I ran across a story this morning that made me angry. Today is really no different. I usually find at least one a day that does so. Sometimes I contemplate why I even bother to open my iPad each morning to check the news feed. Maybe it is because there is some sense that I can offer something, anything that would awaken at least one person to the hypocrisy and lunacy of our discourse.
Here is the story: "'I'm Not Stopping': Penn Woman Faces $600 Fine For Feeding Hungry Children"
The headline alone should stop you in your tracks. Maybe it should at least get you to pause your ranting on about Obama's birth certificate or Romney's tax returns and wonder why this is happening. I think what angers me the most isn't the story itself. It is the fact that if I post a link on Facebook that mentions the latest round of completely fictionalized propaganda about Obamney, the comments and opinions start flying. When I post a story of this nature where a citizen, who is standing up and actually doing something positive, is being bullied by an authoritarian bureaucracy? <crickets>. Nothing.
Let's examine a few points of this particular story.
1) "Angela Prattis has spent part of the summer distributing meals to hungry children in Pennsylvania, but now, the township has informed her that if she does not obtain a costly “ordinance,” she will be fined $600 each day she distributes food."
Ok, she has decided to take it upon herself to address a concern she sees in front of her - hungry children. I'm going to leave the question of the role these children's parents play out of this discussion for now. The state has found her in violation of some rule, and she has been notified of the breach. Let's continue.
2) "Prattis, who has lived in the township for about three years, started distributing meals and drinks to underprivileged children at her church, the Church of the Overcomer in Trainer, several years ago. This year, after giving birth to her second child, she began distributing the meals from the gazebo in her yard."
Here are those pesky racist, bigoted Christians in the mix again, but I digress. She is no doubt a part of this community. She knows people on a fundamental level. There is obviously some sort of structure involved here as she has been doing this through her church. I'm stepping out here, but I'm going to assume, given the mention of the birth of the second child, that the decision to move her works to her "gazebo in her yard" is a matter of logistics. My wife cares for two children, so I understand the demands of being a mother supersede all others. So I am correct in this assumption, then she has made the decision to carry on with her volunteer efforts instead of abandoning them for the sake of attending to her own family's more pressing need.
3) "Township Council Chairman Stanley Kester said the township was notified of the distribution via a telephone call from another resident a few weeks ago. He asked the township solicitor, Stephen Polaha, to investigate the matter..."
And. Here. We. Go...Imagine that, some nosy, jackass busybody with his nose stuck somewhere it doesn't belong NOTIFIED the state of the 'issue'. This sounds like something Mark Hallburn would pull. (If you're not from West Virginia and you've not heard of 'journalist' Mark Hallburn, do a google search for "girl of words mark hallburn putnam live" and enjoy.) Why can't we at least just leave each other alone? This is why I will NEVER own property inside a city boundary or in a neighborhood with a Homeowner's Association. Ever.
4) "That variance costs about $1,000, according to NBC10."
I run into this a lot in the trucking industry. Why does the "variance" need to cost $1,000? Why does the fine in Connecticut for a tractor-trailer rear axle being 1 foot 7 inches too long cost $750? Why are government fees so prohibitive for businesses? Their answer: To make entry more difficult to root out the riff-raff. The real answer: Business people are 'rich' so they can afford to finance the affairs of the state. Businesses 'make so much money' that they can afford to absorb the cost of 'needed' programs and statutes. Hogwash. For those of us that have actually operated a business, we know (from real experience by the way) that our businesses thrive and fail on our ability to provide quality to the customer. If we do good, we survive. If we do bad, we fail. End of story.
5) "“I don’t think the zoning laws apply here,” Prattis protested. “If I was selling food or cooking food, I could see how it would apply. But we shouldn’t have to pay anything, and if the ordinance does exist, it should be waived for someone who is feeding children.”
Silly Citizen. You should know better than to use [un]common sense when dealing with know-nothing bureaucrats.
6) Township Council Chairman Stanley Kester commented: “She wants us to bypass or exonerate her from the zoning hearing. She just doesn’t want to pay to do things the right way… We can’t just start exempting everyone from our laws. If you do one, you’ve got to do everybody.” (emphasis added)
Oh, I think my head may explode. THE RIGHT WAY? THE RIGHT #$%&(#@& WAY? Are you serious? Of course he is. I know that. You know what? You CAN exempt her from your stupid, pointless laws, and you DON'T have to 'do everybody.' It's called leadership, you should try it sometime. This is not second grade Sunday School class. We are supposedly adults who should be capable of making judgement calls. Idiot.
7) The program receives funding from the Department of Education, according to NBC10, and is monitored by the archdiocese, but the town is still concerned that there could be a negative outcome, like a case of food poisoning.
Food Poisoning. Right. There are two major issues here, and they both revolve around stupid people.
1) This is what you get when you lay your safety in the hands of a government body. Once you empower them to correct a 'problem,' you will NEVER get rid of them. They are forced to make more and more regulations to keep themselves relevant. Think about it - once the first set of rules is enforced and obeyed, the bureaucrat has lost its luster. Without a 'problem,' the bureaucrat has no purpose. More 'problems' are pointed out by the overzealous media that needs to keep you terrified in order to get you to watch so they can continue to sell more advertising. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle perpetrated by the victims themselves.
2) The only reason the town is 'concerned' is because some goodun is going to come along and sue them for not protecting them from the boogeyman. Food poisoning is going to happen occasionally. That is a simple fact of life. But still, some moron, probably the same one that was the tattle-tale in this case, will run up and look for their winning lotto ticket in the name of a civil suit for punitive damages.
Remember, you can't fix stupid. That is forever.
And finally, the moral of the story.
8) “It’s a township law,” Kester explained. “We are not picking on her because she’s feeding kids. It’s an honorable thing to do. But she can’t do it there. We’ve told her she could apply for a variance. We’ve told her she can go to the school and ask to work with the school. But we’re not taking the blame for something we’re not responsible for.”
This is the common thread among all bureaucrats. They are never responsible for the damage they cause. Presidents have no blood on their hands for the endless wars they perpetrate. Governors are not responsible for the death toll their regulations lay on a State economy. They are always the answer and never the problem. Sadly, it is my sincere belief that it really isn't their fault. It is the fault of those of you that clamber for more. You empower them. You make them relevant. You beg for their interference. As long as they are riding on your horse, you will excuse their every indiscretion. I'm done with them, and I'm done with you.
How about maybe for once you grow a pair and stand up to these clueless morons and, say it with me, "NO!"