Straining The Quality Of Mercy

We live in very odd times.  A conversation with a friend who has a Pit bull dog, yesterday, led to his saying casually of course he couldn’t have a pit bull in Denver.  I was aware of this, but had never given it any thought.  Mostly I come across it on Craigslist as people who MUST move to Denver are getting rid of their dogs so they can move.

And here we come to my experience with the dogs.  Like everyone else – though this happens mostly on TV it leaks to real life as well – I’ve seen pit bulls tied in front of houses I wouldn’t approach anyway – though the last time that happened was seven years ago when I got lost walking the kids back from middle school, so it might be a trend that’s passing away.

Yes, those pit bulls look like terrible dangers and generally scary.  But then the houses the dogs were tied in front of looked scary too, an indicative of the people who lived there.

Then there are the Pit bulls I still meet.  The office I rented at the end had only one other office rented, which means I didn’t feel very safe.  Perhaps the people in the front office didn’t either, because the owner brought in his Pit bull, who was a sweet, slobbery dog, very well behaved.  Other Pits I meet while walking or at stores, are exceptionally well behaved.

This is, of course, because they’re high dominance dogs, naturally.  And if you are a responsible owner who has a high dominance dog, you TRAIN that dog until it’s one of the best mannered creatures around and far safer in public than most humans.

Yes, of course if you are stupid and you get a Pit and raise it the way most people seem to raise their kids – by indulging their every whim and never setting limits or consequences, you’ll end up with a feral beast.  People who raise their kids that way do too – and yes, I know a lot of the left thinks the solution for this is to outlaw kids.  But people who raise their animals – or kids – that way would only be safe with stuffed dolls.

(Yes, I know Pits were bred to fight.  So were your ancestors.  Take a powder.)

This connected in my brain with the whole outrage over the Connecticut shootings and how we absolutely, imperatively must outlaw private ownership of guns because… shuddup, do it for the children.

As though criminals care whether something they do is illegal or not, and as though crazy people can’t come up with other ways to cause massive damage: less survivable ways.  Need one remind everyone that the first World Trade Center bombing was achieved by fertilizer.

Perhaps they intend to outlaw manure?  (Maybe that’s the aim of the Carbon Laws.)

Yes, guns are horribly dangerous.  They’re not the only thing that’s horribly dangerous, though.  I know several gun owners who could arm entire small countries, and when I visit them I feel SAFER there because I know if SOMEONE unsafe were to attack for whatever reason or none at all, they have the armament to protect us.

Forbidding the owning of guns doesn’t ban the danger because the danger is always in the human mind.  We’re a curious monkey, and some of the things we’re curious about are very, very dangerous.  As Terry Pratchett put it, if you put a button in the most distant cave in the world and painted a sign to put next to it saying “Pressing this button will end the world” the paint wouldn’t have time to dry before someone pushed it.  Worse, they’d push it not to destroy the world, but to see what it would do.

And yes, I know of the several bans to keep people from eating/playing with/drinking whatever they want, but the one that totally makes my jaw drop is forbidding all peanut products in schools and planes because of people’s allergies.  Yes, I’ve heard that just being in a room with peanuts can start the allergy.  Can I say bullhockey?  People with that violent an allergy wouldn’t be able to be on a plane, period – people like us travel with nuts.  We have to, because it’s the only portable thing we can eat on a plane.  Sometimes they’re peanuts.  We have yet to kill anyone.  And since the airlines do not search everyone for peanuts, I’m going to assume this is bullhockey.  Because if peanuts ANYWHERE on the plane were that dangerous, they would search people.

Yes, I can see where rubbing peanuts on someone might be an issue.  I’ve known people that allergic.  BUT most people are allergic to EATING peanuts.  So… we’re banning peanuts in public because… some people might not be able to help themselves and might gobble down stuff that could kill them?  Um…  As someone who can’t eat carbs, in the few flights that have lunch (usually bread-stuff) or snacks (pretzels) this affects me adversely.  Note, however, that I don’t fall, helpless-victim like on the pretzels or bread, because they’re in the same space with me.

And no, banning peanut butter from schools isn’t justified because these are kids.  These kids are in school.  That means by definition they are house-broken and capable of following instructions.  “Don’t eat that because it will kill you” should be a hard and fast one.  I mean, when I was a kid we were turned out to play outdoors at three or four, and there were a list of things we couldn’t do because they WOULD kill us (like run out in front of cars.  Drink bleach, etc.)  Weirdly all of us failed to DO those things just because we could.  (Yes, there are mentally handicapped children in the schools, but those have assigned teacher-aides, so the point is moot.)

What these three cases have in common is a curious mental confusion about what is what and where responsibility lays.

And some of this was part of the great liberal project (real liberals, the kind I identify with) started in the seventeenth century.  In a time of swift and sudden penalties, that took no extenuating circumstances into account, and which were unimaginably harsher than we can think of (torture being a normal method for extracting confessions for such crimes as pickpocketing) real liberals brought in a more nuanced justice and a weighing in of causes and consequences.  If someone steals a loaf of bread for his starving children, it’s not in any way the same crime as stealing a horse to resell in the next village.  (Okay, some judges took that into account, in England at least, but it was a big on the discretion and didn’t always happen.)

The problem is that what real liberals started, insane liberals finished.  The end game of this project in law can be seen all over Europe where murderers are condemned to some time in jail (in Portugal it was less than ten years at one point.  We used to joke about dragging the people I wanted to off to Portugal, because I was willing to pay that penalty) because there’s always “extenuating circumstances” and where even in safe neighborhoods like my parents’ people live in fear of criminals breaking in.

Here the end run of that system by and large was the seventies – at least in criminal law – and we’ve been walking it back to some extent ever since.

On the other hand, the same thinking has gone from the law to everyday life.  No one is responsible for anything, because there’s always explanations and reasons and “I couldn’t help myself.”

In many cases this is even true – probably.  I am forever in shock by how many of my kids’ classmates seem to be well… feral.  No one ever bothered to teach them to control their impulses or to think rationally about what they have and what they need and how to get there.

The end result is minds that confuse feelings with thoughts (the corollary of “if it feels good, do it” turns out to be “if it doesn’t feel good don’t do it” even if the momentary discomfort is needed for future happiness.) wants with needs and who can see nothing further than instant gratification.

I submit to you NOTHING can make society – or the world – safe for those people.  In the end they either learn otherwise (painfully) or they die.  On the way they cause untold misery.  BUT the more you try to protect them from the induced stupidity of their own upbringing, the more misery you cause to people how had nothing to do with it.

Worse, you place the blame on the wrong THINGS – or animals – and not where it belongs: in the people who choose to use the things or animals to create harm  (or choose to do nothing and let animals cause harm.)

We want to excuse everyone and think everyone good at heart… and maybe this is true to an extent.  Everyone certainly has good potential.  But those that choose to do good can also do harm.  And yes, sometimes they can do harm without meaning to – but it’s still their choice.

When you remove that, you’re putting the blame on things and creatures who can’t choose.  And you’re restricting the choices of everyone.

To absolve the guilty you must ALWAYS blame the innocent, even if it’s innocent THINGS.  And that mis-placing of blame will always result not just in curtailed liberty, but in greater pain for everyone in the long run and in a society that rolls over and begs for tyrants to save it from itself.

The monkey mind that chooses to press the button that says “end the world” can also choose NOT to do it.  But for that, it must be able to think through causes and consequences.  And to be taught that, we must start by putting the blame where it belongs.  And we must understand that mercy, like all other admirable qualities, has dark twins called indulgence and misplaced blame.  Even virtues aren’t free and we must always be aware of their costs.  TANSTAAFL.

164 responses to “Straining The Quality Of Mercy

  1. Yup, I just had this same discussion with someone terrified of “pit bulls.” I’ll cover it shortly.

    • When The Spouse and I first married the dog breed that was being labled the terror to be eliminated was the Doberman. Later it became the Rottweiler. (Was that, in part, the result of the movie Cujo?) The dogs are not the ones at fault, it is the people. If you take a particular breed away from these people they will find another.

  2. I suspect the real impetus behind bannng peanut butter in schools is the desire of parents to never let their child feel “different” by having to decline a treat because there are peanuts in it. Heaven forfend the special snowflake feel special in a bad way.

    I also vaguely recall a medical report that the rash of modern peanut allergies, some of them admittedly severe, is primarily due to parents exposing their children to peanut products at a much too early age. Peanuts have a toxin that older children and adults can handle, but very young children (3 years or younger) can’t.

    • Heaven forfend the special snowflake feel special in a bad way.

      Nail. Head.

    • A very large number of children with “peanut allergies” have no such thing, the parents having invented the allergy to gain attention for their snowflake. We are an entire nation of Munchausen by proxy parents.

      • I suspect it’s really a high degree of control-freakdom. It must be satisfying to make strangers change their personal behavior and jump through increasingly small hoops.

        • The one that killed me was that, whenever I’ve suggested that kids with that bad of an allergy should just stay home and be homeschooled or tutored, thus avoiding danger with very little difficulty, I get told that I’m suggesting something horrible. But if you asked any kid about staying home from school forever, I bet they’d all say it wasn’t a horrible plan at all!

          • My daughter has Cystic Fibrosis and needs to stay away from sick kids if possible. She also has pills she has to take with each meal and needs to be allowed water on occasion. She is being homeschooled until she can be a better advocate fo herself, and she will adjust to public school when she goes. In other words, we aren’t shoving her into school and demanding they adjust to her – she will adjust when she goes, and if that can’t be done, my wife and I will continue to homeschool.

    • This is key. They want society to adjust to them instead of figuring out how to adjust themselves.

  3. Gregory Peter DuPont

    Well said….I am a dog lover ( PBTs& Dobermans), a gunowner( former military, armed security professional), devotee of smoled almonds and fine adult beverages( the latter the liberals banned once, the former)… I was an urban kid, I had intimate acquaintance with the associated troubles of the Northeastern cities in the 1970′ s( and elsewhere), played in the streets ( and learned that particular etiquette early on) was no altar boy ; yet I’ ve made it this far.
    Today’s ” liberal ” has lost all concept of the root of the word- LIBRE, and believe if only that pesky free will, self determination ; and individualism can be replaced by the collectivist ” greater good”( Leviathan Statism) mentality- then perfection shall be found here on Earth instead of Heaven….
    Sad, because in their mania to prohibit anything that could possibly give offense or injury, they give both to the nation’ s soul- the individual free citizens that compose it.

    • That is a large part of why I do not call them liberals. I call them leftists, which is what they are. Sometimes I use statists or totalitarians, which are also accurate.

      • Much easier to just call them idiots, which is really what most of them are. The few that aren’t idiots are megalomaniacs.

        • I disagree: I don’t think most such fall under the technical limitations of the term “idiot.” I tend to refer to them as fools, myself. Behavior directly against one’s long-term interests seems eminently foolish, but such consistency argues against lack of native intelligence. Lack of wisdom, they have in abundance. A dearth thereof, in fact. Shared by the powers that be, though those have the aforementioned megalomania alongside their consistent isolation from reality.

          • I honestly do not believe the problem is inherent in most of the lefties themselves — I believe that God has created all people (excepting those with obvious mental disabilities) with the ability to reason. Why else would he invite the prophet Isaiah to “[c]ome now, and let us reason together”? (Isaiah 1:18)

            The problem is in the leftist education system. It does not teach logic or critical thinking, deliberately, because critical thinking inevitably leads to the rejection of modern leftism as unworkable utopianism. The leftist leaders also understand this, that’s why they never appeal to logic, but always appeal to emotion.

            Some few of us have had mentors who lead us to learn critical thinking — generally it’s the parents or a conservative teacher who somehow has survived in the leftist education enclave. Sometimes we pick up a book that leads us down the path of learning logic. But the problem is, far too many never do. Thus they never learn the critical lesson of TANSTAAFL, which Sarah alluded to.

            That’s why people are willing to vote for Santa Claus to give them more gubment bennies. They lack the critical and logical thinking skills to work out that sooner or later, the bill will come due… or they’re actively evil, deciding deliberately to hand the bill to later generations. Even these, however, are deluded, thinking that they will always escape the consequences. I firmly believe that within my lifetime (and I’m only a few years younger than Sarah) we’ll see America as we know it collapse from chasing leftist ideas. This last election was our last hope of changing course, and we didn’t. Now we must reap the whirlwind.

  4. We have institutions specifically designed for people who can’t control themselves and consistitute a danger to themselves or others. Liberals should have that pointed out to them whenever they claim that someone can’t control himself.

    • Not any more, you don’t. Those same ‘liberals’ shut down most of those institutions in the 1970s. Now the sort of people who would once have been put in those institutions are living in cardboard boxes and drooling on themselves in public. So much more enlightened, that.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        I suspect she was talking about prisons. And those who “can’t control themselves” in that instance are more commonly referred to as criminals.

        Truly mentally ill people are a different case altogether.

        • No, I was talking about mental institutions. Which still exist, though Tom is quite right about their decrease.

          Still, construction took a beating in this recession. Here’s a way to put them back to work! Mostly, I dare say, to house those unfortunates living in cardboard boxes because men and women, suddenly faced with actually having consequences to their professed incompetence would pull up their socks pretty darn quick. (It wasn’t as if the poor didn’t manage to live with some dignity before welfare came along.)

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Oh. Well, foo.

            I would say that in general the poor lived in greater dignity before welfare came along.

            • I’ve been watching upstairs-downstairs and have noted the conditions they refer to the poor living under, early 20th century are more accurate to the middle ages.

              We live in Marxist times. It’s the past that keeps changing.

              • From 1901 to 1913, undaunted by the proposition that a ‘bi-weekly visit to Lambeth is like a plunge into Hades’, the socialist Fabian Women’s Group recorded the daily budgets and lives of thirty working-class families living there. In 1913 they published this unique record in ROUND ABOUT A POUND A WEEK.

                That is the back blurb of one of a number of books I might recommend on the subject of the poor. Yes, it was compiled by the Fabians, but they show their work. There are similar works, like a famous group of photographs of the street children of New York from about the same time. The world has not been kind to the poor and, no, not all of the poor exercised dignity.

                A book about more recent conditions is Leon Dash’s When Children Want Children. Our present system of welfare traps people in an untenable situation. Any progress generally means every support is pulled out from under you, and the system is cold. You have to turn up on time for your appointment, but they will get around to you when they get around to you. It is hard to live with dignity when yours is denied left and right. (I am not about to defend our present system of welfare, it neither promotes wellness or is it fair.)

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Our present system of welfare traps people in an untenable situation. Any progress generally means every support is pulled out from under you, and the system is cold. You have to turn up on time for your appointment, but they will get around to you when they get around to you. It is hard to live with dignity when yours is denied left and right.

                  This is what I was alluding to above. The welfare system may make people more comfortable in their poverty, but it strips their dignity by making them into servile dependents on the state.

                • Wellness is a particular sore point for me. The only dole I have accepted in our difficult circumstances has been state medical insurance, because there is simply no way to pay for it ourselves (we do our utmost to use it responsibly). The existence of the state program has eliminated the market for affordable plans (not to mentioned the gorram federally mandated coverages. “Free” checkups my-) and the cheapest family plans I can find are hundreds of dollars a month. Making about 30k a year, I could not afford my own policy for my little family of six, but my wife and I had no coverage and we were hovering on losing coverage for my kids. I frelling hate government-induced market distortions. Bloody bureaucrats and their bloody economic ignorance. I set a goal today (Not for the new year, exactly. Goals for the hoped-for new job.) to have us off of the state plan this year, but that means a lot of hauling butt ahead of me.

                  • One thing you can be sure of: enabling families to use Health Spending Accounts, purchase high deductible catastrophic coverage policies, take tax deductions for purchasing health insurance with their own dollars instead of their employers’ dollars or just generally maintain independence is no part of the permitted solution.

                    Courtesy of liberal critic of the “Blue State Model” Walter Russell Mead:

                    … As the IRS apparently interprets the law, employers with more than 50 workers are required to offer health care insurance to the dependents (though not the spouses) of their full time employees, but there is no requirement to make that coverage affordable. Thus you can offer a “family plan” for a worker making $10 an hour (about $20,000 a year) that costs $15,000 and if the worker ‘elects’ not to buy the coverage, you as an employer have done your job.

                    The new law will, however, require companies to offer ‘affordable’ health care plans to employees, with “affordable” defined under the proposed regulations at 9.5 percent of total wages. As the Times notes, this creates a strong incentive for employers to put their health care dollars toward subsidizing individual plans while encouraging them to cut any subsidies they now offer for family plans.

                    So what kind of help can the spouses and children of workers expect under the new law if employers don’t offer affordable family plans? The Obama administration has no idea. …
                    [SNIP]
                    It turns out that Nancy Pelosi was wrong; passing the health care bill wasn’t enough to know what was in it. We still don’t know how tens of millions of people will fare under this law, and how much it will cost federal and state governments. We have no idea what the consequences of the law will be for family budgets around the country. Given that at this point neither the White House nor the IRS (which is now responsible for key regulations that govern health care in our fascinatingly byzantine new system) knows how the law will apply to family insurance policies, we still don’t know some of the most basic facts about the brave new world of American health care. …

                    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/01/01/this-looks-like-a-loophole/

                    • “So what kind of help can the spouses and children of workers expect under the new law if employers don’t offer affordable family plans? The Obama administration has no idea. …”

                      Progressives don’t agree with single income families, they think both parents should work. This law just furthers that goal.

                • No. The system of welfare treats humans as though they were things.

                  I wasn’t saying the world was kind to the poor in the twenties and thirties. I’ve seen pictures. But there are… gradations (Actually yesterday I was giggling through a book on poverty in GB in the 20s because well… they were middle class conditions in the village. Yes, the people described had other issues, a lot of them coming from simply feeling beaten down (for THEIR society those living conditions were the bottom. Maybe. The book is wonderfully contradictory about how terrible it was and yet one gets the feeling it was an improvement for most people.) But the idea that no indoor plumbing means horrible poverty reminded me of the friend who went with us to Portugal and thought she was ALWAYS in poverty stricken neighborhoods because there were clothes hanging outside.)

                • No. The system of welfare treats humans as though they were things.

                  I wasn’t saying the world was kind to the poor in the twenties and thirties. I’ve seen pictures. But there are… gradations (Actually yesterday I was giggling through a book on poverty in GB in the 20s because well… they were middle class conditions in the village. Yes, the people described had other issues, a lot of them coming from simply feeling beaten down (for THEIR society those living conditions were the bottom. Maybe. The book is wonderfully contradictory about how terrible it was and yet one gets the feeling it was an improvement for most people.) But the idea that no indoor plumbing means horrible poverty reminded me of the friend who went with us to Portugal and thought she was ALWAYS in poverty stricken neighborhoods because there were clothes hanging outside.)

  5. Question – have you, our hostess, and other regulars, looked seriously at Rawls (and of course subsequently Nozick as the first refutation) as the moral justification for the just society that must in order to be just cater to the absolute lowest (capability not morally) – “never let their child feel different” – it’s not enough that NHS eyeglasses be free they must also be fashionable so as not to stigmatize; that makes sense but google NHS on the BBC these days for going down that road – no child left behind so no child gets ahead. Certainly everyone has read Harrison Bergeron but how many have read Rawls or any of his followers and successors?

    I ask because it seems to me many of the premises in liberal thinking might easily be refuted but the belief in equalizing to the bottom persists as the milk tongue of the red diaper babies that surround us today.

    Long time ago there was woman who taught at Yale with an interest in animals including pit bulls – she took a goat to companion dog excellent as an exercise or for the ego trip or for whatever reason. She wrote well on whether she was depriving her own pit bull of some part of the pit bull life by not rolling the animal.

  6. Might note that long ago and far away Peter Pan lost a liability suit for failure to warn that feeding an infant peanut butter by the table spoon was a choking hazard.

  7. Peanut butter. The wife of the Grumpy Neurologist (drgrumpyinthehouse dot blogspot dot com) is a school nurse. A child ate a bite of a friend’s peanutbutter sandwitch, had a reaction, and the school nurse happened to have an EpiPen that she could use. Nurse called mom and inquired if mom knew about the allergy. “Yes.” Why is it not in the records? “I didn’t want to waste time filling out the forms. The pediatrician knows. Why do you need to know?” Does child have an EpiPen she can bring to school? “Yes, but they expired years ago.” Kid should not have nibbled the sandwich. Parent should be whapped with a clue-by-four.

    I heard that the original “no peanuts in airplane” was because an uncontrolled toddler with an unknown allergy might eat one off the floor, get sick, and diiiieeeEEEEEEeeeee.

  8. Whether it be control of what you own or what you can eat, the strongest theme of those who only want things to be “fair” seems to be control…

  9. There is a certain type of individual that just cannot let well enough alone. They have a psychological need to interfere in the lives of others, and they desire to control everyone and everything. To me, that is a mental illness, and needs to be treated, just as we’d treat someone who is bipolar or schizophrenic. I’m pretty sure one of the reasons we don’t is because 95% of our political class would need to be institutionalized in order to control their compulsions.

    • You wrote:
      “There is a certain type of individual that just cannot let well enough alone. They have a psychological need to interfere in the lives of others, and they desire to control everyone and everything.”

      I think that they are tyrants in miniature, not mentally ill.

  10. People forget that mercy is not a give away product for any Tom, Dick, or Harry. The perp needs to feel deep remorse. (at least in my humble opinion) or there should be extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances does not mean because “it feels good” or “I just want to do it.” No mercy should be applied in those cases.

    Plus “for the children” or “I had bad parents” should be ignored as reasons for any crime (I mean political crimes as well–like we are seeing in our legislatures)–

  11. Sigh. I love peanut butter. As a percentage of food allergies, severe anaphylaxis (will die from being in the same room as peanuts) is extremely rare. More often, we do a blood test, tell the parents that they are allergic, and the parents freak. The doctor is afraid to say, it’s probably OK, but I can’t guarantee it, so they say don’t be anywhere around a peanut. Would this be different if the liability laws were different? I don’t know. But the truth is, no one in the medical field or any large companies want to have any possible risk attached to them. It’s easier to keep 10000 kids away from peanuts than to miss the one that really needs to keep away. We have no liability for the 10000 kids.

  12. Personal responsibility is no longer considered important to the progressive left. Of course, progressive and left in the same sentence constitutes an oxymoron.

    As a senior citizen (that really means old and grumpy), I feel very safe. Because, I have a carry permit, and I have a gun near, or on, me at all times. Why? Because, folks, the world is filled with nasty people who are greedy, vicious, and stupid. Combine that with the idiocy of youths who sit about playing violent video games, watching violent movies and believing them, and you have a real and present danger any time you walk outside your home. (I live 20 miles from Memphis, one of the most dangerous cities in the US.)

    Just last night, my husband was watching Skyfall in our local theatre. He noticed the top three rows of the theatre were filled with late teens to 20 something black males. About 30 minutes into the movied, a pack of like males streamed into the theatre and a huge fight between the two groups broke out. The cops and the theatre security ended up throwing 85 people out of the building, and arresting more than a few. The movie was started again for the folks who came to see the movie, not a rumble.

    Yes, my husband was armed. No, he didn’t have to draw his gun, he was not in any present danger, nor were the other patrons. Just the morons fighting with each other. I guess it was too cold for them to take it to their neighborhoods. Poor little hothouse flowers might want to stab someone, but not if they had to get cold or wet to do it.

    Oh, and I have a dog that is half pit, half lab. One of the best dogs we have ever owned. Of course, he has had excellent training and knows that *I* am the alpha in our pack.

    • Funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) but doesn’t it seem that the folks condemning feral (and usually abused) animals “because it is their nature” are very quick to excuse feral humans because “it is their nature.” And those who do not conform to “their nature” are dismissed as inauthentic, and those who suggest that just maybe it is not their nature are accused of racism.

    • A previous neighbor of ours had a beautiful, big Rottweiler. He was very well socialized and knew I was the next door Alpha female. Whenever he was in their back yard, and I was mowing our back yard, I would shut off my mower and tell him what a goood dog he was. Then I’d say “Have to get back to work!” and start the mower again. He would always get on their back porch, so no rocks or branches would get thrown at him by the noisy machine.

      One day I was following our cat around the yard, and Max saw him and jumped on the backyard gate. It was fastened with very cheap wire and fell right over.

      I shouted “Max, look what you did!”

      Instant guilt. Being such a large dog I’m sure he heard that a lot when he was inside the house and not in his room. He backed up onto the porch, just oozing guilt.

      I said, “It’s OK, I’ll fix it.” And used the cheap wire to fasten the gate much more snugly.

      Then I picked up my cat, carried him over near the fence and said to Max “This is MY cat, don’t eat him.”

      Then I put the cat down and said “Come here” in a soothing tone. I scritched his jaw and ears through the fence and for as long as they lived there he was my best friend when we were both outside.

      I would NEVER dream of going on his property when his people weren’t home, but we were friends across the fence.

  13. I don’t like pit bulls because they’re too doggy– if you raise them right, they’re too clingy for me. Inverse of what Miss Kitty told Tiger; I want a dog who’s more like a cat. (Um. Barring the omnicidal parts. A cat the size of a pit bull is scary.)

    From memory, pit bulls being raised to fight is quite different from humans being fighters– they were bred to never attack humans and not attack indiscriminately. A specially bred dog is a big investment, in a time when people starving on the streets isn’t a mental health issue.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Nod, no dog breeder would want a *large* dog that would be dangerous to him. Any such dog would be killed and thus wouldn’t breed other dogs like him. From what I’ve heard the pit bulls that are mean are ones that have been mistreated by their owners.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Or their owners encourage them to act that way. I’ve heard some people bragging about how they encouraged their pit to get all crazy every time the Mail carrier came by, instead of teaching him NOT to do so. He was behind the door, and didn’t get out TO the mail carrier, but if they had opened the door, based on what they said, I’m pretty sure the dog would have attacked him.

    • Good lord, yes. Our pit is clingy as a first time mother hen. Sweet as candy (and spoiled rotten – she won’t walk on wet grass, for one) as long as you don’t (say) put on a hat and a different pair of glasses… then she’ll bark like you’ve got a stabbity knife in your hand and are threatening the family. But yes.

  14. Harry the Horrible

    Neighbor has a pit bull. “Precious Pup” is the most lovey-dovey, lick-you-to-death dog I have ever encountered. She is one big slab of muscle who just loves everybody – when she is out of the house.
    Visit the house, she alerts. Enter without permission… But once you are invited inside, she reverts to her normal state.
    Usually it isn’t the dog (but some dogs ARE crazy – not their fault either) – it is the people.

  15. Politicians will never outlaw manure. Their jobs depend too much on spreading it.

  16. Yes, I’ve heard that just being in a room with peanuts can start the allergy. Can I say bullhockey? People with that violent an allergy wouldn’t be able to be on a plane, period – people like us travel with nuts.

    Yes such people should probably should think twice before going on a plane. Consider they may be traveling from Asheboro NC headed to Wyoming because grandma suddenly is very ill and the daughter is traveling with her hyper allergic son — sorry I know of this happening. (Back when my acquaintance still lived in Wyoming the Yakima first responders got a higher level of certification after the boy almost died…)

    • Forgive my skepticism, but I am with Sarah on the bullhockey call.

      I just ran a search of Orbitz for flights (see it here: http://goo.gl/cJlA2) from NC to WY, expanding the search to airports within 80 miles, and in no case did they go through Washington State, where they would have to have gone through in order to involve Yakima first responders. There is also no Yakima that I can find in Wyoming, which makes sense, because the Yakima Indian Nation is based in Washington State. (I know this because I lived for about 10 years in Spokane, WA, not too far from Yakima, WA.)

      In short, your story seems to have at least one fairly significant detail really wrong. The only explanation I can think of is that you’re confusing Wyoming and Washington, but that seems a bit of a stretch, because they’re quite distinct, unless you’ve never been west of the Mississippi River and think of everything west of Big Muddy as “Out West, where the cowboys ride herd on their cattle.”

      Please explain this discrepancy.

      • I also know this family. While it is possible they fibbed about having a son deathly allergic, they went to a great deal of trouble adjusting their lifestyle to support that fib. It is likely CACS erred in remembering the cities in question; perhaps it was Casper, Wyoming, perhaps another city — time passes and memory dims.

        I took the story as true, an unusual instance of a hyperallergic individual. If somebody tells you their kid is deathly allergic to peanuts are you going to give the kid one anyway, because you believe such concerns “bullhockey”?

        This does not mean I support extreme regulations when milder ones can achieve the same ends. By all means, let them homeschool the kid, heck — provide a tutor some number of hours a week. If the kid’s parents don’t teach the kid to avoid peanut-tainted foods, if they don’t maintain a stock of valid epi-pens or similar responsive treatment, bring suit against them as unfit parents.

        If an airplane passenger provides valid notice of hyper-allergic condition upon purchase of a ticket, then it should be possible to provide a reasonable quarantine section, or allow other passengers scheduled for the flight to re-book if they object to a peanut-free flight.

        All of this points to a fundamental libertarian argument against over-regulation: only such laws and regulations as minimally necessary should be enacted; going beyond that imposes undue burdens and diminishes respect for those laws which are well founded.

        BTW, better you might have [SEARCHENGINED] for “peanut allergies” or even “peanut allergies, kissing death”. Or just scan this: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/news/20060306/kissing-peanut-allergy-dangerous

        • Sorry, my eye was caught by a flight to Wyoming, where a very close friend lives, and the city name Yakima, which raised about a dozen red flags in my mind.

          I do agree that we should not ban everything that might possibly hurt a small portion of the population. If that was a workable solution, we’d end up banning everything, because even water is deadly in the right circumstances… i.e. drowning. I can’t think of one off the top of my head but I am sure there are circumstances in which the air we breathe causes death as well. So let’s ban water and air.

          • Historically, more deaths can probably be attributed to government than any other single cause …

            • Okay, let’s ban government. :p

              Actually, David Eddings in one of his books had an idea I’d like to try some day.

              Whenever a person was appointed to a government position, their assets were liquidated and the proceeds were put into the treasury. When their term of office ended — few ever wanted a second term — they received their money back from the treasury… with a twist. If the government had made a profit during their tenure, they received their initial assets plus a bonus proportional to the profit. However, if the government had run a deficit, they received back their initial assets minus a proportional penalty. And tax rates were fixed by the constitution and could not be raised, period, so no hiking taxes to try to create a profit.

              I imagine if such a system could be successfully installed — which is highly doubtful, I freely admit — it would work much better than the mess we have now.

              • Instead of tying their portion to the government’s economic performance, tie it to the economy, long term. Perhaps tie their pension to economic growth.

                One problem is that the compensation for a Jack Kemp or Ron Paul would be the same as for a Barney Frank or John Dingell (admittedly they infested the government for a far longer time than did Kemp) even though the policies advocated by the first two would benefit the economy far more than those of the other duo.

              • As I would like to see people with running a business stand for office I am not sure I could agree in insisting that they liquidate to hold office.

              • They were sensible enough to put it under a totalitarian dictator in a culture that does not do creative.

                I’d give it about half a day before folks here could hack it for fun, let alone what the professionals would do. Probably the same, in the same amount of time, but with nastier twists.

          • As the referenced close friend who lives in Wyoming, I can state with 99.9999% certainty that there is no ‘major airline’ with direct, non-stop flights into/out of the state from NY. That does not mean there has never been but I cannot even think of one instance unless the flight was chartered by Dick Cheney. The closest thing Cheyenne has had in the recent past is American Eagle – AA affiliate with one of the worst customer satisfaction ratings in the known universe – had direct flights from Dallas for the last few years (thanks to FFA monies). There is also no “Yakima” in Wyoming…lots of teeny-tiny towns but none with that name. So, at least that part of the related story is, at the very least, questionable. The rest is plausible as I know a few with such sensitivities as well. This just demonstrates the typical issue with anecdotal evidence. Since both RES and CACS know the family, why not revisit the topic with them?

        • Yes, but hyper allergic individuals are extremely rare, and yes, when given notice (and btw, the airlines DO ask this question under “unusual travel needs” it should be easy to have some form of isolation OR in that flight to serve notice to other passengers that it could be lethal and they’re asked not to bring peanuts aboard and/or should reschedule it. They do it for other conditions.

          • EXACTLY. The problem is not the hyper-allergic individual, the problem is a mindset that demands EVERY !@#$% flight or school lunchroom accommodate some hypothetical person who MIGHT have this problem.

            Cripes, the idiots would address the problem of “The Boy In The Plastic Bubble” by requiring ALL of the OTHER students wear hazmat gear in order to maintain a Clean Room for John Travolta.

            • Well, I think part of the issue ARE the people who THINK they’re hyper allergic (and who CAN have symptoms, if they think there’s a reason.)

              There’s a lot more of them than of true hyper allergic people. I think the fashion has gone off somewhat — at least unlike the early 2000s I don’t meet people in full dust mask and gloves walking around the neighborhood as much anymore. For a while there, it was like every woman of a certain age put this stuff on to undertake their daily walk — including a lot of my friends, who were utterly convinced they were allergic to things they couldn’t possibly be allergic to (the amount in the air outside was less than inside, say) and prevented it by wearing masks that don’t filter out the particulates. (I AM allergic — both skin and breathing — to household dust and the mask to keep THAT out effectively looks like an air-raid mask. Because my allergy is not severe enough to warrant wearing it unless I’m already ill, and because it fogs my glasses, I usually don’t wear it, and just shower RIGHT after cleaning. But anyway, I know the little white cup-masks don’t keep out visible dust, much less say perfume particles or whatever…. car exhaust, say, or one particularly creative friend, CARBON. [I only wish I were joking])

              These people can experience REAL symptoms. The airlines can’t afford to antagonize THOSE people, so they accommodate. I think that’s FAR MORE of an issue than true hyper allergic people — and also that it has led the airlines NOT to believe in hyper allergic people, hence no effort made to keep THEM safe.

              • We underwent the same thing with ADD/ADHD* diagnoses. First we had to convince the Daughtorial Unit’s teachers that the condition was real and required minor accommodation, then we had to convince them that slapping a “Behaviourally and Emotionally Disturbed” label on her not only was NOT necessary, it would do NOTHING to mobilize the school system to provide greater services for D.U. than her I.E.P. already achieved … the FOLLOWING year we had to watch teachers (who had never acknowledged the D.U.’s condition while in their classroom) suddenly able to recognize ADD and prescribe medication based upon the most superficial observation.

                *Don’t even start an argument over the existence of this condition. It exists, it is far less common than diagnosed and its treatment is properly focused on teaching the child to adapt to the condition. It is primarily a problem of school systems’ pedagogical inflexibility, blaming the child for the school’s failure. The most insightful thing I ever read on it was a book titled “Hunters In A Farmers’ World” (or something like) — arguing that the ADD individual evolutionarily adapted to hunt in an environment where people were as commonly prey as predator; these are the folk you want in your watchtower where their alertness to any minor variance in their surroundings makes them ideally suited to spotting oncoming dangers. Farmers, OTOH, merely need the ability to stare at a horse’s ass from dawn to dusk — no wonder they do superbly in contemporary schools.

                • I absolutely agree on ADHD being a real condition.

                  I know it is, because I suffer from it, even in my mid-40s.

                • Don’t even start an argument over the existence of this condition. It exists, it is far less common than diagnosed and its treatment is properly focused on teaching the child to adapt to the condition.

                  This, I can totally believe.

                  Kind of like autism– yes, some folks really are totally autistic. And some folks’ social maladroitness rises to the level of needing diagnosis. But when the diagnosis guidelines are so loose that they include the entire Navy nuke service and most of the electronics divisions, there’s an issue. Grew up with a guy who was autistic but not diagnosed so– didn’t like bathing, wore sweats all the time, could rattle off capitols and top exports of any country you could think of; he’s now a geologist and was dating, last I knew. A lot of his problems were the ones that resulted in him living with grandma, not him being broken in some way.

                  • and some kids like mine have some of the same issues that autistic kids have, and it takes a strong will to tell the school “No, he’s not autistic, get over it.” AND THEN getting his (thank heavens grown-out-of mostly issues taken care of while he needs it, without the autistic label slapped on.

                • Incidentally? The theory that farmers “merely need…to stare at a horse’s ass” to be successful is pound-your-head stupid. They are different skillsets, and animals take more twitch factor than plants, but the need of authors to denigrate what it takes to feed them just so they can make the target audience feel better is pretty insulting.

                  • Agree with Foxfier– Farming is much more than staring at a horse’s ass. Plus horses can get twitchy. You need to find the problem quickly with minimum of fuss. Basically the modern child is programed for industrialization, which is a model that has been gone now for a long long time– (they want robot kids)

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    Actually, that was probably just an allegory intended to indicate the difference between someone who can tolerate doing the same thing for hours at a time easily, as opposed to someone who has to spend tons of time learning ways to keep from going stir crazy in that situation. “Staring at a horse’s ass” while holding a plow is mind-numbing, and those who are attention-challenged might very well break the plow to get away from what they are doing.

                    • After too many years of “milk comes from the store, not cows,” I wish I could share your certainty.

                      Much better to put someone on fixing fence if they can’t focus intently on something that’s boring until you have to recognize, analyze and respond to a problem.

                      In a school context, that would mean having sports and classes that teach you to DO stuff instead of just book work.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      As far as the “staring at a horse’s ass” part goes, I said it was allegory because it was in context of the book RES referenced explaining the evolutionary usefulness of ADHD (and I think it was RES’s comment on that, likely paraphrasing the book).

                      On the other hand, you’re right, we need more focus on actually doing things (practical applications). Likewise, sports are also a good way to encourage all sorts of learning, as well as burning off excess energy.

                    • A friend had two sons in school, one a year ahead of The Daughter, the other a year behind. Both were very highly gifted and ADD. One of the things their doctor encouraged was ample physical activities. In fact, the parents were told that whenever a punishment was given it should never include restriction on physical activities, particularly as they were reaching their adolescence. The doctor’s theory was that the energy needed to be positively channeled, because it was not going to be quashed.

                      As to plowing? I cannot imagine what it took to go into the fields day after day to plow with animals, to push yourself to exhaustion to get the job done in that window between the ending of winter and the beginning of the growing season knowing that whether or not you get a good crop depends not just on your own effort, but if the weather cooperates.

                      I spent a summer as a mother’s helper in a farming community, in much more modern conditions. It was a great and eye opening experience for which, as a city girl I am thankful. These people worked hard and the successful ones worked hard and smart.

                    • I agree there is such a thing as ADD/ADHD, but 90%+ of those who are diagnosed with it are simply normal kids who those doing the diagnosing don’t want to deal with. Normal youngsters of all species are hyperactive compared to adults, and well fed, healthy kids are going to have lots of energy to burn, just because both parents work full time jobs and want to set down and relax in front of the tv for a couple hours before they go to bed, without being bothered by a kid bouncing off the walls looking for attention (or by actually disciplining the kid, so that they bounce off the walls quietly and out of sight ;) ) does not mean there is anything wrong with the kid.

                    • healthy kids are going to have lots of energy to burn

                      Oh so true. I recall when I had to expend energy just to appear to be sitting still. I wish I could have skimmed, bottled, and saved some of my excess for my old age.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I still have to bounce my heels when sitting in order to keep from having to jump up and move around every several minutes.

                    • I get bored and wonder away without NOTICING. Dan has been training me for years not to do that in social situations.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Heh. I would probably just follow. I don’t do social well.

                    • I like a quite corner in the kitchen where I can hold court…or not.

                    • >I get bored and wonder away without NOTICING.

                      What a great typo! :-) And probably truer than you were intending. LOL.

                    • We’re having kids later, which exacerbates the problem. Sorry, but faced with the idea of having kids now, though we would if we could, I also know I would have a MUCH harder time with the noise and all. Of course, I wouldn’t try to medicate the kid for it because I know it’s normal — but other parents who haven’t been around kids might. One of Robert’s classmates in K was a quite normal little boy his mom medicated to the gills, because she was convinced he was hyperactive. She had him in her late forties and she was an only child and had never been around kids much before him. She kept telling other mothers our kids TOO MUST be hyperactive. (Rolls eyes.)

                    • My mom keeps commenting that grandkids are a lot more active than her kids ever were…. she’s joking, but point.

                    • I was no spring chicken when The Daughter was born. It took me a while to learn to enjoy the process of a walk down the street with a toddler — discovering something every step or two. Kids need to be able to be kids. Just the other day I was speaking with a fellow adult, remembering the magic and freedom of seemingly endless summer nights where we would play in the cool of the evening watching the stars come out. Anyone remember how long it seemed to get from Thanksgiving to Christmas?

                  • Yes, it was a joke, mostly at the expense of teachers — a point I would have thought obvious because horses were not used for plowing during most of the time period in which human evolution was ongoing. I used to know when the harness allowing horses to plow was developed, but the trivial has overwhelmed the important in my data banks and I no longer recall other than it being a relatively recent event.

                    Having managed accounting departments I have direct experience with the skill sets required for data entry versus, fer instance, account reconciliation. I readily admit that data entry, specifically time sheet entry, knocks me out. Fifteen, twenty minutes of it at a time is the maximum I can do without passing out. I will never deliberately disparage data entry, the accounting equivalent of plowing.

                    So, again, it was a joke at the expense of teachers (a group who I generally admire as individuals and loath as a union.) Sorry it distracted you from the greater point that the problem isn’t ADD it is a system that insists on classifying ADD as a disorder because it doesn’t fit into their crappy system.

                  • As someone who has actually handled a plow behind the ass (actually a mule), I can assure you it takes concentration and total coordination between the ass behind the plow and the one in front of it. It’s also back-breakingly hard work to keep your rows straight. Plowing is also just the first task in a fairly long list of things the farmer does in order to have a decent crop. Modern farming, with all the equipment needed, is a very complex business. There’s a reason a lot of people go to college to learn all they need to know to run a farm.

                    My daughter is ADHD, Dyslexic, and allergic to just about anything and everything. She needs to wear a mask during cottonwood season, and during ragweed season. She’s also allergic to cats, but has three. She has medication she takes for both the ADHD and the allergies, which allow her to function more or less like a normal person.

                • Look I think that most cases of teacher dx’d ADD/HDD are bogus because most little boys and some little girls are noisy and physical. The real cases (same with autistic dx) are being shoved under the rug because of the fashion of giving drugs to normal children. I am not saying the dx is NOT real. I am saying that teachers cannot dx and should not dx–

                  When I went to school before I finally had my first pair of glasses, the teachers didn’t dx me then. They did say to my parents that I had to go to the front of the class to see the assignment. Plus they said that it MIGHT be a good idea to take me to see an eye doctor. THEY DID NOT say that I was blind. They let a professional dx the condition. Things have changed so much–

                  • I believe I mentioned that a teacher in denial about the condition one year was diagnosing and demanding drug therapy the next — managing to make equal and opposite errors in adjacent years. The teacher was otherwise a very gifted and talented teacher, which was part of what made the problem in dealing with ADD so irksome.

                    Yes, the arrogance of presuming to diagnose seems a recent and deplorable development. In fact, I deplore it.

                    • I deplore it too– I know that in other posts we have talked about geniuses (and highly capable people) thinking that their genius transcends their expertise. This example RES is of the same mind-set imho.

                    • I believe that they had to pass a law in our state telling the teachers they could not demand drugs as a condition of having the child in class; they could recommend a doctor’s visit but nothing else.

              • Oh, gads, the psychosomatic effects!
                It is entirely possible to get a dozen women roaring drunk on one pitcher of screwdrivers and four of orange juice. My mom did it once, totally on accident.

                In A-school for the Navy, all the barracks were desk-staffed by women who’d gotten pregnant on cruise. For some reason, the really bleeping ones were in the female barracks, and they were all sure they were deathly allergic to pine oil.

                To the point that they were all violently sick when they mistakenly thought that I had used some. (I walked past with a bottle because I was restocking a supply cabinet and then walked past the other way with the mop.)

                Happened about once a week, even though the bottle of pine oil wasn’t open.

          • Now on this I can agree, as the condition is extremely rare there are better solutions then across the board banning just in case. Less draconian measures are less likely to incline people to rebel.

      • Who said a direct flight? No they had to go through from PTI through Chicago …

        • Chicago is also nowhere near Yakima.

          All the flights on my search went through cities closer to the midwest or east coast… Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Chicago showed up quite often.

          But, hey, Wyoming, Washington, what’s a thousand miles and completely different politics matter… they’re all the same, right?

          • It was over a decade ago. I said through — they transfered in Chicago where the son simply loved the tunnel with the color changing lights… I am not sure where their ending destination was, she was going to join family who drove the rest of the way.

            • Not sure where their ending destination was? But your original comment said:

              …headed to Wyoming…

              Look, if you made a mistake, be an adult and admit it. Don’t keep digging the hole deeper.

              In fact, when writing a story that I may not be remembering clearly, I either don’t include those parts that I am not certain of, or state very clearly that I could be mis-remembering in the original writing… and if called on something that I remembered wrong, I man up and admit it right away and move on from there. I don’t try to defend what is obviously wrong.

              • EXCUSE ME — the acquaintance’s mother lives all over Wyoming. The family was somewhat spread out. The acquaintance married a man in Steamboat, lived there before moving to Colorado and then on to NC. Her brother married in Jackson Hole. I don’t know where her older sister lives. Would it suit you better if I said they were traveling from NC to Wyoming — with air flight involved? The point, which has gotten lost for the knit-picking was that there was a family emergency that required a family where one of the members was a hyper-allergic to fly if they were to arrive a timely manner.

                • The mother’s family lives all over. NO ONE is big enough or rich enough to live all over a state the size of Wyoming. Arg.

                  • The point is, Wyoming is nowhere near Yakima, Washington. Anyone with an elementary knowledge of American geography should know that.

                    Now, did you mean Washington instead of Wyoming, or are you saying that for some strange reason, the airline went a thousand or more miles out of their way by going from NC to WY via Seattle or Spokane?

                    You’re continuing to dig yourself in deeper. Just admit you made a mistake. You were talking about personal responsibility in another comment here… take personal responsibility for being human and making a simple mistake.

                    • Ah, thank you for the clarity. No, not Yakima, WA.

                    • I believe that CACS acknowledged a data retrieval error on the naming. Excessive obsessive demands on a minor detail — especially after you have already acknowledged the main point at issue, the existence of hyperallergenic persons — borders on trolling.

                      At the very least, it bespeaks a lack of ability to evaluate priorities and focus on the crux of an argument.

                    • CW — CA is NOT a journalist. She was passing along an anecdote, not a report. As someone who thought John Denver and Bob Dylan were the same person (short name, D name) I don’t think she’s denying some confusion as to cities, in fact she said that in her first comment. Non professionals don’t carry notebooks to write this stuff in.

                    • I don’t have a notebook either.

                      As I said, I don’t relate parts of stories that I am not certain of. If I was telling that story and unclear on the name of the city whose EMS had to be trained to a higher level due to this incident, I’d have (a) researched whether the city I thought it was on a reasonable route between the origin and destination, (b) specified that “I can’t remember the name of the city,” and/or (c) simply left that part out.

                      The point is, the part about the Yakima first responders was clearly added as an attempt to say, “this is a really big problem.” It could have been left out or written another way, easily.

                      The fact that the story itself wasn’t considered to be sufficient, that the author felt the need to add that little tidbit about Yakima EMS getting additional training, made my bump of trouble itch. And it still itches. Why was that additional fillip felt to be necessary? And if you’re going to add that additional fillip, couldn’t you at least do the homework to make sure it’s accurate?

                      Enough. I am exiting this thread for good.

                    • Alternatively, sometimes a comment is just something hastily written in an attempt to add to a conversation some perspective that had been missing. This is especially commonly the case when the commenter is somebody who regularly engages in discussions here and yet makes only the one comment on a particular day.

                      Hectoring somebody over an irrelevancy can seem rude, nicht wahr?

                      Rumour has it that some of the people participating here have lives beyond the internet. I wouldn’t know, myself.

                    • Yakima is a really odd detail to throw in on mistake.

                      I can actually think of a possible path, assuming the goal was in far south-east Wyoming, but the breach of manners lies in when you get a detail wrong or think you’ve mis-remembered it, you say “oops, not sure about that” or “oy, I meant OMAHA!
                      Once the mistake is flatly surrendered, then it’s rude to keep harping on it. (barring reason to think that the claim was a tactical “mistake” as part of a pattern of behavior, bu that’s not a thing, here)

                      It isn’t rude to keep picking at something that doesn’t make sense when the other side is defending it and making accusations of bad faith for noticing an incongruity. Humans are odd, when you attack them for noticing something that doesn’t look right, they tend to think you’re defending something besides a totally unrelated point.

                    • was clearly added as an attempt to say, “this is a really big problem.”

                      No, it was not, you have misinterpreted my intention. I did not ‘add’ the detail to provide weight or with the intention to manipulate anyone. I simply mis-recalled the name of the city. No, I did not research by looking at a map. If I had I would have realized that my memory was faulty. (Do you research the details of every memory you have?) The incident was not made up, if it had been I can assure you that I could have done a much better job.

                    • Oh take me home, Highway 61, …

                • I think that CW being a journalist has created professional deformation, CA.

                  Also, if it was ten years ago, then they KNEW there were peanuts all over (not the two or three in a packet someone bought on the way in) so (possible from the story) they either didn’t know the kid was allergic OR they were criminally negligent in not taking an epi pen.

                  • IIRC the anecdote was offered as evidence for existence of such hyperallergenic conditions, not as demand that society contort itself to accommodate such persons.

                    Knowing the family I am confident that they never traveled without epi pens, nor that they would expect all passengers on a flight to eschew peanuts, merely that they exercise care in handling.

                    • Yes, there are hyper-allergic people. I have some issue believing in the allergy to “one peanut in the whole flight” — but not in “allergy to everyone in the plane munching on peanuts.”

                      I only knew ONE person deathly allergic to peanuts (in the whole time) and not only didn’t he travel with epipen (or have one) BUT he would casually munch on home made stuff, WITHOUT ASKING what was in it. Almost managed to kill himself at one of our parties (and I HAD little cards labeling things with peanuts, because I knew he was coming) then demanded something carbonated to rinse his mouth with (which btw at the time, in our house was a bottle of champagne we’d been saving. We were broke, no money for carbonated beverages.) I have clue zero HOW allergic he truly was, or what. We no longer associate with him. The whole thing left a very bad taste in my mouth, though. He truly expected NO ONE would cook stuff he was allergic to for a house party. (Shrug.)

                      Of course that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who are allergic and responsible.

                      Again, we have issues with carbs (me because of eczema, Dan because of pre-diabetic metabolism) so we travel NORMALLY with walnuts or almonds — so if we can’t find anything to eat, etc we’re not making mistakes through being starved and such. Normally, for that matter, unless it’s a red eye flight and we left on an empty stomach, we eat them on layover. — it’s just sometimes the fun cruise lines of the airlines shuttle us around so much we run out of our normal stuff and end up having to get the mixes at the airport which, almost always, contain peanuts. (Cheaper.)

                  • This acquaintance was the one who taught me the value and importance of epi-pens. After a troubled pregnancy, a very difficult infancy and following an ambulance certain she would not see him alive again when he was two, she was a strong advocate of taking personal responsibility. The boy also could not consume dairy or eggs, but that has been easier to manage in many ways. The woman learned how to bake a wide range of pretty good breads. This family had never demanded that the rest of the world conform to his limitations, it would never have occurred to them to do so. (And, the last I knew, they still treated the world as if peanuts were are over.)

                    • Yeah. Robert is allergic to fructose. We’re just VERY good at reading EVERYTHING on a label… I mean, the world is what it is, we just live in it.

                    • Re: Robert’s allergy to fructose –

                      Given how much HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) makes its way into every kind of processed food in America, Robert’s a shoo-in for the Paleo Diet, isn’t he?

                      OTOH, given that it appears to be fructose that’s the principal driver behind carbs making you fat (this 30-minute segment from a UCSF prof presents the biochemistry pretty well, though do note that I DON’T agree with the solution he hints at, government control of fructose), Robert’s also not likely to suffer from obesity or Type II diabetes.

                      For those who don’t want to spend half an hour watching a biochem lecture, the cliff’s notes: he says that while glucose can be used by every cell in the body, and so very little of it ends up as fat unless you’re really, really sedentary, fructose can only be processed by the liver, so a huge portion of the fructose you take in turns directly into lipids (fat). And since sucrose (what your regular white sugar is made from) is a molecule consisting of one glucose ring attached to one fructose ring by a thin chain (one that the intestine is designed to break apart in two minutes flat), that means that of the sugar you eat, 50% turns into fructose, and most of that 50% then turns into fat. Starch, however, is a bunch of glucose chains with no fructose, and so very little starch turns into fat (unless your caloric intake exceeds your caloric output, in which case the First Law of Thermodynamics is gonna getcha).

                      This explains something that had puzzled me for years: advocates of low-carb diets like the Atkins or Paleo diets were always saying that all carbs are bad, and yet in Asian cultures where they eat tons of rice and have done so for centuries (in modern Japan the average person eats 65 kg of rice per year; fifty years ago they ate twice that much rice per year), there have been very few obese people until the past few decades, when sugar consumption took off. I always wondered why that would be if all carbs were bad — but if it’s fructose that’s the real killer, as that UCSF professor claims, then that explains all the evidence I’ve seen so far.

                    • Actually Robert has problems with ALL carbs. Individual metabolisms differ enormously.

                    • In our health groups, we tell each other to stay away from high fructose (or any fructose) if possible. High fructose with prednisone is a sure fire way to go straight into diabetes especially when you have to take such high dosages (20-100 mg) for long periods. I am starting to wean off of 5 mg and have been on prednisone for ten years.

  17. I would wager that just like we are expected to obey gun laws written by Politicians who don’t know squat about guns, we get anti-pet laws written by Politicians who have never raised an animal.

  18. Reality does not care about Your Intentions — like V: “I have not come for what you hoped to do; I have come for what you *did*.” Mercy? Take that up with the Large Ill-Tempered Fish who just turned your dive buddy into a hot lunch.

    Society should operate on similar principles — any attempt to do otherwise… well, I think we can all see the results of such arrant idiocy.

  19. In my wife’s case, she DOES have a general nut allergy. Can deal with tiny bits of almond, but other nuts, especially walnuts – BAD to actually eat.

    The thing is, she has to actually eat it, and is careful of candies that may have nuts – so she has spit out pieces of nuts within chocolate, etc. with no ill effect. People eating nuts around her – no real problem.

    Peanut butter DOES have one issue – opening a jar gets the smell – along with some of the components she’s allergic to – everywhere in the immediate enclosed space. In a house, she can dodge into another room. In an airplane, not so much. She carries an epipen on trips.

    • Well, we don’t travel with a jar of peanut butter. But it’s been known to happen that on an airport the only thing available is nut mixture (we have been shuttled all over the country for 48 hours, while flying back from TN on what should be a single flight) that you can grab and take because you weren’t allowed time to eat if you wanted to catch the flight out, say. And that has peanuts.

      It is actually different in terms of particulates in the air and while I could see, say wiping one’s hand on the armrest that the next passenger touches — we don’t DO that.

      And yes — in the same way that eating sugars/carbs can cause me issues (mostly eczema outbreaks, but those who’ve seen me in one (say, liberty con last year) know exactly what that means — over something like 90% of my body and takes months to subside again) and so we make provision, an epipen makes provision. Yes, I do realize not every parent will think about it. Nor will every adult. BUT if the problem were widespread they WOULD search people for nuts. They search us for far more ridiculous things. (They confiscate people’s bananas for crying out loud, because they’re fractionally radioactive, including the banana of a diabetic young lady we know, who was taking it in case her sugar crashed [type on diabetes. She has to manage it.]) So it’s not like it would be terribly difficult.

      • A girl I met through The Daughter’s choice to make Anime Club our mother/daughter activity is severely (not hyper) allergic to a number of things, including peanuts. She would complain vociferously about her allergies and ask that we accommodate her. I asked her if she kept her epi-pen on hand and to my surprise she said it was probably out of date. I was astonished. Probably? All this concern and she did not even make sure that she had what she could do to take care of herself in an emergency!

        Where does individual/personal responsibility enter into the equation? Most of us here would argue: First. This is part of the problem I see. So, just to add more fuel to this fire, because some people can’t see that their children play on the play ground equipment properly their will be none upon which to play. You just can’t idiot proof the world.

        • This is not my day: …equipment properly there will be …

        • “You just can’t idiot proof the world.”

          And if you do, they’ll just come up with more ingenious idiots.

        • Just a note since everybody is going on about epipens being out of date. I am a allergic to bees and used to carry an epipen (I don’t any more because Idaho bees don’t bother me, and even with coastal bees Benadryl was always sufficient to dull the reaction where an epipen was unnecessary) I had my doctor tell me to NOT pay attention to the expiration date on the epipen. He said that it was put on there by the manufacture for two reasons 1)liability, in case someone used a bad one that was outdated 2)to sell new epipens every couple years. He said that it is light that degrades the epinephrin, and you will not that epipens or their older normal syringe equivalents were always in lightproof cases. According to him they will last almost indefinitly if kept out of direct light, and as long as the liquid is still clear they are good, regardless of the expiration date.

  20. Don’t know if anyone will read this, it’s next day and I came in to work on day off to check the internet, my computer has Error 17 again.

    Some schools are banning healthy students from eating peanuts and peanut products at home because they theoretically might breathe on allergic student and cause reaction.

    My dad almost got killed by a VA doctor who injected him with Pennicillin deliberately ignoring the allergy notice on his records. Doctor said he never bothered with allergies just to “keep somebody from breaking out in a little rash.”

    Someone who comes in to the warehouse occasionally, a contractor who works in Afghanistan for months at a time, brings in his Pit Bull. The dog was born in a dogfighting pen and as he did not show the agressiveness and nastiness the fight stagers wanted, they sicced the other dogs on him. His face is hideously scarred. He’s a very sweet and mild-mannered dog, and comes over to me for pets and to hang around with me. The only thing is, he doesn’t pant, the Pit Bull metabolism and short hair seems to make it unneccessary. But in any other dog, the non-panting is a signal of fear or anger or readiness to attack, and I think that’s one problem well-trained Pit Bulls have, people unconsciously pick up the non-panting as a danger signal without any conscious predjudice against the breed.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      How do they propose to enforce this no-nut-eating ban? Do they have a “nut breathalyzer”? (Oh, the potential puns in that phrase)

  21. If mercy is the yin, then justice is the yang. Another illustration of how out of balance a society becomes when progs take over.

  22. I met a pit bull breeder when I was in South Africa. We went to visit and I was terrified. I guess one of the dogs realized it, and sat in front of my legs. My hostess laughed and told me how to pet the dog. I guess it was the grand dame dog that decided that I needed to be consoled. They were sweet, lovely dogs in that house. I have seen and experienced Pit bull dogs who weren’t. Usually it was because the owner’s couldn’t handle the dogs, were not well-trained, or were trained to be aggressive.

  23. There are real issues with allergies and Epi-Pens – metro Seattle (Mercer Island more specifically) had a mild fuss when a school child died subject to regulations.

    Correspondent Lee Hochberg of Oregon Public Broadcasting reports: “…In November, Kastner-Klinck’s 12-year-old daughter Kristine, deathly allergic to peanuts, ingested peanut fragments in a cookie. Her throat constricted. The only treatment is an injection of epinephrine, from a device called an EpiPen…..Paramedics showed up eight minutes after the first EMT had arrived, but the girl’s heart had stopped. Her family believes those eight minutes cost her life. Mercer Island fire commander Al Provost says his EMT’s were hampered by the law….”

    Surprisingly enough there’s a market, in a sense, solution to flying with medical issues and short notice flights frex google Angel Flight West:

    “The Colorado Wing of Angel Flight West is a volunteer organization which assists with free air transportation services in response to health care and other compelling human needs. We have transported patients to hospitals, families to loved ones in need and donor tissue throughout Colorado and the surrounding states.”

    • Actually when I was deathly ill and had to fly, my caretakers talked to the airline and made sure that airline knew that I had to have someone take care of me. There were two other people who were also traveling with the other conditions. The airline put us in the same row near the airline attendants– so arrangements can be made before the flight. Also–near the safety equipment. ;-)

  24. [Having waded through a veritable plantation of peanuts, I finally get to grace you with my original response to the post:]

    To quote a many-centuries-old rabbinic saying: “He who is merciful to the cruel ends up being cruel to the merciful.”

    Gee, it’s almost as if we could learn a thing or two from the ancients. I know, crazy talk…

  25. Review the comments:

    … when my acquaintance still lived in Wyoming the Yakima first responders got a higher level of certification

    Which clearly indicates the writer was thinking of Yakima as the Wyoming locality in which the friend lived; CACS could as easily have written “local” — the detail is largely irrelevant to the tale. As I have noted, I also knew the family (worked with the father) and was familiar with the story.

    Note also that CW misinterprets the citation of Yakima as indicating the family traveled through Yakima to get to Wyoming:

    I just ran a search of Orbitz for flights … from NC to WY, expanding the search to airports within 80 miles, and in no case did they go through Washington State, where they would have to have gone through in order to involve Yakima first responders.

    CW compounded that error by asserting it as a major weakness in the testimony about knowing just such a hyperallergic individual, in spite of corroborating testimony to the underlying validity of the tale.

    Perhaps CACS ought have acknowledged the data retrieval / typing error, but it is also likely that CACS misunderstood CW’s focus, given that the detail was so incidental to the anecdote. Perhaps had CW given less indication of eagerness to count coup and more interest in the underlying evidence, that confusion would have been alleviated.

    It is not CW’s initial questioning I was noting, but the persistence in hectoring somebody about a trivial detail — especially having accepted that the child exists and had legitimate cause for air travel. Obsessive focus on minor details sometimes causes people to miss the bigger picture. Hectoring somebody like an attorney performing a cross examination seemed a response out of proportion, at least to me. Playing CW’s game, I suppose, I would be free to speculate why CW was doing that; I prefer to think it a misunderstanding.

    • From the comment, it is not explicit who is the acquaintance; since the grandmother was mentioned to live in Wyoming, and grandmother, daughter and daughter’s son– AKA “the boy”– were all previous subjects to which “acquaintance” could refer, and the daughter and her son were mentioned as living in Asheboro NC, there’s no reason not to believe that the certification happened in the course of a trip to visit the grandmother.

      The grandmother being the friend is also applied by “acquaintance” being singular, when daughter and son would be plural.

      Perhaps had CW given less indication of eagerness to count coup and more interest in the underlying evidence, that confusion would have been alleviated.

      The irony is painful.

      CACS made either a silly mistake or a false claim, CW pointed it out and asked for an expatiation, you jumped in and said it was probably a mistake but you knew “the family” and didn’t know what city was certified by the kid’s attack, things are fine until CACS jumps in defending the initial claim with “Who said a direct flight? No they had to go through from PTI through Chicago …” (seemingly in response to PhyCon’s content, but posted in response to CW)
      CW points out that Chicago is also not near south-central Washington.
      CACS then says the destination wasn’t sure.
      CW points out prior comments, then repeats your earlier suggestion.
      CACS gets angry and, basically, bats aside a reasonable, simple alternative again, doubles down again.
      CW points out the basic point. Again.
      CACS goes “Ah, thank you for the clarity. No, not Yakima, WA.”
      You jump in and say that CACS admitted error and proceed to jump down CW’s throat, accusing CW of trolling for a comment made at the start of the conversation and of obsessing over a detail, our host tries to cool it down, CW explains a personal interest in the detail, you make an accusation of rudeness after the person you’re supposedly defending has already thanked the one you’re accusing of rudeness for the clarity they displayed.

      You are the one that keeps dragging the topic on. And on. And on, even after you managed to drive CW off of the page entirely.

      • And yes, I did go and page through the @#$@#WE@Q

        • Frankly it was a not a comedy of errors, rather a traded. I thank you for you kind effort to clarify how things looked to an outside observer.

          When I initially responded to CW the problem I had not noted the objection was to the city cited, but rather to the assertion that he had checked, there was no flights from point A to point B and that therefore I was probably relating a fabrication. (Yes, I did get angry, which is never good for clear communication.) If I had originally noticed that his issue was the dumb stupid mistake I had made in recalling the city..

          I really do not wish to drive anyone away. I have enjoyed many of CW posts in the past. My apologies to you all, and particularly to the host for any trouble this has caused.

          • I really do not wish to drive anyone away. I have enjoyed many of CW posts in the past. My apologies to you all, and particularly to the host for any trouble this has caused.

            Heck, you thanked CW, once things got straightened out. It was over. Then it got unstraightened in an over-zeal of defense, with the most vicious attack coming after CW had already left.

            No idea what’s up, but I expect things to go back to relative sanity soon. Part of why I did the long re-count was to get the step by step clear chronologically. It looks like there was some mixing of who said what, and responding to posts after they’d been responded to four or five times and everything cleared up.

          • My bad. Sorry further correction to another person’s object to the flight issue …

            I could clairify the family time line, but at this point it would be unconstructive.

      • For goodness sake.

        Classifying an obvious data retrieval error as “silly” or “a false claim” is egregious and prejudicial.

        You said you reviewed the thread, look again at the initial comment from CACS: An acquaintance had to travel by air from NC to Wyoming with her hyper allergic son. Period. “Back when” clearly indicates a period prior to the air travel.

        Less than adroitly phrased, sure. Perhaps because I know the family involved I had an easier time interpreting, but the effort you & CW went to for an alternative interpretation strains credulity. Grandmother still lives in Wyoming at the time of the travel, clearly. Similarly, daughter and son had to travel there from NC. That is the critical point. Sometimes people with hyper allergic conditions are compelled to travel. Again, PERIOD. No pleading for acceptance of rules, no excuses for imposing on others, simply an attestation that some people are indeed at risk of death from peanut and these people sometimes are forced to travel by air.

        The parenthetical remark was merely an incidental statement, primarily praising the local first responders for their effort and consideration. Interpreting it as more than that requires an effort.

        CW convolutedly intepreted the parenthetical remark as indicating the travel routed through Washington. I corrected the misimpression. That is where the matter should have ended, because no further exploration would be relevant to the issue of hyper allergic persons.

        Your characterization of my added information as “jumped in” is, again, needlessly perjorative and prejudicial.

        CACS clearly misunderstood CW’s complaint, focusing on the Orbitz search for a direct flight, NC to WY, missing the complaint about Yakima — else the response would have made no sense, for the reason noted by CW that Washington is not en route.

        CW’s response, offering CACS what you term “a reasonable, simple alternative” was, in fact, insulting — “be an adult” — and hectoring, as were CW’s advice that CACS “man up” and “take personal responsibility.”

        AGAIN, you prejudicially characterize my comment about CW’s manner of interrogation as “jump[ing] in” and “jump[ing] down CW’s throat” and then proceed to mischaracterize my criticism; it was CW’s repeated “[e]xcessive obsessive demands on a minor detail” which I characterized as trolling — “borders on trolling” does NOT equal “accusing … of trolling.” It is a caution that perhaps somebody has gotten a bit excessive and might want to dial it back.

        I maintain that hectoring a person over irrelevant detail is rude. I notice you did not rebut that idea.

        As for my driving CW off the page; sorry, such was in no way my intent. Perhaps, other than minor obsession over irrelevant details resulting from sloppy reading CW felt they had nothing more to contribute to the broader topic? I would certainly have been interested in any pertinent observations they might have made and had exchanged comments pleasantly with CW eleswhere this page.

        As for who keeps “dragging the topic on”, Foxfier — that would have been you, except that I opted to respond to your comment. (Which, I guess, makes me “it” this round; do you really think there’s more that need be said here, and that you can phrase your points with sufficient clarity and absence of prejudicial mischaracterization as to avoid my being compelled to reply?)

        (My, it is getting deep in here.)

        • Classifying an obvious data retrieval error as “silly” or “a false claim” is egregious and prejudicial.

          So it’s gone from being “likely CACS erred in remembering the cities in question” to being an “obvious data retrieval error.”

          And yes, stating YAKIMA on accident is a silly mistake. Editing out that second word in the description is, to take your phrase, egregious and prejudicial.

          A claim that is mistaken on a point of fact is going to be false. Please note, I didn’t say “deliberately misleading” or any other such thing.

          Why the heck are you picking fights?

          • Oh dear – I perceive my error. In the context of the overall discussion — which you said you had read — I think it had become obvious — clearly agreed by all parties — that the mistake was a consequence of memory and hasty typing. HENCE, a “data retrieval error” as opposed to a typo. That it was a mistake was conceded, therefore it I focused on the modifying adjective.

            But I am glad you acknowledge the existence of egregious and prejudicial phrasing.

            I do wonder why the heck you have “jumped in” and are “picking fights.” Or do you perceive no irony nor responsibility for this continuing?

            • Oh dear – I perceive my error. In the context of the overall discussion — which you said you had read — I think it had become obvious — clearly agreed by all parties — that the mistake was a consequence of memory and hasty typing.

              Goodness, you’re just not fit company today, are you?

              Assuming the venom dripping into your keyboard doesn’t short it out, you might go read the step by step breakdown of the conversation and find that I pointed that out, and that YOU are the only one who can’t seem to keep things straight. CACS eventually, and very politely, agreed that it was a mistaken memory– and thanked CW for the clarity. Then you started throwing a fit.

              No idea what your problem is, but I’m quite done with being accused of your faults.

              • Alas, for my wasted time, I did indeed read your step-by-step breakdown and rebutted it, point by point. Your saying a thing does not make it fact, in spite of what you may have been taught.

                As for venom, I think it is you what are projecting. Certainly I’ve thrown no fits, merely urged more attentiveness to how one phrases things — a problem I expect we all share. For example, I think I have kept the matter quite straight and that you are the one interpretively challenged. Given you reliance on pejorative phrasing of points made, it seems to me you made quite an effort to slant the interpretation.

                Nearly every comment I make hereabouts is made with tongue well in cheek. I don’t know what got your knickers twisted today, but I noticed your objection to a joke about teachers being equivalent to horses’ asses, so perhaps you left your sense of humour in your other suit today?

                In my experience, when somebody points at another as not being “fit for company”, there are four digits pointing back at the one passing judgement.

        • And no, the statement was not “my acquaintance had to travel with her son.”
          I was:
          Consider they may be traveling from Asheboro NC headed to Wyoming because grandma suddenly is very ill and the daughter is traveling with her hyper allergic son — sorry I know of this happening. (Back when my acquaintance still lived in Wyoming the Yakima first responders got a higher level of certification after the boy almost died…)

          Daughter and grandson going from NC to WY because grandma is sick, daughter is with grandson. Acquaintance lived in WY at the time grandson nearly died in Yakima.

          “Back when” clearly indicates a period prior to the air travel.

          No, it indicates a time prior to the acquaintance moving out of WY. (Or dying, depending on how delicate one is being.)

          Your characterization of my added information as “jumped in” is, again, needlessly perjorative and prejudicial.

          You’re projecting. Again. Just like you assumed “silly” was meant as characterizing a fool, rather than something trivial, you’re assuming that “jumped in” is a BAD thing. Jumping in to prevent a misunderstanding is a good thing. “Jumping in” just means that you take quick and obvious action.

          CACS clearly misunderstood CW’s complaint, focusing on the Orbitz search for a direct flight, NC to WY, missing the complaint about Yakima — else the response would have made no sense, for the reason noted by CW that Washington is not en route.

          CW didn’t search for a direct flight. CW searched for flights with stop-overs in Washington. PhyCon pointed out that there were no direct flights.

          • I think we can, for the sake of not prolonging this discussion, agree to disagree on certain points.

            I think “silly” characterizes an mistake as “showing a lack of common sense or judgment; foolish” — you choose to interpret it as “trivial”; I maintain it is an unnecessary modifier, and think the dictionary supports my characterization but am willing to acknowledge you may have not intended a pejorative colouration.

            Similarly, I view “jump in” as indicating hasty and unnecessary action, but the dictionary doesn’t provide much interpretation for this idom, so perhaps your meaning was innocent, in which case I recommend you be less quick to jump in and argue without careful consideration of how your phrases are likely to be read in context.

            Your interpretation of “Back when” is, to put it bluntly, forced and illogical. Subsequent statements by CACS clarified that, as you are aware, having reread the entire thread carefully.

            Just so did the issue of “Direct Flight” get clarified as part of the overall confusion engendered by WP’s method of nesting comments. But your point is noted and I admit my reference to a “direct flight” in that context was an error.

  26. Holy Crap! Just let it go!

    • I am sorry for getting the New Year off to such a bad start. Anyway: Happy New Year everyone, may this prove to be a kind a gentle one for us all.