Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Columns

April 8, 2014

The evidence is mounting: Idiocy is taking control of America

— — With her parents’ approval, 9-year-old Kamryn shaved her head in support of her friend, 11-year-old Delaney, who is battling neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, and recently started chemotherapy.

“It felt like the right thing to do,” Kamryn told the local TV station news reporter.

Officials at Caprock Academy in Grand Junction, Colo., however, told Kamryn she couldn’t come back to class without a wig or until her natural hair grew back because her shaved head violates the school’s dress code.

Wonder if they told Delaney the same thing?

• • •

Schools seem to have a magnetic attraction for idiotic rules:

Several schools have banned students who have applied for admission to colleges from sharing their good news with fellow students because doing so might hurt the feelings of other students.

Another school bans the use of hand sanitizer without written permission. Perhaps a doctor’s note should be required.

And other schools have banned playing tag on the playground at recess. You remember tag? Where kids chase each other around and touch them with their hand when they catch them, saying, “You’re it?” Too dangerous, principals say.

Josh, a second grader at Park Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., was suspended for two days because his teacher said he shaped a strawberry prebaked toaster pastry into something resembling a gun.

A similar fate befell Nathan, a 10-year-old student at Devonshire Alternative Elementary School in the Columbus, Ohio, school system. For his crime of making a gun out of his index finger and thumb, and saying, “boom,” Nathan was suspended for three days. Apparently no one saw or heard what Nathan did, except a teacher. At a meeting with the school principal, his father learned that if it happened again, the punishment could be a longer suspension, or perhaps permanent suspension.

Fortunately, the SWAT team was not called and no one was injured or died from these hideous crimes, and the criminals have been duly punished.

• • •

Did you know that in the land of the free warming your car on a cold day is illegal in some states? Ohio, Texas, West Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, Wisconsin, South Carolina and some cities in Minnesota forbid it.

In Ohio, if the public servants Ohioans pay to protect them from the criminal element find a resident trying to warm up their icy vehicle, they can be fined $150. In Texas it’s a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.

And in West Virginia, the fine for the first offense is $100, but if you are dumb enough to get caught trying to make your car comfortable a second time, the cost is $500.

The reason for these laws is to protect the drivers warming up their cars from their own stupidity, and also to protect others of weak will from becoming car thieves. Apparently, a running but unoccupied vehicle is just too great a temptation for some folks to resist, and these laws punish vehicle owners in order to discourage this selfish behavior, which forces otherwise law-abiding citizens to steal cars.

By that reasoning, banks, retail stores and other business should be fined for deliberately providing strong temptation for people to commit robberies.

• • •

From Listverse.com’s 10 Ridiculous Cases of Political Correctness:

“Xbox Live recently banned Josh Moore for violating its gamers’ code of conduct. His offense? Filling out his Xbox Live profile. You see, Mr. Moore lives in West Virginia. More specifically, in Fort Gay, West Virginia. As Microsoft says, the word ‘gay’ is always offensive. Never mind that several U.S. townships incorporate the word into their name, many people have ‘Gay’ as a first or last name, and some homosexuals do identify themselves as ‘gay.’ No, Microsoft obviously had a wise guy in their midst, and he had to go. So, despite a total lack of customer complaints, Microsoft froze Moore’s account and warned him that he could lose his prepaid subscription if he badgered Customer Service further. Fort Gay Mayor David Thompson tried to intervene, but was told that the city’s name didn’t matter; the word ‘gay’ was inappropriate in any context. As a result, Moore missed a Search and Destroy competition and his team lost. Microsoft has since carefully reviewed the matter and reinstated Moore with full Xbox Live privileges (translation: the story hit the web).”

• • •

The parents of players on the boys baseball team at a Michigan high school took the initiative to raise private money and do the work themselves to make improvements to the field on which their sons play. But the federal government, which really should have nothing to say about a high school baseball field in Michigan, has intervened, citing federal civil rights law, and noting that the boys facility is now much nicer than the girls softball field. The Department of Justice has threatened fines for Plymouth Canton Community Schools, so the school system will remove the new scoreboard and bleachers put in by the parents.

It would obviously be unfair to simply tell the girls’ parents to get busy and take care of their own improvements, like the boys’ parents did. Better yet, the feds should just keep quiet.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist.

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