Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

June 30, 2007

New Laws Coming On Sunday

by Brad Warbiany

I just came across a story with a headline about “Hundreds” of new laws that will be taking effect in various states on July 1. Most of them are fairly innocuous attacks on liberty, that will stagnate economies and generally raise consumer prices, like most of government:

Among them are new efforts to encourage alternative energy in Nevada and Minnesota, tougher rules against illegal immigrants in Georgia and Idaho, and a higher minimum wage in several states.

Encourage? Yeah, they encourage by regulating or taxing, not calm persuasion. And I’m sure the immigration rules in Georgia and Idaho, and the higher minimum wages, will just do wonders for the economies of those states…

But one bit caught my ire, in only the way that seat belt and helmet laws can. And like those laws, this one will be cheered from the rooftops about how wonderful government legislation can be:

- As a deadly tornado bore down on southwestern Indiana in 2005, the National Weather Service issued a radio warning urging people in the twister’s path to seek shelter. But many of the most vulnerable residents didn’t hear the alert because they had no radios equipped to receive it. That will change Sunday when Indiana enacts a law requiring mobile homes to have weather radios.

“My family would be here had I known that weather radios existed,” said Kathryn Martin, who pushed heavily for the reform after the tornado shattered the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park and killed dozens of people, including three of her relatives.

Bruce Savage, an institute spokesman, said tornadoes do not discriminate between buildings.

“They certainly could have benefited from a weather radio,” Savage said of the students who died. “So why not make the bill really cover and provide adequate warning to everybody?”

Martin said she doesn’t understand resistance to making weather radios a requirement. “You have to know that the storm is coming,” she said.

Like seat belts and helmets, I’ve got nothing against weather radios. And if I lived a mobile home, I’d gladly trade the paltry $30 for a radio. But I’m not willing to trade freedom for that radio.

The fact that Kathryn Martin can’t understand why there’s resistance to making this a requirement speaks a lot to what our kids are being taught in public schools. And it sure isn’t a good story.

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  • Nick M

    Let’s not forget that the f’ing radio has to have charged batteries and be turned on as well to be of any use. That’s it, from now on, all homes in Indiana must be equipped with a PA system with speakers in all rooms. This PA system must be on at all times and have battery or automatic start generator back-up for when the power goes out. It must be tuned to the weather alert frequency at all times, even on sunny, clear blue days. It’s okay, you’ll get used to it, and besides, it for your own good, and especially for your children.

  • trumpetbob15

    How long do you think it will take before Indiana bans iPods? How many citizens were in their cars that fateful day, cruising along to the music on their iPod, not knowing that disaster was going to strike and they would miss it because they were listening to MP3s and not their local radio station? What about XM and Sirius? Without commercials, do they have weather announcements? How far will this go?

    Thanks Brad for pointing out just another example of a government “solution” just leading to the need for more “solutions.”

  • Mark T

    “My family would be here had I known that weather radios existed,” says Ms. Martin.

    Oh, please! I find it hard to believe that she didn’t know of the existence of weather radios. Even if she didn’t, there are enough radio and television stations that carry weather alerts to notify anyone who is paying attention. If the weather could get severe, keep a radio or TV on.

    The Indiana legislature “ensures the safety” of mobile home residents by requiring radios at no cost to the state treasury. I’m sure they feel good, having “solved” this problem. So we shouldn’t hear about any more deaths due to severe weather in mobile homes in Indiana. Right?

    Nick’s right: you could hand deliver a weather radio & batteries to every mobile home in Indiana, but you cannot ensure that it is operational when the next twister blows through

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