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Posts Tagged ‘personal responsibility’

I swear, I get infuriated at the stupidest things. But it’s the stupidity within those things that does it to me, and the insistence from others that we cater to the stupid.

Take, for instance, this article about city playgrounds. The playgrounds have black, rubber safety mats. It is summer. The black, rubber safety mats….wait for it………get hot.

Apparently some parents are in a tizzy because their children have burned their bare feet on these rubber mats.

Let’s think about that a moment. On a hot summer day, at a public city playground that is covered with black rubber….well, you know where I’m going with this. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the mats will be hot. Nor does it take a genius to move from that idea to the one that perhaps little children should not be running on those mats with their bare feet. Really, who lets their kids run barefoot at a public playground anyhow? Rocks, sticks, glass, bird poop, splinters – there are a lot of reasons, including getting really dirty feet – for not letting your kids take their shoes off before they play.

But, you know how that goes. Not all parents think ahead like that. So they let the kids run around in bare feet and the next thing you know, little Suzy is screaming that her feet are burning. So what does Suzy’s mommy do? She puts a little ice on Suzy’s feet, then tells her to put her shoes on and go play.

Just kidding. She sues the city, of course. And Suzy’s mom is empowered by people like Geoffrey Croft, the founder of the NYC Park Advocates, a parks watchdog group, who says, “Playgrounds should be designed with canopies. The city should be pressuring the manufacturers to come up with a solution.”

Canopies? Seriously?

Pretty soon children will be playing on a pillow covered surface and the swings will only move five inches either way and the slides will only be two feet high and swathed in protective cloth and every other piece of equipment will be made so that no child will ever, ever get a cut, scrape or bruise and everything will be designed in order to best serve parents who have no clue how to protect their children from things like a hot surface because, you know, the sun has only been around since time began and you can’t blame them for never learning something so simple as DO NOT GO BAREFOOT ON HOT SURFACES.

Signs warning against bare feet on the playground are not sufficient to ensure children’s safety. The city needs to do more to protect children, and in the interim, ensure the signs are actually helpful in warning and informing parents of small children about these dangers.


But Geoffrey doesn’t think signs are enough
.

“It is unconscionable that the city continues to install products in playgrounds that hurt the most vulnerable park users – small children…How many more have to get hurt until someone is held accountable?”

The News requested recent statistics on the number of burns at the 1,000 city playgrounds, but Parks Department spokeswoman Jama Adams said there were “no incidents reported.”

As soon as someone says “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN??” I just know they are using some isolated incident to go off on a lawsuit-threatening frenzy. There’s already a sign, Geoffrey. A sign telling parents what they should already know: The black safety surface of the playground may get HOT. I know. Maybe make a bigger, bolder, more succinct sign?

IF YOU LET YOUR BAREFOOT CHILD RUN ON THE BLACK, RUBBER MATS IN THE HOT SUN AND THEN BLAME THE CITY FOR YOUR KID’S BLISTERS, YOU ARE A MORON WHO SHOULD NOT BE BREEDING. PLEASE STOP HAVING CHILDREN. YOU ARE ENDANGERING THE FUTURE OF OUR SOCIETY BY SPREADING YOUR GENES. NOW GO PUT SOME SHOES ON YOUR KID, YOU ENTITLED JACKASS.

Listen, even if little Timmy took his shoes off without you noticing and stepped on the mat, that’s one kid. One kid getting his feet burned, while sad and all, is not enough to rip out all of the playground of New York City and redesign them and put some other safety feature in. Why? Because this is preventable. With a little common sense and by keeping a watchful eye on your kid, the burned feet of your little snowflake is preventable.

If this seems like a silly thing to get angry about, just know that it’s not ONE thing. It’s the way people in this country think it’s the government’s responsibility to keep them and their children safe. We are going to come to a point where no one has to think for themselves anymore about safety or even use common sense. We will be a nation of safety signs, thanks to more and more bills being dreamed up by politicians who think we are not capable of making our own decisions regarding our health, safety, lifestyle and parenting. And there are millions of people who go along with this, who are so used to being told “REMOVE POP TARTS FROM FOIL WRAPPER BEFORE TOASTING” that they can’t function on a day to day basis without explicit instructions. And when they do forget to unwrap their Pop Tarts, they will still blame the manufacturers for not making the instructions clear enough.

No one wants to admit their own stupidity – “Oh, that was MY fault. I didn’t realize that the paper could burn in the toaster!” No one wants to admit they made a stupid decision – “Well, I realize there was a sign saying kids need to leave their shoes on but I didn’t think they really meant it!” Or bad parenting choice – “I know these pocket bikes aren’t meant to be driven on regular roads but little Johnny was only going around the block a few times….” So instead of owning up to their mistakes, learning from them and moving on, they blame someone else, hire a lawyer and expect the world to change to accommodate their idiocy. And the politicians swarm like flies, immediately moving to make a law that will will further idiot proof the nation and make personal responsibility an endangered thing.

Hell, I think it’s too late. Personal responsibility might already be extinct. We are now blameless. Next time you make a mistake, just claim there was no sign telling you NOT to what you did. Before you know it, you’ll be handed a check and a law in your name.

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