November 27, 2000
It's time for a sanity check
When my eyes fell across the front page article of the November 20th Valley View titled "Carnation Passes Weapons Ordinance," my first thought was of California, and how like it Washington is becoming. I was almost afraid to read it.
If I have followed this unfolding story correctly, a parent of a Carnation teenager came home one day to find that his son had purchased a crossbow at a local store. Never minding that his son didn't hurt anyone with it ‹ he decided such a thing was wrong, and pled his case to the receptive ears of the Carnation council.
The Council, in their wisdom, must have collectively pooled their phobias and decided there was a host of several other scary looking things they would like control over. Having created this list, they passed an ordinance that no one under the age of 18 should be able to purchase them. Amazingly, slingshots and BB guns made their knee-jerk list. They went even farther. They added provisions for the use, possession, concealing, sales, and manufacture of several items, including slingshots.
Okay, all you evil little boys that make slingshots out of old inner tubes ‹ your days are numbered ‹ you are doing time. Am I to believe that the Carnation Council considers a slingshot more dangerous than a 3,000 pound car capable of reaching speeds over 100 mph? Let's do a sanity check here. It is apparently okay for a 16-year-old to drive a car, but not okay for a 17-year-old to buy a slingshot or BB gun, or a pointed star that weighs a few ounces.
Are we to believe that these inert items are inherently evil, and transmit this evil into the holders' hands? What criteria did you use to establish this list? Was it just drawn from unpleasant personal experiences, or was it just that the items sounded and looked scary? What were you thinking?
I cannot believe the number of silly laws that get passed each year that continue to erode basic civil liberties.
A wise man, Benjamin Franklin, once said, "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety."
This is rural farm country, folks. It ain't California (yet). Kids play with slingshots and BB guns here in the valley. Those of you who find that scary should move back to the city. Mayor Schell will be happy to keep you safe there with special ordinances crafted just for you. The rest of us can get by without becoming hysterical.
Matt H. Travis, Fall City