scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Toleration - eyes of the beholder
Sat Mar 18 2000 - 10:06:50 CST
Isn't "zero tolerence" an oxymoron?
The General Services Administration (GSA), which owns or leases
facilities for the Federal government, has rules which limit knives to
those with blades of 3.5 inches or less. That won't prevent most of us
from carrying - concealed or otherwise - a useful tool. It may mean
that if you're having a retirement or birthday party or baby shower
you'll have to break off a chunk of that cake or violate what are
Of course, you can cleanly cut a cake with a length of (preferrably
unused) dental floss.
The 3.5 inch rule seems to apply at airports when I regularly carry a
pocket knife through security.
Dental floss, with enough tensile strength, can be used to garrote
someone. A pocket comb can maim. A sharpened pencil can puncture. And,
a plastic lunch bag can suffocate. Or, in my youth, when rapid fire
weapons weren't quite as readily available, you could use your
autooitive and woodworking craft skills and turn a radio antenna and a
block of wood into .22 cal, zip-gun. It all depends how creative or
flexible you are.
As I sat down to comment on these convergent threads I remembered the
story of the the patient and the therapist conducting an ink-blot test.
With each ink-blot presentation the patient saw a sexually-explicit
image. Later, the patient claimed that it was the therapist who was
unwell because he kept showing dirty pictures.
Apparently inflexible or all-encompassing rules place the school (or
whatever) administrator in the place of that patient - without the
ability to appropriately assess the situational context.
There is some point, and I'm not sure where it is, where reasonable
caution crosses the line into paranoia. Somewhere, we've lost the
ability to differentiate between responsible usage and inappropriate
behaviors - and have chosen to lump more and more in the latter
(And, lest any of the above makes you think that my libertarianism is
unbounded - it is not!)