A Refreshing Change

There are two activities where regulators assume that participants are responsible adults and issue rules accordingly: aviation, and Texas firearms laws. In both cases, the laws are comparatively clear, in plain English more often than not, and the regulating agencies treat people like grown-ups. How nice! The federal regulations are actually clearer, because they are older, and came from a time when the legal philosophy was, “What is the minimum needed for safety, because we don’t know enough to make lots of specific rules?” Both sets of laws were also “written in blood.”

It surprises people that Texas, the state of the six-shooter and Colt Single-Action Army, the ranches and rustlers, banned handgun carry for self-defense purposes for many decades. There were reasons, some good and some not so good, for that. As a sign of how old some rules were, one (since repealed) stated that you couldn’t carry a shotgun under the buckboard of a wagon. This was occasionally taken to mean “all long guns must be visible inside the car.” Not true, but a sign of how things lingered.

Then came the “Luby’s Massacre” in 1991. A lone gunman drive his pickup into the cafeteria’s store in Kileen, TX, then started shooting people at random. No one could shoot back. One man rushed him, but others didn’t pile on and so the nut kept shooting. He eventually killed himself after the police shot him 7 times. Twenty three died and twenty seven were injured.

One woman, a competition handgun shooter who lost both her parents, said enough. After an amazing amount of hard work, in 1995 concealed carry came to Texas. Suzanna Hupp led the charge, and gets the credit for a lot of the work.

Aviation rules come from accidents, for the most part. Two airliners sight-seeing over the Grand Canyon collided because they were not talking to each other and were not tracked on radar (radar not good enough at the time). Now everyone has to be accounted for, and if you are going certain directions, you have to be at certain altitudes. People flew into clouds and spun out the bottom, or hit hard-centered clouds [Cumulus granaticus]. Now we have Instrument Flight Rules. And so on. The rules are simple, clear, and assume that you the pilot are smart enough to know the difference between legal and wise. The most important rule is 14 CFR 91.3, better known as FAR 91.3,

“(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

(b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.”

It doesn’t get much clearer and plainer than that. Are you on fire? Do what you need to. Air traffic controller trying to get you into a bad situation? You can refuse to comply. You’ll do a lot of explaining later, but you’ll be alive to do so. (ATC radar doesn’t show a lot of weather, for example, and air-traffic-controllers have tried to send planes into really nasty storms that they couldn’t see. The pilot could see the monsters, and balked.)

The vast majority of aviation regulations are like that. There’s a story behind most of them, and a reason. Now, sometimes we airdales disagree with the reason, and how the regulations are interpreted . . . I won’t go into that, since I don’t want my pilot readers to have strokes from high blood pressure, or be tempted to uncharitable language. Ditto firearms regulations.

Air planes and bang-sticks are marvelous tools and can be very rewarding to use. Both will kill or maim you if you’re dumb. Gravity is going to win. Incoming fire has the right of way. Those are things that can’t be argued away. Firearms and aircraft need operators who are mature enough to take problems seriously, and to be responsible for their own actions.

You know. Grown-ups!


18 thoughts on “A Refreshing Change

  1. Too many people want to keep others infantilized. And some want to be infantilized.

    But then some who want to be infantilized also believe they have the right and duty to make the rules for everyone else. The flaw in their logic always escapes them, and attempts to explain in usually meet blind, uncomprehending rage.

  2. Depending on the the state, there are other areas of law like this.
    One big one is sporting activities – in many states that have it, ski areas will have big signs about the user assuming risk. (it applies to other sporting and recreational activities also, but the signs are not as obvious).

    • There are some sporting activities where such signs are unnecessary. For example, those that involve things large, four-footed, and possessing minds of their own.

      Well, such signs _shouldn’t_ be necessary … but alas, the nanny state has imposed them anyway. Or should we blame this one on the lawyers?

  3. [enter the pistol brace]
    Back when BASE jumping was becoming a thing, a bunch of California immigrants wanted to make it illegal.
    This was met with blank incomprehension by the native Idahoans. “Why would you need to make a law to tell people that jumping off a bridge is dangerous? And if they’re already trying to defy the law of gravity, what’s a piece of paper going to do?”

  4. I have a poster of an old biplane tangled up with a tree. The text comes from a Supreme Court decision concerning aircraft: “Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to even a greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.”

  5. Is it wrong of me to want some Tales of Familiars? 😉

    I need an escape from Politics.

          • I had to add a second adapter between the adapter and computer (microUSB to USB to USB to drive) for the drive to register with the computer.

            I would like to meet the person who decided that laptops do not need standard USB ports and gently remonstrate with him/her/it/them/whatever.

            • Even better, USB hardware and/or drivers that are either broken or only partially implement the USB standard they claim to meet.

  6. Back in the 80’s someone discovered that NATO naval refueling had certain … incompatibilities. Moving fuel from one nation’s ship to another required seven different adaptors. I’d like to think that that problem has been fixed.

    The problem with laptop USB ports may be the result of an insane desire to make notebook computers thinner than actual notebooks, rather than making them beefy and tough, with decent batteries.

    These people do not need remonstration. They need to miss project-critical deadlines by virtue of their own short-sightedness, preferably requiring press releases and reports to stockholders.

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