Sad Stories Do Not Justify Federal Legislation

By: Warner Todd Huston

The horrible accident that befell Kaitlyn Lasitter, well it rips your heart out. A bubbly, well-liked Kentucky teen girl just at the beginning her life suffers a grievous, life-changing injury in an accident at an amusement park, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. In January of 2008, some cables fell loose from the Superman Tower of Power ride and this malfunction ended up costing the girl both her feet when they were severed as the ride continued despite the girl’s screams of horror.

It is a sad story and Kaitlyn certainly deserves to have her day in court to force the amusement park to explain itself to all involved. If the park violated safety rules, then the park should pay. But, whatever the legal ramifications, the story just makes you cry out at the injustice of this fate.

Yes, it’s a sad, sad story. But heartrending stories do not call for Federal government intervention no matter how outrageous or gut wrenching they are.

Sadly, regardless of the proper role of the Federal government, we have here yet another grandstanding Congressman trying to feed off this poor girl’s horror so that he can get his name in the paper and garner some undeserved attention for “doing something” for this victim of circumstance. Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA) has chased this ambulance from Massachusetts all the way to Kentucky and back again to Washington D.C. to propose unnecessary legislation to “fix” something that isn’t broken — at least as far as the Federal government is concerned. Naturally, Last month he introduced more unnecessary legislation.

Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA) will call attention to a loophole in the law that prohibits federal safety oversight of rides that are permanently located at amusement parks. On Wed., May 14th at 11 a.m., Rep. Markey will hold a press conference to urge passage of his legislation to close this loophole, H.R. 2320, the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act, and highlight the safety risks for consumers under current law.

Yes, it is an absolute horror that this young girl is living with now and for the rest of her life. But the accident or malfeasance that led to her mutilation has nothing whatever to do with the Federal government. The Federal government does not and should not have a role to address this situation. This is the State of Kentucky’s problem, not Washington’s.

And the media is making matters worse by reporting this saying that this perceived lack of Federal legislation is a “loophole” that needs closing. In truth there is no hole because there should be no jurisdiction.

Certainly no one wants unsafe park rides. But the Federal government has no role to assure the safety of amusement parks and should have no such role. It is the various states’ duty to assure the safety of their own citizenry.

There was once a time when presidents and Congressmen realized that the Federal government was limited by the Constitution to certain prescribed areas. Unfortunately, today we have one Congressman after another, one Senator, one Supreme Court, one president after the next that seemingly has no knowledge of the Constitution, nor any interest in learning about it.

Patrick Henry once said that, “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” And this is the sort of unnecessary legislation that he warned us about. In this case, those advocating for this so-called “loop hole” to be closed are merely attempting to take away one more areas of state power and to “restrain the people.”

This is a state issue. Period.

This ambulance-chasing Congressman from Massachusetts should be ashamed of himself for using this poor girl’s cruel fate so that he can get his pandering mug in the news, too. If he doesn’t know better that this is no situation that warrants the involvement of the Federal government, than he is a stupid man who should be eliminated from Congress. If he does know better, he is a demagogue and a creep. Either way, he comes out as a lowly creature.

We all wish for Kaitlyn to heal as best as she can and to find a way to cope with her injuries. But, Kaitlyn, please do not force ever more government down our throats. We can’t blame you for being infuriated at your fate. But it has nothing to do with Washington D.C. Petition the capitol at Frankfort, Kentucky if you will, but leave D.C. out of it.

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