Thursday, March 23, 2006

Maryland--No Longer the Free State

Are Maryland Democrats really so pompous as to believe that they can pass even the most asinine legislation, in an election year, that creates a nanny state? Last month, I brought you what I thought was one of the dumbest bills working its way through the Maryland legislature requiring everyone on a boat, no matter what, to be wearing a life vest at all times. Apparently, the Maryland General Assembly has found a way to sink to new lows of "Nanny State-ism." Currently under consideration in the Maryland Senate is a bill that would require all little league baseball and softball players to wear state approved face masks and eye-guards!!!

According to the Balimore Sun,
"We're telling 8- and 9-year-olds that when a ball is coming at you 50, 60, 65 miles per hour, if you get out of the way, great. If not, and it takes your eye out, that's the way it goes," said Sen. James Brochin, Democrat of Baltimore County.

And so it went for nearly an hour, a debate in which seasoned senators spoke out like ordinary mothers and fathers and grandparents.

Under the proposed law, the state's Health and Mental Hygiene Department would dictate the types of safety equipment that youth baseball leagues throughout Maryland would have to use in play.

Though the specific safety gear is up for discussion, high on the priority list are face masks for batters and protective goggles for fielders.
The reason for the bill is arguably that such protective gear would cut down on injuries to young athletes. Admittedly a noble cause, but in doing so do we take the fun out of the game? If a kid gets hurt in a game, most often the injury is minor, it heals and the child learns a lesson, he or she may even carry the bruise around with pride.

I played soccer as a kid and would get some pretty nasty scrapes on my legs, including some really bad ones on my upper thighs from slide tackling. I would show these off with pride. I know, it is stupid when I look back on it, but it was part of the game. Injuries happen and modern safety equipment has helped prevent some injuries and certainly lessen the impact of many others, you cannot legislate out risk.

If parents want to protect their child a little more, fine, make face masks and eye guards available, some will buy them. But to make it mandatory just tells parents that the state knows better than they how to protect their children and if need be the state will protect kids from their parents.

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