangerous. You could trip and fall and impale yourself, or put out your eye. Worse, the scissors could fly out of your hands accidentally and injure another person. Anyone who runs with scissors does a very foolish thing. That’s a given.

The question is not, “Should one not run with the scissors?” The question is, “Should there be a law against running with scissors?” In other words, should the government make it a crime to run with scissors? Should a bill be introduced in the state or federal legislature making it illegal to run with scissors? Should anyone caught running with scissors in a public place be fined, or perhaps jailed?

Why or why not?

28 comments to Question of the Day: Should there be a law against running with scissors?

  • Sharron Crews

    I assume that such an absurd law has been suggested. I doubt that District 150 has even considered running with scissors as a cause for suspension much less for jail time. :) Oh, but, of course, students while at school can do almost anything without risking arrest. School is often a “free” zone for dangerous behaviors.

  • mortified

    AMEN!

  • Hair Stylist

    What if my salon caught on fire and I had to run out in the middle of a hair cut…could I be JAILED? Maybe it would be better if I just stole THOUSANDS of dollars from a school district, I am sure the penalty would not be nearly as strict…any thoughts?

  • Sharron Crews

    I am sure C.J. finds it amazing how quickly some of us can turn any post into a District 150 topic. :)

  • Hair Stylist

    hehe!

  • It wouldn’t surprise me if someone in the legislature did propose such a law, after reading this: Proposed seat belt law may be hard to enforce.

    I think the nannies in the state house will never be satisfied until we’re all buckled in like NASCAR drivers and wearing helmets.

  • mortified

    Maybe 150 will make a new curriculum out of it…running with scissors/math/science/cooking vocational classes…maybe parents will get credit for the course through the Parent University.

  • mortified

    CJ- I wonder if they buckled the shrimp up before they put it on the treadmill.

  • Perhaps D150 will appoint an incompentent principal to direct the curriculum of the scissors law.

  • Don’t know about District 150, but I do know the government has been trying to protect us from ourselves for a long time. And of course, it is for your own good. Smoking, riding a motorcycle without a helmet, using any sort of drug (legal or otherwise)….these things are bad for you and thus should be illegal….wait, I think I have heard that line is a Sly Stallone movie….

    When this government gets out of the business of trying to control people instead of actually providing leadership and stability to the nation, we might actually have a government that fits the description of the one envisioned by the founders. And of course, that example can be taken to whatever level you wish. State, County, City, or even District 150. Rules of conduct are needed for the safety of others, but they should be enforceable at the level they are used, not blown into a lawsuit at every possible juncture, so that teachers, principles, and other custodians of youth might actually be able to do their jobs.

    Oh, damn, C.J…..there you go opening a can of worms again. Quick, someone get a bigger can!

  • Martin Palmer

    What’s next, law against stupid?

  • This is how our Legislators who by the way never cut their benefits, their paychecks, their perks, justify their jobs. What would happen if we closed down the State House, just kept open the offices needed to pay the State’s bills but just laid off all the elected officials for a year? Nothing other than saving millions. No idiot laws,no idiot proposals no mailed feel good newsletters from our Reps. I’ll bet they wouldn’t be missed and we would save tons of money.

  • Leslie Smith

    CJ, et al: I was sitting here this morning realizing how much I miss my dad and doing a bit of crying. Thank you for providing a really, really good laugh. I needed this!

  • Leslie Smith

    So would this be illegal in public or would be required to turn our neighbors for running with scissors in their own homes? Could you run with scissors if you were the only one around and, therefore, not a threat to anyone but yourself?

  • Hence the question: If you ran and fell on your scissors, and no one was around, would you make a noise?

  • pdw.

    Marty,
    I would greatly support a law against stupid. That would limit breeding, running for office, etc. for a signifant number of the population. That would end up be a tax savings….

  • Hair Stylist

    AND: if you are running with scissors, fell on them requiring hospital attention,should insurance have to pay for your stupidity?

  • cotswold9

    If a Supreme Court rules on a case that has scissor running authorized as a compelling government interest, it will be “the law of the land” in all 50 states. And as we all know, one of our contributors who is a steel trap in the logic department will lament the day that comment was made.

  • Max Power

    “If a Supreme Court rules on a case that has scissor running authorized as a compelling government interest, it will be “the law of the land” in all 50 states.”

    This is a gross misstatement of the law. The “compelling government interest” test is used to test the constitutionality of laws which infringe on fundamental liberties, such as freedom of speech. It’s not used to make laws up out of thin air but rather to review laws that are written by Congress.

    A law against running with scissors can be justified using the same rationale supporting the law against not wearing a seat belt: man without health insurance or savings runs with scissors, man falls on scissors, man is taken to the ER in critical condition, ER has a duty to stabilize without regard to ability to pay (as every hospital does), man walks out of hospital and never pays a cent, hospital passes cost along to everyone else, hence the legislature was acting to protect the common welfare. It’s not necessarily the man running with the scissors they are protecting, but rather everyone else.

    Of course the incident rate on this and other stupid death-defying acts isn’t high enough to justify the legislature addressing them all (That’s what makes it such a great red herring!), but is it a good idea in theory if people were doing this and ending up in the ER left and right? Yeah, sure.

  • I don’t think it’s a red herring.

    According to the CDC, “The total lifetime medical costs attributed to car crashes in a single year tops $11 billion in a single year.” That’s all car crashes, seat belts or not. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Expenditures in the United States on health care surpassed $2.3 trillion in 2008.” So let’s do a little math. Take our total health care expenditures ($2.3 trillion) for one year, and divide it by the total lifetime medical costs attributed to car crashes in a single year ($11 billion). What’s the quotient? 0.478%. That’s right — less than 1% of our medical costs are attributable to all car crashes. Obviously, the percentage will be even smaller if we single out costs related to car crashes where the driver or passengers were not wearing seat belts.

    I’m not saying there aren’t any social costs. I just don’t think they rise to the level of interfering with our personal liberty, just like Max Power doesn’t think the social costs of running with scissors has a high enough incident rate to justify passing a law against it.

  • There is a law, and it falls into the reckless endangerment definition of negligence. It doesn’t mention scissors specifically, but they are covered. (Imagine trying to explain the logic of running down crowded hallway with the pointed ends out and open) I don’t think the crime would be in stabbing oneself, but endangering others.

  • Max Power

    I’m saying it could be justified, and it’s rationally related to a legitimate government purpose (which is the hurdle all laws must pass under the Due Process clause). It would protect you from yourself, yes, but it also protects everyone else. At some point your freedom to act stupid interferes with my freedom to avoid the consequences of your acting stupid. Of course you can use this same rationale for a laundry list of societal ills, such as maybe a law against slouching in your chair to prevent back problems at a later age. There is a point where it’s not worth it, whether it be for the sake of individual liberty or the utility of enforcing or even passing the law.

    It doesn’t surprise me that car crashes are a small proportion of overall health costs. I suspect the vast majority of health costs is spent by the very elderly and others with chronic problems. But reducing $11 billion by requiring people to wear seatbelts is a goal worthy of the legislature’s time and worthy of enforcement in my opinion. If a man doesn’t have health insurance, the cost is passed to other patients. And if he does, the cost is passed in part to others in his insurance pool. If he’s among the small percentage who can afford to pay any medical costs out of pocket like say, Bill Gates, well, his idiocy is still wasting doctors’ time. If the social cost is substantial enough it needs to be addressed.

    “There is a law, and it falls into the reckless endangerment definition of negligence. It doesn’t mention scissors specifically, but they are covered. (Imagine trying to explain the logic of running down crowded hallway with the pointed ends out and open) I don’t think the crime would be in stabbing oneself, but endangering others.”

    Recklessness is an aggravated form of negligence. You can be negligent or reckless in tort, but if it doesn’t cause damages there is no case. It’s plausible that running at someone with scissors pointed toward them might cause emotional distress so you might have a case for that. And if a jury finds that running with the scissors endangered another person, then yes you have committed the crime of reckless conduct. But for the purposes of this hypothetical I think it’s best to assume there is nobody nearby.

  • CJ, I think your use of math is unfairly minimizing the problem. It is unclear how your $11 billion figure relates to the $2.4 trillion figure for estimated spending in 2008, which, btw, is projected to increase to $3.1 trillion by 2012 and $4.3 trillion in 2016. Also, that CDC site you refer to includes what is perhaps a more salient statistic for considering the need for a law, that auto accidents are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people ages 5 to 34. I fail to see the comparison between running with scissors and auto accidents. Obviously the state has reason to address a leading cause of death. Of course, seat belts are a drop in any of these buckets. Notably, full harnesses and helmets do not eliminate the risk, and in fact are often prohibited on public streets. Abstinence is the only sure method of safe driving, and even then you have to deal with the pollution.

    The American Public Health Association provided the following numbers** last year for the annual health costs of transportation in 2008 numbers: $142 billion for obesity, $50-80 billion for air pollution from traffic, and $180 billion for traffic crashes (including healthcare, lost wages, property damage, etc.). That’s several hundred billion dollars per year.

    ** http://www.apha.org/NR/rdonlyr.....tFinal.pdf

    As Max notes, the seat belt law is not even a close call when considering the question of whether a statute will pass constitutional muster. However, if the general public is incapable of considering the actual health costs of our dependence on the automobile, perhaps much more restrictive legislation should be considered to reduce the number of automobile trips taken in this country and the resulting damage.

    Garth-

  • Leslie Smith

    Garth – are you taking into consideration that health care cost will continue to rise as the population ages? As our parents, and ourselves, age we have more age-related health issues and therefore we cost more money.

  • Karrie E. Alms

    Max: And if a man doesn’t have any health insurance and has no health issues the cost is not passed to anyone.

    People may have ‘poor’ genetics, or have ‘accidents’ or or or or …. or just do not take care of themselves and add to the cost of everyone in the pool via their poor life choices. Not taking care of oneself by making better life choices adds billions to the cost of health care … aka me first others last = selfishness. Garth’s number for obesity at $142 billion is only one iceberg floating in the healthcare sea.

    The easy lifestyle and dependence on the automobile all contribute to the physical demise of America’s people and an economic strain on one’s pocketbook and community and and and .

    Potentially one more law randomly enforced ….

  • Max Power

    “Max: And if a man doesn’t have any health insurance and has no health issues the cost is not passed to anyone.

    People may have ‘poor’ genetics, or have ‘accidents’ or or or or …. or just do not take care of themselves and add to the cost of everyone in the pool via their poor life choices. Not taking care of oneself by making better life choices adds billions to the cost of health care … aka me first others last = selfishness. Garth’s number for obesity at $142 billion is only one iceberg floating in the healthcare sea.

    The easy lifestyle and dependence on the automobile all contribute to the physical demise of America’s people and an economic strain on one’s pocketbook and community and and and .

    Potentially one more law randomly enforced …”

    The uninsured man who runs with scissors creates an unreasonable risk for all of us, whether or not that risk manifests into serious injury.

    The legislature should only prohibit behavior which creates unreasonable risk, and mandate safe behavior which is easy to accomplish and cost-effective at reducing risk. There is nothing anyone (or the government) can do about being genetically predisposed to a condition, and accidents will always happen. It is difficult for the government to address poor eating and exercise habits, not to mention the fact that something like 40% of Americans are obese and will oppose any laws telling them to jump on a treadmill. But where diet can be efficiently and cost-effectively regulated, like with bans on trans fat which have proven harm and no health benefit, it should be.

    Not wearing a seatbelt creates an unreasonable risk. It takes half a second to put it on, so there is virtually no cost. Diet is more complicated, because the health benefits of certain foods is debatable. A ban on automobiles altogether would be ridiculous and grind our economy to a halt. JMO.

  • Sterling

    The problem with this argument regardingseat belts is that a lot of commenters here are confused regarding their rights.

    You don’t have the right to drive without a seat belt because you don’t have the right to drive. As has been discussed on this very blog before, driving is a privilege, not a right. That’s why you need a license to drive a vehicle on public roads. If you’re going to be using a public roadway, you have to follow the rules to do so, easy as that. You have the right (generally) to travel on a public thoroughfare — but not necessarily via automobile.

    If you think the road belongs to all of us because it’s taxpayer money so you can do what you want on it, try again. The vast majority (admittedly not all) of roadway funding comes from fuel taxes, meaning that drivers are the ones who pay for the roads, not taxpayers as a whole.

    If you’re thinking that seat belt laws interfere with your right to travel in a vehicle, then you’re only half right. Specifically the front half. Seat belts are not required for adult passengers in the back seat.

    Without a seat belt, there’s a good chance that you yourself become a flying projectile in an accident. I’m all for doing what you want in your car as long as you don’t become a danger to the traveling public, but as soon as you become a 200 lb of mass hurtling through the air outside of your vehicle, that becomes a public danger. If it sounds unlikely, tell that to the three teenagers who flew out of a very tragic wreck in suburban Chicago last weekend.

    If the government wants to trample on my right to, say, grill my carrots instead of steaming them, or post on a blog like this, or otherwise impede my right to do something that doesn’t affect anyone else’s health or well-being, well then, aux arms, mes amis, but in the mean time, if there’s a clear, compelling public safety issue at play, we should at least consider the regulations before getting in a huff about “rights” we may not actually have.

  • mike in nc

    I am afraid no one here gets it. I checked my scissors. There was no warning label regarding running with this dangerous object.
    Litigation will resolve this as it does all our national and personal problems.
    Thank G-d for trial attorneys and their 1-800 numbers!