I’m Mad As Hell And I’m Not Going To Take It Anymore!

The columnist is pretty steamed this week. Let’s see what this is all about before the Thought Police take it offline.

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." - George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 7 

I picked up a prescription at this morning. I brought it home, and removed the top after fighting with it for two or three minutes. Who designs these things anyway? As I shook a few pills out of the bottle in to the palm of my hand I got an unexpected bonus; a small, white, cylindrical piece of plastic about the size of a thimble. I picked it up and read the small print on the side.

SORB-IT CAN®  -  Moisture Absorbent - For product freshness - DO NOT EAT  

Damn! And I was all set to put a little Tabasco on it and pop it into my mouth! I guess now I’ll have to run up to to get a sandwich. 

Who on God’s green earth is going to eat a plastic cylinder full of silica? Perhaps a two year old, but then why the written warning? A two year old can’t read! They’re going to eat it anyway! 

By the way, for those who may want to try this scrumptious snack; those delectable little moisture absorbers also come in a tiny rectangular paper container for those who don’t care for the texture of plastic. Both contain the same tasty silica. 

This has the stench of the meddling hands of the legal profession; forever perpetrating an atmosphere of angst for their own avaricious purposes. You can bet your life that the recent trend of public schools banning everything from to has little to do with protecting the physical and mental well being of their young charges and everything to do with some legal-eagle whispering surreptitiously into the ear of a paranoid administrator at the local school committee meeting, “You’d better do this. You’d better do that. If I were you, I’d do such-and-such. You could get sued. You could lose your job. Blah, blah, blah.” 

I’ll confess, I may be a little jaded or overemotional on this subject, but I’m really fed up with all the frivolous accommodations that are being made for the minority at the expense of the majority. Let me give you a recent example from my own life. 

My grandson, Logan, goes to preschool for a half-day, three days a week. He takes his lunch and a snack every day. As is common with children his age (he’ll be four in September), Logan is a picky eater. There are a few things he likes and he adamantly refuses to eat anything else. His favorite thing for lunch is a peanut butter sandwich and his favorite snack is the Clif Kid® Organic Chocolate Chip Z Bar, which is a baked, whole grain energy snack containing ten whole grains, twelve vitamins and minerals and no high fructose corn syrup. As these types of foods go, it’s a pretty wholesome snack. 

My wife picked Logan up at school last Thursday, as she always does, and the director of the school asked to speak with her for a few minutes. My wife was informed that a new student at the school had a peanut allergy and Logan would no longer be permitted to bring peanut butter or any peanut product to school. This also meant that his favorite snack, and pretty much the only snack he’ll eat; the Clif bar was verboten, as it has an allergen statement on its wrapper saying, “Contains soy. May contain traces of peanuts, dairy, wheat and tree nuts.” 

Here’s my issue with this. Logan is in a class of about fifteen children. Fifteen children who are being put upon by one child who needs a special accommodation. Since when does the world work that way? 

Please understand, my heart goes out to this poor child with the peanut allergy. But shouldn’t his parents be the ones who should adjust and make the special accommodations for their child? Shouldn’t the burden be on them? Why should fourteen other children have to change their eating habits? That makes absolutely no sense to me. 

What about Logan’s rights? What about the fact that my daughter will now be hard-pressed to find something for her son’s lunch every day? Should Logan go hungry at school to accommodate another student? Where does all this insanity end? 

I actually think the school is the villain here. If they choose to accept a new student, knowing full well it will adversely affect all the other students; they should be the ones to accept the responsibility for seeing that this child is accommodated by keeping him separate from the others during lunch or whatever they need to do that does not include imposing upon the majority of students. 

The school might also choose to refer this child to another school, rather than deny the rest of their students their freedom to eat what they wish. I’m sure there are many schools that are set up for this type of thing. Obviously, Logan’s school is not

But, of course, the real bottom line here is that referring this young man to another school would cost my grandson’s school money. But I’m sure that has no bearing on their decision to admit this child. No, it’s never about the money! 

The question here is not whether little Johnny and Suzie can enjoy a cupcake during school lunch, or whether Logan can have his Clif Bar at snack time. That is not and has never been the real issue. The real question here is this - To what extent will we allow the power of the state to be utilized in order to protect us from ourselves? 

This is nothing new. Malevolent acts are often times committed under the guise of doing something for the good. And this phenomenon is not merely present in the hallowed halls of our schools; it’s all around us; permeating the very fabric of our society. The goal; to retract our God-given rights as individuals, as parents and as American citizens. Quietly. Clandestinely. Bit by bit. Piece by piece. 

You see, it has never been about And it has never been about sin taxes. But what it is about is the steady, subtle erosion of what so many have given so much to protect – our freedom. 

We must resist the burgeoning, inane government intervention into every aspect of our lives. And that resistance starts with you; with your family; in every home; in every corner of our country. 

We must be vigilant, lest we create the terrifying Dystopia of which Aldous Huxley spoke so eloquently in his classic novel, 1984. 

Am I way over the top on this? You bet I am! I'm mad as hell!

Make it a great week!

Bob Havey is an Easton-based freelance writer. His column, "The View From Here", appears each Tuesday at http://easton-ma.patch.com and his column, "Take Me Back" runs every Friday at http://mansfield-ma.patch.com.

John Havey August 17, 2011 at 03:28 PM
"Learning to tolerate, accept, and compromise isn't the answer for every situation." Seriously? You're going to compare being attacked by a foreign country, and Hitler trying to conquer the world to a 3 year old not being able to bring nuts to school?
Gary Sullivan August 17, 2011 at 03:41 PM
John, I couldn’t agree with you more about prohibiting disabled students from attending the school being wrong. I certainly wasn’t condoning such a policy. You brought up a good point, though. Not only is it illegal but it’s wrong. Would you not agree that that there are certain things in life that are also legal but wrong? Are the rights of 14 other children not being denied to accommodate one child, regardless of the circumstances? There is no credible justification for taking something from one person to benefit another. You failed to mention that the parents of the disabled child also had the right to “go somewhere else”. My take on Bob’s article is that he is totally frustrated, as a lot of us are, with the unrelenting attack on personal liberties from every conceivable direction which are often driven by the fear of adverse legal consequences rather than reason. I don’t believe his intent is to attack the rights of private business owners any more than I believe your intent is to protect the rights of private business owners. His point is well taken with me. I’m sorry you missed it.
John Havey August 17, 2011 at 03:59 PM
I do understand his point Gary, I just don't think his example is a good one. I agree with everything he said except the peanut issue. I believe the school made the decision that's easiest for them. Ban peanut products and take away any risk of the child becoming severely ill, or even dying. I don't believe a child not being able to have a peanut product for a few hours of his day is a hardship for that child, especially when you compare it to what could happen to the child with the allergy. I don't believe this is a case of our freedoms or personal liberties being attacked etc....just a case of the school doing what's in their best interest, and they have the right to do that. Bob also mentioned that it was a money issue. Wouldn't the school stand to lose more money by upsetting 14 sets of parents rather than one? Also, who says the other 14 sets of parents are even bothered by the schools decision, we don't know if they are or aren't. Sometimes in life we have to deal with minor inconveniences, and not being able to bring a peanut product to school is about as minor as it can get. A little tolerance and understanding is all that is needed here, it isn't a plot to take away our rights. Again, his point is well taken, I just believe there is no correlation between his point and the example he used.
Gary Sullivan August 17, 2011 at 05:14 PM
John, I respect your compassion for this child but there is something bigger going on here. Surely you’re not suggesting that when someone is deprived of a “right”, they should evaluate the magnitude of the deprivation and inconvenience before deciding whether to agree with it or not? A little “right” here, a little “right” there? The problem is that the losses are cumulative. The “Nanny State” has been assiduously chipping away at our personal liberties for many, many years now and this is precisely the kind of thinking that has facilitated it so. Need I cite examples of the erosion of our personal liberties over the years? I couldn’t possibly contribute to the further destruction of liberty by agreeing to make little exceptions that impact so many other people, no matter the degree of impact. I am not uncompassionate. I’m fed up with encroachment on my liberties by an endless flow of stifling, destructive new rules and regulations initiated by well-meaning people.
Bruce Havey August 17, 2011 at 06:18 PM
After reading through the article and all the comments i have come to a few conclusions of my own. The first would be that i totally understand Bob's commentary and where he is coming from. The second thought would have to do more with a Constitutional viewpoint. That would be private property rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. If it is a private school then i would think that the private property rights guarantee would apply. The school is within its legal limits to do what it wants, but i would feel much better if the school had made accommodations for the student instead of applying a total no peanut policy. Just my opinion.
John Havey August 17, 2011 at 06:35 PM
So Gary, where do the rights begin and end. Suppose I'd like to bring a gun into the school, a knife, or any number of other things, pick one. Well. it's my right isn't it? You can't always say, It's my right. It's the schools right to tell you you can't bring a gun, knife etc...into THEIR school, is it not? Why can't I bring my own food into Fenway Park? Because the owners of the park say I can't. why can't I bring my dog into a restaurant? because the restaurant owner says I can't. Why can't I drink alcohol at work? because my company says I can't. Why can't my kids bring peanuts to a school? Because the school says you can't, and it's THEIR RIGHT to do that if they so choose. You are paying a private school to educate your child, with that comes rules and regulations from that school, if you choose not to abide by them, no problem, find another school. This is not the erosion of our public liberties, nor is it a destructive new rule designed to encroach or stifle ones rights. It's a school that made a rule that people will abide by if they want to attend that school, that's it! Yes, we all have rights, but schools, companies, etc have rules and regulations that we have to abide by like it or not.
John Havey August 17, 2011 at 07:07 PM
Hey bruce, how's it going? Bruce, making accomodations for the student would be very difficult, We ran into a similar issue at Ry's school and after they brought in an allergist to speak to everyone it became clear that the easiest and safest way to make sure that this child didn't come in contact with the peanut products was to eliminate them altogether. This young kid couldn't even smell them without becoming ill. Any peanut residue on anything, doors, chairs, etc...The kids at Logans school are 3 years old and I'm guessing it's not a huge facility if there are only 15 kids in the class. I'm sure it's much easier for them to just eliminate the product altogether rather than running the risk of the child becoming ill. 3 year olds touch everything, put their fingers in their eyes, mouths, nose etc..why run the risk when you can virtually eliminate it altogether by taking away the product. We are talking about potentially killing someone here, I don't think giving up peanuts for a few hours is too much to ask of anyone to ensure this kids safety. I highly doubt any of these parents would want to expose their kids to the sight of one of their class mates going into anaphylactic shock and dying. Much safer and easier to just eliminate the hazard.
John Havey August 17, 2011 at 08:37 PM
To anyone who feels their rights are being violated, I encourage you to call Sen. Scott Brown at 617-564-3170 or Sen. John Kerry at 617-565-8518. Tell them you'd like them to draft a bill to repeal the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. (yes, severe allergies are covered under this act) make sure you tell them that your childs rights have been violated because he/she isn't allowed to bring peanuts to school. Please check in back here and share their response with us.
Gary Sullivan August 17, 2011 at 08:53 PM
I should have jumped out of this conversation when Bob did. We aren't close to talking about the same thing. Best regards.
Frida August 17, 2011 at 09:42 PM
Gary gave you an articulate and well thought out response and you just blew it off. You have no response to him and no real opinion. Bringing a knife to school is not a right. It's illegal. Your assanine arguement is just to cover up the fact that you have no intelligent response. You just want to argue and try to prove that you're right. Bye.
Dwight Mac Kerron August 17, 2011 at 09:49 PM
C'mon, you guys are avoiding the REAL issue which is why so many kids will only eat one or two things and nothing else. Clearly, these kids have been given too much liberty. Picky eaters seemed to be indulged by their parents. What's up with that? As a society we have produced a plethora of picky eaters AND people highly allergic to so many things. Who do we blame for THAT?
John Havey August 17, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Sorry Frida, knives aren't illegal, it's the schools policy that you can't bring one there, it certainly isn't illegal. Thats my point, there are rules and policies we need to abide by like it or not. Talk about assainine, you've added zero to any of this, absolutely zero. I answered gary clearly and yes he makes great points, you however do not.
Kara M August 17, 2011 at 09:59 PM
I find it hard to believe that this has been going on since yesterday morning and some, especially John Havey, still think it's about food allergies and peanuts. You took one tiny piece of a very thoughtful story and stuck with that, and completely our of context. That's why you have completely missed the point of the story. Why is it that most everyone else here got it and you didn't?
John Havey August 17, 2011 at 10:01 PM
LOL Dwight, thats another debate for sure, I'm staying outta that one.
John Havey August 17, 2011 at 10:09 PM
Well Kara, I think it's odd that you don't see that Bob tried to use Logans situation to make his point. He is totally correct about the gov't etc....He is totally wrong to correlate Logans situation and his point about the gov't, there is no correlation there whatsoever, none. I AGREE with the point about our freedoms being taken away etc..I'm quite sure I've said that multiple times. While some of the article speaks about his stance on the gov't, MOST of the article is about Logan. He clearly says "let me give you an example from my own life." Well, that example doesn't back up his point, sorry you don't see that.
Kara M August 17, 2011 at 10:16 PM
So you take one thing out of the column and argue that one point that it was a bad example which accomplished what? Oh I know. It allows you to argue for two days and be right about that one thing. Again you are the only one who did not get the overall theme of the story. And I'm sorry that you don't see that. You are a victim of selective reading and narrow thinking.
John Havey August 17, 2011 at 10:35 PM
LOL, that's funny, what more would you like me to say, I agree with the article, there is nothing else to say about it. The school set a policy, which is their right, period. Narrow thinking? I AGREE WITH THE ARTICLE EXCEPT THE LOGAN PART, is that clear enough for you? We all have policies and rules we need to follow, the school implemented a policy to protect a child, it's their decision, they are NOT violating Logans rights by doing that. Bob clearly thinks they are..."What about Logan's rights" it's right there in black ink. We have what's called The Americans With Disabilties Act that protects people with disabilties. Again, and this is the last time...I AGREE WITH BOB'S POINT TOTALLY....but Logans situation isn't an example of his point. I adressed both points, one I agree with and one that I don't.
Kara M August 17, 2011 at 10:55 PM
If you agree with everything except that one point, why have you been on here for two days arguing about nothing? You said the same thing so many times it's beyond belief. Wouldn't it be prudent to state your point and move on? I'm finished here. Thanks for the memories!
John Havey August 17, 2011 at 11:02 PM
I'm not arguing at all Kara, I'm defending my position when others want to discred it, isn't that the purpose of the article, to debate and defend our opinions, thats why he wrote the article, thats why all authors write articles, to stir the pot. That's how they keep there jobs isn't it? If they wrote mundane articles that generated no debate how long would they be employed? As long as people want to debate the issue, I'll keep debating it. If someones attacks me or my position, I will keep stating my point.
John Havey August 17, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Again, sorry for the spelling their...discredit...
Stephen Williamson August 18, 2011 at 12:49 AM
Correction: Orwell wrote "1984" NOT Huxley. Huxley's dystopian work was BRAVE NEW WORLD
Bill D. August 18, 2011 at 01:02 AM
I got home this evening and went to check my e-mail and my inbox was loaded with commentary. I believe you missed your true calling John. You should have been a U.S. senator. You would have carried the floor everytime!! It took you ( and I checked the times to be sure ) 31 hours and 36 minutes to say the same thing without ever once conceding that maybe the other people who all agree on this subject actually made a valid point. Congratulations!!
Kara M August 18, 2011 at 01:42 AM
Thanks, Stephen. I can't believe I did that. I've read them both, one of them twice. I always get them confused, but I've never actually put it in writing - until now! Thanks again! Good catch.
Kara M August 18, 2011 at 01:47 AM
Wait a minute Stephen. I didn't write that in my posts. Were you directing that at me. If you were I have no clue what you were referring to. I should have read through my posts befire I responded. That's what I get for gettihng al lthese post sent to my email. Big mistake.
Kara M August 18, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Just as a point of interest, since it came up kind of accidentally. If you have not read Brave New World, which I read twice, or 1984 your really should. They'll scare you to death in regard to what can happen with government run amuck. I'm going to bed. It was a long day at the office and the wine has gone right to my head. Nite all.
Frida August 18, 2011 at 01:59 AM
haha. Kara you crack me up. Drink much or what? LOL!
Bob Havey August 18, 2011 at 10:52 AM
@ Stephen Williamson - You're correct. My bad. Senior moment. I've read 1984 and have Brave New World sitting on my desk. I just bought it a couple of weeks ago and haven't started it yet, so I guess I had Huxley on my mind. That's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it!
Bob Havey August 18, 2011 at 10:57 AM
@Kara - Either you had a senior moment (I don't know your age) or you should lay off the wine :-) You can stop getting every post in your mailbox by unchecking the box that says, 'Send me email updates for this article'.
Diane Hrenko September 10, 2011 at 02:19 AM
Wow, really??? Poor you... Your finicky grandson can't have a peanut butter sandwich for lunch everyday. I feel so much empathy for you and your family. My son can't EVER have a peanut butter sandwich or he could DIE. Nothing we signed up for when we had children... Nothing you can plan for... But when you are dealt with this kind of situation you learn how to protect your child. People like you make me petrified to send my child to school. I agree with the other poster above (your own brother I think), if it were your child you would think differently. Again, so sorry for your tough situation... Hope it isnt too much trouble introducing new foods to your grandson.
Bob Havey September 10, 2011 at 02:39 AM
Diane - My heart goes out to your son. You've missed my point and I really don't want to revisit this and argue with you about what I did or did not say or did and did not mean. There was only one other person who didn't understand what I was saying. Maybe I wasn't as clear as I should have been. I know about being dealt a situation and trying to protect a child. You see, on Saturday, January 22nd, 1994 at 4:30 PM, our daughter, Erin, our middle child, lost her 22 month battle with leukemia and there was NOTHING we could do to protect her. Nothing! No laws. No special arrangements at school - nothing! She was 16 years old and mere weeks away from her 17th birthday. She'd be 34 today had she lived. We didn't sign up for that either, We aern't supposed to bury our children. Our chilldren are precious gifts to us. If I were you I'd do everything in my power to protect my child.


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