By Rachel Birdsell
For those of you unfamiliar with the Darwin Awards, they’re bestowed posthumously to those who have died in spectacularly stupid ways. Unfortunately, we are narrowing down the pool of contestants for the Darwin Awards and in doing so are increasing the population of stupid people. We’re doing this by taking away people’s personal responsibility. We don’t allow people to make certain decisions for themselves anymore, because we have laws in place that do the thinking for them. We’re becoming a society of brain-dead zombies, and please don’t interrupt our television viewing long enough to make us actually think about what decisions we should make.
The majority of states have seat belt laws. Yes, children who are unable to make informed decisions should be in a vehicle restraint, but adults should be able to decide if they want to wear a seatbelt. If they want to end up thrown through the windshield of their car, why should we stop them? The same thing goes with helmet laws. If someone wants their final moments to be captured in having what little brains they possess smeared across the highway, who are we to say “no?”
People argue that having people wear seatbelts and helmets saves time and money because emergency crews don’t have to be called out. However, in most accidents, the police and ambulance crew are called out regardless. In a severe accident, the person wearing the seatbelt usually has to be transported to the hospital and treated, whereas the person who doesn’t wear a seatbelt usually just has to be scraped off the road and toted away in the coroner’s van. What about the people who eat themselves into a diabetic coma or a heart attack and have to have an ambulance called to their house so the EMT’s can haul them from the couch to the hospital? Are we going to start making laws about what people can eat in their own home?
It’s not just laws that are in place to keep people from killing themselves via dimwittery; there are also warning labels on almost every product you buy. If you read some of them, you’ll see that they were written to keep boneheads from dying in embarrassing ways. Here are a few of the more asinine warnings:
- Washing Machine: Do not put any person in this washer
- Hair Dryer: Do not use in shower
- Chainsaw: Do not attempt to stop saw with hands
- Hose Nozzle: Do not spray into electrical outlet
- Bathroom Cleaner: Do not ingest
These warnings are placed on items because companies were sued, and not due to faulty products. They were sued because someone lacking even the slightest bit of common sense tried to stop a chainsaw with his hands and then blamed the company because there wasn’t a label on the saw that warned him against doing it. I say we stop all lawsuits against companies that are clearly not due to the fault of the company. Then we can take off all the warning labels and let the chips fall where they may.
Don’t think that I wish death on anyone, because I don’t. On the other hand, if someone wants to use a hair dryer in the shower or drink some toilet bowl cleaner, will it really hurt to clean up the gene pool a little bit?
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org