Florida does not merely transcend satire. Florida takes satire out behind the bleachers and kicks the everloving shit out of it.
Cretekos said the idea behind the law was to give police the authority to stop a game on the beach or in a park that could possibly hurt someone else. He said he'd like to see the city narrow the law to more careless activities that could actually hurt someone.
But, see, the geniuses on the City Council didn't draft the law to restrict violent, dangerous games. It did this instead:
No person or persons shall engage in rough or potentially dangerous activity such as football, baseball, softball, horseshoes, tennis, volleyball, badminton, or any other organized activity involving thrown or otherwise propelled objects such as balls, stones, arrows, javelins, shuttlecocks, Frisbees, model aircraft or roller skates on any public bathing beach or park property except in areas set aside for that purpose.
Cretekos is now trying to change the law, and says he has been doing so for "months."
Now, to be fair to the Clearwater City Council, since they passed this law, badminton-related deaths have dropped dramatically. But still, it seems a little excessive. I find it difficult to imagine that a person of average intelligence reading this law would not realize that it sweeps up a vast amount of innocent, safe public activity that the government has no business regulating. This suggests one or more of the following conclusions: (1) The Clearwater City Council is made up of persons of less than average intelligence, (2) the members of the Clearwater City Council passed the bill without reading it, or at least without reading it carefully, or (3) the members of the Clearwater City Council have an officious and nannyish view of the role of the government in micro-managing public behavior of citizens.
The story here is not that a city council banned playing catch. The story here is that across the country, in every jurisdiction, from federal to village, the law is choked with stupid, poorly drafted, micro-managing laws pushed upon us by the sort of people who aspire to be "officials." This encrustation has consequences — it makes it vastly more expensive and inconvenient to do business or otherwise conduct oneself in compliance with the law, and it gives government agents vast discretion to make our lives miserable if they choose to enforce some obscure, strangely-drafted rule.
And yet this phenomenon gets little attention except when the law is funny, as in this case. Maybe all laws need automatic sunset dates. Or maybe towns like Clearwater, as well as Congress, need Patrick's "House of Repeal."
Hat tip to Chris.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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