“the fact that it was a national story at all shows that we can’t seem to tell the difference between one stupid accident and a terrifying trend that we must do something about immediately.”

December 28th, 2011

From the WSJ a call to not overreact to isolated slipups:

This collective decision not to distinguish between rare screw-ups and systemic dangers is turning us into neurotic Nellies who worry about, warn against and, finally, outlaw very safe things. My favorite recall from the Consumer Product Safety Commission a few years back concerned a chair that had a screw protruding from the underside. While the commission reported that there had been “no reports of injuries to humans,” there had been “one report of a dog’s fur becoming entangled in the screw.”

Call my lawyer! When a twisted tuft is enough to prompt a 20,000-chair recall, that’s setting the safety bar pretty high.

The bar gets set even higher when a human being is hurt. Consider the fact that this past year a Toronto grammar school outlawed all balls on its playground except the soft Nerf kind, after an adult was hit in the head by an errant soccer ball and suffered a concussion.

Concussions are nothing to sneeze at. Neither is the idea of kids standing around during recess. You could argue that if kids don’t get the chance to toss a ball around, they themselves are at risk of everything from depression to obesity to Kinetic Fun Deficit Disorder. (Okay, I made that one up.)

Play, like life, comes with the possibility that someone may get hurt. When we overreact to that possibility, the only acceptable activity left is to sit on a chair and wait to die. And let’s just hope that chair that doesn’t have a screw protruding underneath.

The Toronto school eventually got its balls back after parents protested. But there are schools around our country that do not allow running, or tag or playing in the snow, for the same reason: Something terrible once happened to someone

I think this is sage advice:

So if you want to enjoy a happier, healthier 2012, it’s very easy. Just ignore the temptation to overreact to minuscule threats . . . and have a shot of whatever that toddler was drinking.