My Letter to Senator Adam Kline

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 1:34 pm

If you don’t live ’round these parts, you are not likely to be aware of the kerfuffle regarding Senator Adam Kline’s (D-WA) recent email exchange with a local off-road vehicle organization over his co-sponsorship of Senate Bill 5544 (PDF). The bill would enact further restrictions and penalties for the unlawful or irresponsible use of off-road vehicles such as dirt bikes and ATVs.

When asked why he was co-sponsoring, such a restrictive bill, he replied,

I signed on because I have been annoyed, endangered, and angered one too many times by people riding motorized dirt-bikes and other off-road vehicles that have no damn business anywhere. To me, this bill is narrow–it doesn’t include those “personal watercraft,” seemingly jet-powered little missiles whose only apparent purpose is to risk death and dismemberment for boaters and swimmers, for the amusement of spoiled drunk teenagers.

Yes, I am sure there is the occasional responsible person who rides one of these machines on land or water. And yes, like every human being I have been pleasantly surprized to find my stereotypes broken. But why, why, why, do folks insist on motorized “sports”? Those two words are an oxymoron. There is nothing sporting–athletic, physically demanding–about riding any machine anywhere. And it’s a damned annoyance to folks who see the outdoors as a place to go for quiet and solitude and self-exploration. I would be happy to ban the use of the internal combustion engine off-road, by anyone without a handicapped sticker, subject to a stiff fine. Maybe we could call this an anti-obesity measure.

Please circulate this to all motorized sports enthusiasts, so they can remember never to vote for me.

Adam Kline.

The Senator has been taking a lot of flack in the court of public opinion (and local talk radio in particular) over what was considered a snide response, and in some ways I have to agree with the sentiment. I couldn’t resist sending him a brief note:

From: Andrew
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 8:55 AM
To: Kline, Sen. Adam
Subject: “That” email

Senator Kline,

While I might tend to question the strategic value of your decision to send the now-infamous email to the WOHVA, I do not in any way question the validity of the opinions contained therein. I agree with you down to the very core of my being, and appreciate that you had the resolve–if perhaps not the political sense in the heat of the moment–to make those feelings known. Good on ya. 😉



To my delight, I received a response this morning:

From: “Kline, Sen. Adam”
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 18:29:48 -0800
To: Andrew
Conversation: “That” email
Subject: RE: “That” email

Aw shucks.

No, this wasn’t just a rash reaction–though it was perhaps that. It was also to let these folks know, especially the few elders or more reasonable folks among them, that it’s not all right to have your fun at the expense of others. There’s something more to civility than simply good table manners. It’s a willingness to forego one’s immediate pleasure in honor of one’s neighbors, the others in one’s community. It requires that one have a sense of community to begin with, and that’s the problem. The erosion of that sense of community is, I feel, the root cause of so many social problems–noise pollution being among the lesser ones.

Thanks for your note.

Adam Kline

I couldn’t agree more. I have often opined—here and elsewhere—that the citizens of our fine state who are most vociferous about defending their “rights” are very often the people who want the freedom to infringe on the rights of others. They protest the tyranny of red-light cameras because they want to be free to run them. They vote to repeal the taxes that fund our state’s mass transit system, taking buses off the roads and ferries off our waterways and dumping more and more cars onto our overcrowded freeways, just because they’d never be caught dead riding a bus. They rail against the most basic gun-control laws because they fear being charged with a crime if their kid’s friend blows his head off with one of their unsecured pistols.

And they move out to the country in droves to escape the crushing regulation and burdensome taxation of the city limits. You know; infrastructure, rules, social compacts, stuff like that. To which I say great, have at, be my guest, mazel tov, for you I’m happy. If you are sanguine with your two-hour commute because it grants you the elbow room you feel you need, who am I to take issue? You are welcome to your peace and solitude along the outskirts. Personally, I prefer my peace and solitude a trifle more, well, peaceful.

Which is exactly why I live in the suburbs: the combination of relative proximity to one’s neighbors, the wounded-but-not-yet-dead concept of the social contract, and a robust police presence combine to help keep everyone conscientious in a way that you don’t often find out in the “pioneer spirit” atmosphere of the tooliedingles. I’m perfectly happy with our quarter-acre near the airport; no amount of trees and deer wandering through my yard would make up for the hunters, the garbage dumpers and refrigerator abandoners, the dirt bikes and the “secret” meth labs of the back country. And if you try very, very hard, you can almost convince yourself that the engine roar of 747s is just the soothing rumble of the ocean. Which, in my opinion, still beats all hell out of the plaintive insectile squall of a team of tricked-out Honda TRX450Rs as they tear through your back yard.

Gotta Love Them Search Engines

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 3:51 am

On the fourth of this month, someone from the Princeton, New Jersey area got to my blog by entering the following into a Google search:

“latex mask” AND “carpool lane”

Once again, I am flummoxed. What the hell was this person trying to find? A list of rules and regulations regarding the wearing of Halloween masks while driving in the HOV lane? A compilation of recent news stories about bands of carpooling convenience-store robbers? Something even more bizarre that I can’t manage to fabricate at quarter to four in the morning? This isn’t mere insomnia talking, folks: I have the IIS log entry to prove it.

*Sigh* Sometimes I think I’m happier getting hits from the porn-seekers: that modus operandi I can at least comprehend.

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