It’s the Memorial Day long weekend here in the US, a time when people get together with family and friends to visit and recreate. French Park, a regional park on the north side of Medicine Lake was full of folks today. Most were gathered in clusters around a set of picnic tables, grills cooking, and people chatting. The beach had some activity, as did the volleyball pit. Forty years ago, you may have seen people throwing lawn darts- metal darts with a pointed tip and aerodynamic fins. But they’ve long been banned in the US (Still legal in Europe).
In April 1987, seven-year-old Michelle Snow was killed by a lawn dart thrown by one of her brothers’ playmates in the backyard of their home in Riverside, California, when the dart penetrated her skull and caused massive brain trauma. The darts had been purchased as part of a set of several different lawn games and were stored in the garage, never having been played before the incident occurred. Snow’s father David began to advocate for a ban on lawn darts, claiming that there was no way to keep children from accessing lawn darts short of a full ban, and, partly as a result of Snow’s lobbying, on December 19, 1988, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission introduced an outright ban on lawn darts in the U.S. In the previous eight years, 6,100 Americans had visited hospital emergency rooms as the result of lawn-dart accidents. Of that total, 81% were 15 or younger, and half were 10 or younger. During the week when the commission voted to ban the product, an 11-year-old girl in Tennessee was hit by a lawn dart and fell into a coma.Wiki
Not to diminish the tragedy of a child’s death but forever labeling an artifact a weapon following one incidence of loss of life is surely government overreach. And then to add this numerical representation of 6100 hospital visits over 8 years without any reference points is so weak. According to the CDC, there were 130 million emergency room visits in 2018. So– 6100 divided by 8 taken as a fraction of 130,000,000— or basically an extremely trivial amount.
The lack of bracketing of relative impact on health and safety issues is mind-boggling. It takes one tragedy and a loud voice to create a law which forever bans an object. Meanwhile, knives kill people, hammers go bang upon the head, and if Hart to Hart is to be trusted as a reliable source, a marble paperweight or carved bookend can do just fine as well.
Sometimes it feels like people need answers- Why did the parents not give proper instruction to the children? How could the friends have been so careless? Why do innocent children sometimes die expectantly? People want to take action so as to make these questions go away. They demand something be done.
Common sense says that sometimes these are not questions for government and legislators. These are questions to be discuss within the religious community of your choice.