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Thinning the Herd

Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at 1:00 PM

To the best of my knowledge, a cowboy has never won a Nobel Prize for physics, chemistry or even economics. This is due primarily to the nature of the human brain. Nobel laureates have brains that operate in a functional manner while cowboys have brains that have been scrambled by performing various cowboy activities, such as riding bucking broncos, saloon brawling and shouting "yahoo" far more often than necessary. This is especially true of rodeo cowboys.

Mexican Poker is a rodeo event where a bunch of brain-dead cowboys sit around a card table as an angry bull is released into the arena. The last man seated is the winner. This is not a sport to aspire to participate in unless you have an IQ below 12 and enjoy being stomped upon by a large, ferocious, snorting animal with an equally low IQ.

While this is obviously a dangerous undertaking, it's the only rodeo contest where the animal is allowed to wreak havoc on the cowboy. That alone should make it a worthwhile activity. Cowboys enjoy the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. In fact, some of them seem to prefer the agony. Besides, anyone foolish enough to participate in this event does so of their own freewill, keenly aware of the risk, pushing machismo to the limit.

After all, this is a free country, isn't it?

Apparently not.

Larry Rohrbach, a state senator in Missouri, recently introduced a bill banning Mexican Poker in his state.

Strangely enough, I know a guy from Missouri named Bill Banning. He is a large, ferocious, snorting human being with an IQ slightly above competing in Mexican Poker -- as either a card player or the bull.

Clearly, a bill banning Mexican Poker isn't meant to protect the bull. It's simply another assault on freedom. The world doesn't need another law protecting us from our own stupidity. People take risks all the time in various sports such as football, hockey, rugby, mountain climbing, auto racing, sky diving, scuba diving, bungee jumping and so on. It's bad enough to require air bags in automobiles and force motorcycle riders to wear helmets, but some do-gooders go way too far trying to make the world safe for everyone else.

Tens of thousands of people die every year as a result of automobile accidents. This could easily be reduced to nearly zero if we require all automobiles to be mechanically limited to a top speed of 30 miles per hour. This would save thousands of lives but it would take forever to get anywhere.

Several hundred people die every year from electric shock but nobody would seriously consider banning electricity.

A man in Australia was killed a couple of years ago by an object that fell from the sky, but to require everyone to wear a safety helmet outdoors would be ridiculous.

There are 700,000 physicians in the United States. According to recent studies, physicians cause approximately 120,000 accidental deaths each year. Perhaps we should outlaw the "practice" of medicine as well.

Many do-gooders want to rid the world of guns. There are 80,000,000 gun owners in the United States and approximately 1,500 accidental gun deaths per year. While that may seem like a large number, it also means that doctors are statistically 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Of course, that doesn't take into account physicians who also own guns -- a very dangerous group of individuals indeed.

Mandated extreme safety comes at the price of freedom. It's one thing to require your own kids to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, but making it mandatory for everyone else's kids is not exactly a neighborly thing to do.

Mother Nature has a way of keeping everything in check -- it's called natural selection and thinning the herd.

If people want to risk life and limb doing dangerous things, they should be free to do so as long as they aren't endangering anyone else.

Besides, the human herd could probably use a bit of thinning.


Quote for the Day -- "Civilization is the process of setting man free from men." Ayn Rand


Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where the human herd has been thinned down to a manageable size. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111




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Boldly Going Nowhere
Bret Burquest
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.
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