The World’s Five Best Toys (that aren’t on the government’s “safe” list)Sunday, February 13, 2011
From Wired magazine: A stick, box, string, cardboard tube, and dirt. A heroic article. I’d also add the most politically incorrect of all toys – plastic bags. And maybe even rocks and pillows, along with a special nod to blister packaging.
There were the days when imagination and jocularity trumped senseless and overbearing child safeguards from the irrational safety nazi crowd. I love this particular photo: “the war of cardboard tubes.” We hammered one another, as kids, with cardboard tubes, fully knowing that head shots were more comical than harmful. I also delighted in running around the house, sneaking up on my parents, and “tubing” a little utterance in their ears. Aggravating for them, a joy for me. Note that the stick has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Horrors – the stick even has a sharp point on it!
Nowadays, every item, toy, word, gaze, thought, activity, and action poses a potential threat to some child somewhere, so it must be banned. My favorite free-range Mom, Lenore Skenazy, has noted that even trees are considered a threat to children.
For almost a half-century, kids at the farm-based Moorestown Children’s School in New Jersey have spent a lot of their time stomping in the mud, running through the meadow and visiting the barn, blissfully oblivious to the danger in their midst.
Oh, the child care inspectors don’t use that term. They call it “overgrown vegetation” — the tree branches that dip down to the ground, weeping willow-style. These must be chopped off — every last branch, until inspectors can see 7 feet of bare trunk on every tree — or the school will be cited for safety violations.
Ahh, yes – dangerous. No child should be left alone with a low-hanging tree branch. Lenore notes that the school once had a stream, but that was fenced off for “safety” reasons. There were also special-cut sitting logs that the kids could move around for their convenience and fun, but since they weren’t permanently affixed to the ground over a “safety surface,” they were “illegal” and had to be taken away. The kids at the school can no longer run around in their bare stockings – shoes are required. I wonder when the time will come where I will be arrested for running barefoot in my local (county-owned) Metropark?
Lenore also pointed out that sledding hills are closing due to …. a lack of a 100% safety guarantee. Someone might get hurt, so the throng of control freaks and government safety advocates decide to protect us from ourselves. It’s just too “dangerous” to go sledding anymore.
Summer Infant baby video monitors are killing machines, too. Since a couple of incidents have led to baby deaths – from people hanging cords in the cradle – the devices have been recalled. Electronic devices do have cords, and the idea is to not hang these cords in baby’s way. But in the minds of public protection force, the device itself is responsible for the deaths. But certain types of cribs can also be dangerous, too, leading to their recent recall. And the US government has already banned the manufacture and sale of all dropside cribs in this country. Additionally, a child was recently suspended from school for taking a nerf gun to school in his backpack to use at recess time. And to think my friends in who are in their 60s took a shotgun to class by way of the school bus.
Christopher Orlet writes, in the American Spectator,
This mania seems but a logical outgrowth of a Nanny State that since FDR’s regime has been busily sucking the last dram of independence and self-reliance from the American character. Children, especially, are being adversely affected by such pambying. Every time we let the Nanny in we give mothers and fathers another excuse to hand over their responsibilities, allowing some cold, inept, and malcontented agency marm to see after the welfare of our kids. Of course, it’s not just our children the Nanny is looking out for. She’s also got her dark eye focused on the ignorant and weak. She will go to any extreme to stave off the cold forces of natural selection, to keep the sickening herd from thinning out one iota.
This is a nation of panic-stricken, controlling, bored, cretinous busybodies whose sole purpose is to have a voice in all matters and retain control over everyone else who might run into a sharp corner, swallow a part of a small toy, aim a nerf gun at a defenseless child, fall off a bike, poke their eye on a tree branch, or shiver in the cold. As Dale Franks wrote in 1997, “Somewhere in the past thirty or forty years, we seem to have gotten it into our heads that we have the duty to round off all of life’s sharp corners.”
Which brings me to this thought: have you ever went swimming in a public pool with others, trying to have a little fun, and every single thing you do gets you a frantically-blowing whistle from one of the 19-year-old lifeguards telling you that you have committed a safety violation?