The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How dumb are we?

I am not going to go into politics today even though it is Political Saturday again.

From time to time, I see some really stupid things done by people. I am sure they have very good reasons some of the time, other times they seem to have no idea why they did whatever it was. Like a child who does something an adult thinks is dumb and the child answers the "why did you do that?" question with "I dunno..."

Here's an example of something that, to me, made very little sense.

Calm Man Successfully Buys TV And Denies Walmart Receipt Checkers

I became even more puzzled as I read the comments and there were a lot of comments. The man felt he was standing up for his rights. And, if the law is as he says (I have no reason to doubt him), he was on solid legal ground. But you don't do things simply because they are legal, do you? Don't you also consider how your actions, legal or not, impact others? I try to.

In the above case, the man was asked to show his receipt for the TV he had just purchased. He refused. He did it quite politely, it appears, not an "in your face" protest. But he apparently did not care why Wal-Mart had the policy to ask for the receipt. It is to prevent someone from picking up such an item and just walking out of the store. Actually, I think it is to discourage that kind of theft. If you do not think that kind of theft happens, you would be wrong. I had two friends in junior high who walked into a J.C. Penny's, picked up a 19" table model TV and walked out with it. That would be around 1960. Two 13 year olds just toted a stolen TV out of the store. They walked it to the middle of the shopping center, sat with it for about 15 minutes and then carried it back in and put it back where they had "found" it. It was rare show of audacity for that time period.

He saved himself no time, no effort, and proved nothing that I can figure out. I see a number of stores who tape the receipt to the item. That way, the employee at the door can easily see it. Perhaps Wal-Marts in Virginia might consider doing that in the future.

I think he wasted his time in a sort of Quixotic exercise. We don't have a law here in Florida which says stores can't ask for receipts and I have been asked for mine from time to time. You cannot leave a Sam's Club without showing your receipt, for example. I have no problem with it so long as the employee does not treat me disrespectfully or rudely while asking for it. I understand the reasons behind the policy. This customer was exerting, rightfully, his right under the law. But the law also curtailed the right of Wal-Mart to impose a policy it felt reduces theft. Rights conflict all the time.

There are more important battles to wage.

Let's go on to something I see as really stupid.

Boy run over by truck while lying in the road

"Turner was reportedly lying in the road face down in the eastbound lane of Bassage Road with a friend when Jayne Miller, 19, drove her 1996 Nissan accidentally over him, according to a report by trooper John N. Paikai, of the Florida Highway Patrol."

The boy is 13 years old. He and another boy were lying in the road. It was reported they were "playing a game." I first thought the game might be called "speed bump" but later realized it was probably a form of "chicken." The lad is in good condition. You have to wonder if his parents are thinking... "Are we raising an idiot?" It is a good thing that it appears he will recover. But I expect he's got a lot of explaining to do.

This all pales in comparison to what has happened in Japan. Simply incredible. The loss of life and property is going to be crushing. It could be enough to set Japan's economy back 60 years. It makes Katrina seem like a summer thunderstorm.

I get earthquake reports from the USGS and noticed some increase in activity along the Pacific Ring of Fire over the past couple of weeks. We live on a very fragile, relatively thin, crust that floats upon the molten rock a few miles down. The activity along the Ring of Fire did not alarm me. In fact, an increase in activity is usually a sign of less overall danger than periods of quiet. In quiet periods, the pressure builds and that is what usually results in a major quake. This active period, however, was preceded by what I saw as an extended period of quiet. But these things defy predictability. Which makes these events all the more terrifying. And puts the fragility of life on this planet in perspective.

Everyone seems to be focusing on the problems at one of the nuclear power plants in Japan. And that is something to worry about, don't get me wrong.

There is something else that I have observed about this earthquake. Something that is not receiving widespread attention. Japan is a society that depends strongly on mass transportation. Much of that transportation is in the form of rail lines and subways. Guess what happens when they get shut down by a natural disaster such as this?

With trains shut down, Tokyoites have to rough it

Just something to consider as we worry about the rising cost of oil and our dependence on it.

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