SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco has become the first city in the nation to outlaw chewing tobacco from its playing fields, including AT&T Park, home to the San Francisco Giants.
Players and the manager of the team expressed support for the ordinance signed into law by Mayor Ed Lee on Friday but also concern about breaking the chewing habit.
The ordinance, which will take effect Jan. 1, prohibits the use of smokeless tobacco at athletic venues, specifically singling out baseball, which has a long history of players masticating and spitting tobacco juice in view of children who worship them.
Well, THERE’S the trouble – sports hero worship.
Of course, heaven forbid anyone consider changing sports adulation; not when millions of dollars are at stake…
San Diego police responding to a domestic disturbance call went to the wrong address, where one of them killed the homeowner’s service dog. Ian Anderson said that when he opened the door after the officers knocked, his dog came up behind him. One of the officers reached down to pet the dog. The other stepped back, drew his weapon and shot the dog.
It’s Cold Outside.
Officials with Ranson Middle School in Charlotte, N.C., have apologized after a teacher forced several students to return home on a cold day without their coats. The teacher took the coats because they did not match the school’s required colors and did not return them.
Don’t have too much fun. In fact, don’t have any fun. You could hurt yourself! That’s the thinking of all too many government entities these days—and it’s why local officials are increasingly likely to shut down the neighborhood sledding hill.
According to the Associated Press, sledding prohibitions are more and more common:
No one tracks how many cities have banned or limited sledding, but the list grows every year. One of the latest is in Dubuque, Iowa, where the City Council is moving ahead with a plan to ban sledding in all but two of its 50 parks.
“We have all kinds of parks that have hills on them,” said Marie Ware, Dubuque’s leisure services manager. “We can’t manage the risk at all of those places.”
In the bureaucrat’s defense, government is not solely responsible for all the fun-killing. When kids get hurt, their parents sue, and these liability concerns have made it too costly for local authorities to run the risk.
Shifting societal attitudes have played a role as well, according to the AP:
Most people realize that cities must restrict potentially dangerous activities to protect people and guard against costly lawsuits, said Kenneth Bond, a New York lawyer who represents local governments. In the past, people might have embraced a Wild West philosophy of individuals being solely responsible for their actions, but now they expect government to prevent dangers whenever possible.
“It’s a great idea on the frontier, but we don’t live on the frontier anymore,” Bond said.
It seems to me there is some comfortable room between the Wild West frontier of days past and the bubble-wrapped nanny state we live in now. Perhaps the government could protect our basic safety needs while still allowing for a bit of winter fun?
Pop-Tarts aren’t recommended as a source of nutrition, but in some parts of the U.S. they are a source of inspiration for legislators looking to change policies on guns and education.
A series of incidents have led defenders of the right to keep and bear arms to stand up for children who chew their breakfast pastries into the shape of a gun.
So-called Pop-Tart gun laws emerged in the U.S. in 2013, when a seven-year-old boy in Baltimore was suspended after he nibbled his snack (it wasn’t actually the Pop-Tart brand of toaster pastry) into the shape of a gun and apparently directed it at his classmates.
Joshua Welch was kicked out of school for two days, sparking a debate about gun rights and zero tolerance policies in schools. His second grade teacher said he was not suspended for chewing his breakfast into a gun, but for a pattern of disruptive behaviour. His parents fought to get the suspension scrubbed from his record and Joshua eventually changed schools.
The case prompted a Maryland state senator, J.B. Jennings, to introduce legislation aimed at ensuring no other child was disciplined for a Pop-Tart-type incident. The Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2013 sought to prohibit schools from suspending a student who had a picture of a gun or “any other object that resembles a gun but serves another purpose.”
Making a hand gesture resembling a gun doesn’t deserve a suspension either, according to the bill.
The bill noted that after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 children and six adults were killed in late 2012, there was a heightened concern about guns and schools.
But Jennings said some school officials had exercised questionable judgment and overreacted to incidents like the toaster pastry case.
“If we wait too long, this type of reaction will become the standard response by school administrators only serving to perpetuate fear amongst our young students, not to mention putting marks on permanent academic records that are neither appropriate nor warranted,” he said on his website at the time.
The proposed legislation referenced other students besides Joshua who had gotten in trouble. A five-year-old girl in Pennsylvania was suspended from kindergarten for telling her classmate she would use her Hello Kitty bubble gun on her and on herself.
She was examined by a psychologist to ensure she wasn’t a danger to anyone and then her suspension was reduced from 10 days to two.
Another example was a high school student in Arizona suspended for making the desktop background on his school laptop a picture of an AK-47.
The breakfast pastry-inspired bill in Maryland died at the committee stage, and a similar one in Oklahoma also stalled last year. But Oklahoma Senator Sally Kerns reintroduced the bill this week.
Supporters, though, say legislation is needed because schools are going too far with their zero tolerance policies and are imposing excessive punishments for behaviour that shouldn’t even be punishable in the first place.
Florida is the one state that has successfully passed a so-called Pop-Tart gun bill. Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law last June.
It allows students to wear clothing that depicts a gun, to use a writing utensil or their hands to simulate a gun, to draw a picture of a gun, to make a gun out of plastic building blocks, to have a toy gun if it’s less than five centimetres in length, and to brandish “a partially consumed pastry or other food item to simulate a firearm.”
Now Texas could be the next state to pass a Pop-Tart gun law. Representative Ryan Guillen is championing the cause and introduced a bill last month.
This law would be unnecessary if school boards and schools today were sane, and cared more about actual education, rather than indoctrination.
And in any event, even if such legislation passes, parents are still better off homeschooling / church schooling / private schooling their kids.
Not a case of new tyrannies, but old ones; a reminder that the tyrannical impulse has always been around… In the Land of the Free, there have always been people minding other people’s business instead of their own…
Growing up in New England, I got used to seeing the supermarket beer aisle shrouded in white plastic every Sunday, lest the alcohol tempt us at a sacred time (thanks Puritans!). The region certainly has some pretty restrictive alcohol laws, but they’re hardly the oddest. For that, let’s take a tour around the country to learn about Zion curtains and drunken horseback riding.