Wednesday, August 24, 2005


What is it about news stations that they feel they must warn us about every possible negative consequence of interacting with the world? Take for example this recent 'buyer beware' story about an 'unsafe dog leash'. The leash in question is of the kind that pays out a thin strand of strong cord as the dog pulls away but automatically pulls in the cord as the dog gets closer. In the accident being described the women lost a finger when it got caught in the cord as her dog started to chase something. It's certainly an unfortunate accident but is it really of special concern?

The fact is, any thin cord, whether it's a kite string, a fishing line or dog leash, when under sufficient strain can cut. Furthermore anytime you're attached to something with a mind of it's own, like a dog, you're in more danger than if you weren't. In this case the cord cut in a tragic fashion, but do we all want to give up using things with cords because they can cut you?

The article goes on to quote a lawyer who has sued the leash manufacturers previously for a similar accident. While the original case was settled out of court the lawyer maintains the leash manufacturer continuing culpability because they provide a warning on their packaging. If this is a legal trend I would hate to the manufacturer of sail boats with all their cords under stress from the wind or boat trailer winch manufacturers.

It's one thing for news stations to repeat basic safety mantras like don't skate on thin ice, or avoid the heat but when they get into issues as silly as this it doesn't server the public interest and only works to support the legal quagmire of safety related laws that further restrict our freedoms.

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