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Lawn Darts, Nannies and Trans Fats

LawndartBehold the lowly -- and quite illegal -- lawn dart.  Stigmatized as "dangerous" and banned from sale in North America in the late 1980s, the lawn dart deserves pride of place as an icon of the nanny society in which we are no longer allowed to make our own decisions.

Proponents of the ban claimed there had been 6,700 lawn dart injuries in the 11 years prior to the ban, with 3 deaths. This was enough to have them pulled from the shelves and for the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue an urgent advisory to parents that they should "destroy" all the lawn darts they could get their hands on.   This ban was put in place even though 1.5 million sets of lawn darts were being sold each year, attesting to the game's popularity.

And this ban was put in place even though the injuries and deaths caused by lawn darts were tiny, especially when compared with other recreational items.  For example, 400 children are killed in bicycle accidents each year, and another 400,000 end up in hospital emergency rooms; and yet kid's bicycles remain on sale.  As do normal darts -- those with the very sharp points, found in every rec room in America -- and BB and pellet guns, toy weapons, slingshots, and sling-propelled toys which, together, caused almost 2,000 serious eye injuries in 2001 alone.

Clearly the banning of lawn darts has nothing whatsoever to do with safety;  if it did, all these other items would be long gone, too.   No, it has more to do with government and bureaucrats reacting to noisy pressure groups who want to rid us of our rights to personal responsibility. I am reminded of this sorry history of nannyism by the present loud chatter from the liberal classes calling for the banning of certain foods and food ingredients.  For example, the leader of the New Democratic Party, Jack Layton -- Canada's Nanny-in-Chief -- has introduced a bill that will first reduce and then eliminate trans fats from Canada's diet. What the heck is wrong with telling people transfats might be dangerous and then letting them make their own choices?  Isn't this what we do with cigarettes, booze, non-illegal drugs and Big Macs?  Why should trans fats be any different?

I guess my real complaint -- both with regard to lawn darts and trans fats -- is the hypocrisy involved in the operations of the Nanny State.  Why ban one potentially dangerous product but not another?  Why allow the smoking of nicotine, but not of cannabis?   Why is it OK to gargle with Jack Daniels but not to eat a bag of chips?

Obviously we cannot ban everything that is slightly dangerous (think cars, think guns, think bleach), so why ban anything at all?   Evolution teaches us that those who refuse to take common-sense precautions won't reproduce in the numbers that common-sense folks will.  I say, scrap the prohibitions and let nature take its course.

December 1, 2004 in Anarchism, Capitalism, Government Intrusion | Permalink

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Comments

Yes!! W00T!! (Cheering until hoarse) :-p

I swear (on Dave Barry's toaster) I am not making this up...

Actual editorial headline from our local paper: "Crack down on jaywalkers for their own good"

Posted by: decrepitoldfool | Dec 1, 2004 3:07:54 PM

Let me first say that I was one of the kids "injured" by a lawn dart in the U.S. My cousin, not thinking perhaps [or possibly trying to do away with me], tossed one in my general direction and hit me square on the head. Still have the scar. Oddly enough, I don't think she ever landed one inside the scoring circle. Hmmm...

Anyway, my point. I commented to some length a while back on a post about MADD and drunk driving. I'm curious to see how some of the same people respond to this topic, for I see quite a correlation b/w the pre-emptive ban of "dangerous" toys and the pre-emptive criminalization of those who have yet to harm anyone through their "violent crime" of drunk driving. If folks adopt a "libertarian" p.o.v. in regard to "dangerous" toys like lawn darts, then I can't help but think them hypocrites for damning everyone who gets behind the wheel after having a drink or two...

Posted by: Hugh | Dec 4, 2004 1:18:34 PM

Bring back the lawn darts. I have some targets in mind.

Posted by: Norm Jenson | Dec 4, 2004 6:53:37 PM

I just found some old vintage Lawn Darts tucked nicely away from the prying eyes of nanny society, that is all the way in the back on the top shelf of my closet. I think I'll go play with them in the front yard, maybe ask some kids to join, while enjoying a nice giant bag of trans-fat ladden chips. I'll probably drink my self to a stupor too but appearently no one minds that. ;-)

Posted by: dbohnsai | Dec 17, 2004 11:42:07 AM

If you idiots get hit by a lawn dart then you are simply that!

Posted by: Jack | Apr 3, 2006 1:52:49 PM

How can I buy lawn darts?

Posted by: Diana | Dec 14, 2006 11:22:48 AM

Yard sales are the only place I've seen them in years.

Posted by: Jak | Dec 14, 2006 1:00:08 PM

Honesty, integrity and a persuasive mentality are the most important qualities of an elected official

Posted by: lena | Oct 10, 2007 8:06:19 PM

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ACCOMMODATION:

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