Friday, August 22, 2008

The Stupidity of a Lawmaker

Nebraska has recently passed a law that allows parents to drop off "unwanted" children at local "safe havens", such as hospitals. Many states have such laws for newborns, but Nebraska's law includes all minors--up to age 19.

"All children deserve our protection," said Sen. Tom White, who helped broaden the measure. "If we save one child from being abused, it's well, well worth it."

I'm not for children's being abused, of course, but the lack of logic in that statement is astounding. I'm not for children's dying, either--but couldn't we agree that forbidding driving in the state of Nebraska would save at least one child's life? Should we ban driving? (And it would have the added benefit of cutting down on greenhouse emissions!)


nebraska girl said...

This is what happens when 80% of your lawmakers come from the two cities in the east. (The western HALF of the state has 8 of the 49 legislative districts) The Panhandle has tried more than once to talk Wyoming into annexing us.

KimJ said...

I may be a horrible person, but upon reading this my first thought was whether this was inspired by South Park's "42nd trimester" abortion.

neko said...

Ah, that wacky unicamoral system of ours. Maybe this is why the other 49 states don't use it.

Darren said...

Don't feel bad, neko. We have a full-time, 2-house legislature here in Sacramento. Stupid politicians are not a function of geography, and "interesting" laws are not limited to one-house legislatures.

Fritz J. said...

To quote what used to be a well know opossum, "We have met the enemy and he is us." As long as we continue to elect the people we do we can expect them to pass laws like that. I seem to recall a saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results as being the height of stupidity and so would say we receive the government we deserve.

Darren said...

Let me be clear. It's not the law I have a problem with, it's the idiocy that thinks anything can be justified "if it saves just one child".

Fritz J. said...

Darren, I would argue that law isn't any better than the reasoning given for passing it.

Obviously no one wishes to see children abused, but that law is too broad and completely removes all concept of responsibility from the parents. You get ticked off at your kid for whatever reason, simply get rid of him or her. Don't bother to try to work it out or find solutions to the problem, simply turn the child over to the state.

Then there is the problem of what kind of mess is there going to be if the parent gets remorse? I can almost guarantee that some over-reaching CPS worker will use that as a reason to terminate custody, and some equally meddlesome juvenile court judge will agree. Granted that the majority of CPS workers and judges will handle the matter responsibly, but one must never underestimate the damage a few idiots can do when backed by silly laws.

It may be that a law along those lines is needed to protect some children, but that law should be better targeted. By making it so broad I fear the unintended consequences and there are always unintended consequences with broad laws.

Anonymous said...

We spent 2 hard years trying to find help for our son who was a danger to himself and to others. When he was arrested, they said it was a mental health issue and released him. Mental health said it was a legal issue and released him. They all agreed we had to pick him up each time or WE would be jailed for abandonment. When he threatened our younger children, CPS told me to keep them safe or they would remove--you guessed it--the younger children.

We finally jumped through all the right hoops to get help for our son, and he is in a locked facility for his safety and ours. We hope the therapy will be beneficial, but there are so many questions still to be answered.

Would a law like this have helped us? I don't know. In the end, treatment for our son is a better option than allowing him to live on the street. Still, I wonder what happens to the families who run out of steam before help arrives.