Friday, March 09, 2007

Prometheus

Today's news coverage -- US and Minnesota -- included stories about house fires in the Bronx/New York City and Landfall, Minnesota. In the Bronx 8 out 9 children involved in a fire died and in Landfall a father saved one child but ultimately died in the fire with his wife and son. Both tragic stories especially given our modern housing codes which have reduced the volume of fires in American society to historic low levels -- so low in fact that I have seen fire departments (labor unions) fight for control over the provision of paramedic services to keep employees on the payroll (and paying union dues of course!).

Our local newspaper included a table of statistics entitled, "Most Common Causes of Home Fires", for 2006 which included the following results:

CAUSE PERCENTAGE OF FIRES

Cooking 26.4%
Heating 11.4
Incendiary/Suspicious 5.7
Open flame 5.4
Other heat 4.1
Exposure 2.6
Smoking 2.1
Appliance/AC 1.9
Natural 1.9
Electrical 1.0
Other equipment 0.6
Children playing 0.4

SOURCE: US Fire Administration - US Department of Homeland Security

Silly me, I thought Homeland Security was focused on fighting terrorism but hey, anything to keep us safe right? :-)

When I saw this list of Causes of Fire the "Smoking - 2.1%" line item coming in at #7 overall caught my attention given the ever increasing amount of public smoking bans in the USA and Europe. Now I don't use tobacco products at all but I love freedom for everyone as long as they don't affect my life and family but I have to wonder if government bans on public smoking will increase smoking at home as noted in this study --

http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=7&storycode=54426&c=1

which might then lead to an increase in home fires caused by smoking. So if that is the case are the societal objectives of reducing smoking/reducing home fires enough justification for the government to insert itself into our homes to regulate smoking to "protect the children" ?

However, based on the chart noted above "cooking" is the true villain when it comes to home fires so perhaps we should ban home cooking thus forcing everyone to eat in restaurants every day?

Crazy indeed but there is always a slippery slope when it comes to government regulation thus we never know where the government's reach will end. Public education is a great example since the government takes our children for Kindergarten (K) then gives them back to us after they graduate from high school but now the push is for creating all day "pre-K" programs -- so why don't we just have public school teachers show up in the delivery room when our children are born? Yea, that would improve the world for everyone (heavy sarcasm inserted here).

Eat sandwiches,

Todd

PS - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus -- in case you were wondering ;-)

1 comment:

jdsqrd said...

That's "FRONKEN-STEEN!"