May 10, 2013

U…tarded? Or, Thursday Night Complaints

First, it’s a terrible idea to ban “all recreational human powered vehicles” on the University of Utah campus. I put this in the “stay off my lawn you damn kids” category of law in which stuffy people find anything that kids do annoying and hence worth making a rule about. It also would mean I theoretically could not bring my wife her lunch on my bike.

Second, why not just enforce the existing laws against, say, recklessly harming people? I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to knock people over whether you’re skateboarding, bicycling, or running on stilts – so if skaters are injuring people, campus police should give them tickets for that. Just like I should get a ticket if I run someone over with my bike, or my car, or any other vehicle. Of course, enforcing a reasonable law about not harming others would require actually paying campus police to go do it, and that’s just not as much fun as making a whole bunch of new rules.

Third, what kind of sad-sack journalist doesn’t even do the basic reporter thing and, say, call the campus police or whoever and find out how many injuries have been recorded due to skaters? We have the lone “professor injured 18 months ago” anecdote but no details, along with a bunch of inflammatory language like “careen”. It might be the case that students are being maimed daily. Or it might be that a professor got bumped, fell down, and tweaked his knee 18 months ago and all has been well since then. We don’t know, because the reporter didn’t do her job. But hey, who wants that kind of information anyway? Using data to make decisions? That’s crazy talk!

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