Why does it seem like I’m not allowed to manage my own decision-making? I understand that our leaders feel the need to make daily life as safe as possible, but not at the cost of our personal freedom. (Note: This is not a commentary on Left vs. Right, Liberal vs. Conservative, or Democrat vs. Republican. I believe these issues are apparent no matter who is in charge.)
Ben Franklin has been quoted as saying, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Yes, I know he was referring to the Revolutionary War, but I think as a nation we have moved to the exact opposite end of the spectrum. It seems that now we want others to control our actions so that we aren’t put in danger.
Here is a great example. Many of our fans cross Truxtun Avenue on their way in to see Condors games. There is a rather large median that separates the westbound traffic from the eastbound, which makes crossing the street extremely easy to do. But wait! There is not a crosswalk painted there, so despite the fact that, even according to Caltrans, it is legal to cross in that situation, (Thanks for the research, Kevin Bartl!) there is now a sign up that forbids it. All because the average civilian isn’t trusted to have a brain be able to look at the oncoming traffic and decide if sufficient time exists to cross the street.
There is a stop sign I encounter on the way home from work that I find to be absurdly annoying. It is at the “corner” of Knudsen Dr. and Hageman Rd. It isn’t at an intersection, there isn’t a crosswalk, and there is no situation in which one direction of traffic would ever cross another one. The road simply turns right. There is no option to go straight or left. The road hooks to the right, but for some reason I need to come to a complete stop (and also sit in traffic, for up to 5 minutes) before continuing on my way. Interestingly enough, when going the other direction there is no stop sign, so at least they got it halfway correct.
The final part of today’s rant involves fireworks. Why are there so many laws on what types of fireworks are legal? I understand that sometimes, this can happen, especially when you play with fireworks that say, “If found, please report to the U.S. government.” But standard mortar style fireworks are not dangerous as long as they are used correctly and purchased from a reliable source. I found out yesterday that even sparkler fireworks are illegal in California because they fall into the category of “handheld fireworks”. The worst thing that is going to happen from playing with those is some burns. And as long as parents are doing their jobs correctly, no child so young that they need to be supervised while playing with a sparkler should ever get their hands on one without a parent around.
I also find it funny that there are so many regulations on how to celebrate the day in which we successfully revolted. I guess it only makes sense that one good way to celebrate rebellion is by rebelling, so I can’t imagine that firework laws do much to prevent people from using the fireworks.
As I stated before, this is not a commentary on the shortcomings of the current administration, or a statement of Right vs. Left, Liberal vs. Conservative. It is simply a statement of my opinion that civilians are being trusted with less and less decision-making ability, and at one time we fought to free our country from such constraints. I’d like to see responsibility return to the citizens. Maybe we can start by being allowed to cross the road?
Bob Mills is the Broadcasting and Media Relations Manager for the Condors, and part of the Broadcast team. He just completed his first season with the Condors. His blog will be posted every Thursday on bakersfieldcondors.com.
Follow Bob’s Twitter: @Mills_Bob