From the desk of author Michael Solomon

Michael Solomon was a 15-year veteran of the New York City Police Department and served  in its drug enforcement division, receiving well over a dozen awards for his excellent service
Date: October 23, 2007   Vol. 2 2- Issue 16

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

That line recited by Forest Gump, (Tom Hanks) in the movie by the same name, has made me ponder how applicable it is to what many of us have considered laws that are stupid and ridiculous. Some of these laws have left me wondering if the legislator who proposed them was on drugs at the time.

Examples of some of the laws still on the books in many states are:

  • In Connecticut it is illegal to peddle your bicycle over 65-MPH. I wonder if Lance Armstrong knows about this one.

  • It is also illegal in the Nutmeg state for Fire-trucks to exceed 25-MPH, even if responding to an emergency.

  • In Michigan, it is illegal to sell a car on Sundays. Do they know that in Detroit?

  • Do not get caught driving your car under the influence of alcohol in the Garden State of New Jersey, you may have to surrender your vanity license plates.

  • In Mesquite, Texas, your child is forbidden to have his head shaved. However, it is legal to tattoo a yellow rose on your forehead.

  • If you are an atheist, do not move to Vermont. It is illegal to deny the existence of God. Yes, I did say Vermont.

  • Massachusetts does not allow witches. The law does not mention Warlocks. Sounds a little gender bias to me.

I was attending a conference in Fairfax, Virginia about 25-years-ago. I was sitting at the bar by myself having a drink when I noticed two associates of mine sitting at a table. They asked me to join them. I stood up and proceeded to their table with my drink in hand. The bartender almost tackled me before I took my second step.

"You can't move your drink," he yelled, "you must drink it at the bar or order a new one. And, you must be sitting when you drink."

The way he yelled at me, I felt like a felon. I have not drunk in Fairfax since.

These are just some of the laws that are still on the books in some states. You may think that these laws are stupid. I believe that some of them are so ridiculous they insult the intelligence of the average person. I believe these states should clean up their books. I do not know of anyone being cited for peddling their bicycle over 65 MPH in Connecticut or being arrested for eating ice cream in Alabama on Sundays. (Yes, that one is really on the books).

Frivolous lawsuits have never been more prevalent than they are today. We are becoming a nation of selfish, egocentric backbiters with nothing better to do than attack each other. The problem is that no one takes responsibility for his or her own actions. Plaintiffs who start an action are always blaming the other person for their own stupidity.

You only have to look back at Stella Liebeck who sued McDonalds Restaurants for spilling hot coffee on herself. She placed the container between her legs, removed the cover and squeezed it causing it to spill and burn her legs.

A jury awarded her $2.9 million because the coffee container did not have a warning label on it saying it contained a hot liquid. What did she think she was buying iced tea? Therefore, for being so stupid the jury made her a millionaire. Fortunately, the judge reduced the award to $400,000, which is still excessive. He should have thrown it out.

People do not take responsibility for their own actions. If you know that something is dangerous and continue to put yourself in harms way do not blame the other person when you get hurt.

If you look at the warning labels on the products that you find on store shelves today you would be amazed how irresponsible and stupid people could be. These labels almost insult your intelligence. They were placed there because of possible product liability. How stupid could a person be to believe that a Clorox disposable toilet brush could be used for personal hygiene?

Yet, the warning on the package states, "Warning not to be used for personal hygiene." Or, that the wearing a Superman costume "Does not enable the wearer to fly." The warning label on the Rowanta steam and dry iron states, "Do not iron clothes while wearing." This warning arose out of an NFL player ironing his jersey while he was wearing it. I thought most NFL players were college graduates. I guess he flunked home economics.

However, I really would like to see a stupid law on the books across America.

Here is how it would work. If you know that riding in the back of a pick-up truck is dangerous, when I hit a speed bump at 60 MPH throwing you into the grill of the 18-wheeler following behind, do not even think about calling your attorney.

Yes, there really should be a stupid law. If you act stupid, you are not allowed to sue. It is that simple. Most legislators are an attorney, that’s the problem. Do you really believe that they will pass a stupid law? Frivolous lawsuits are job security when they leave the legislature. I do not know why they wouldn't pass one. They have passed so many other stupid laws in the past, why not this one?

And, that is my opinion.

Michael Solomon

Author of 'Where Did My America Go?"


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