December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from Pacific Legal Foundation!

By Mark Miller Senior Attorney

(Today we re-publish a two-year old PLF Christmas blog post for readers who may have missed it the first time…with a little bonus material for those who read it previously.)

From the Pacific Legal Foundation Atlantic Center home office in Palm Beach Gardens, a tongue-in-cheek, PLF look at the top ten ways A Christmas Story would be different if it took place today, thanks to big government:

10. In response to Flick getting his tongue stuck to the frozen flagpole, Flick’s parents would have sued both the teacher and school board for Flick’s tongue injuries caused by Miss Shields’s failure to supervise the children on the playground.

9. The father’s ongoing war against the home’s furnace would likely not take place without a visit from Uncle Sam. As noted by the Wall Street Journal, the EPA is attempting to eliminate “coal [as a power source] from American life.”

8. Most parents would be unwilling to leave their child alone in line to see Santa Claus at the mall. If the parents did so, they would likely find the local child protective services agency had removed their child from them. Next stop: dependency court.

a christmas story giphy7. Speaking of Santa, OSHA has tried to eliminate any risk of the shred of danger in the workplace, which means absolutely no “Santa slide” for Ralphie to be pushed down by Santa’s boot.

6. Law enforcement would arrest Ralphie for beating up Scut Farkas, rather than letting these nine-year olds police themselves. Law enforcement officers have little choice here—overweening law makers have intruded into everyday life this far and the police simply have to enforce the laws that politicians pass, even if the officers don’t want to.

Randy A Christmas Story5.  If Ralphie’s little brother Randy continued to refuse to eat his meals at home, he would find little solace at school. Ridiculous new federal school lunch standards have led to more than one million children opting out of school lunch and bringing their own. And if Randy tells the school officials that his mom encourages him to “eat like a pig,” who knows what mayhem will result in 21st century America.

4. Dad’s famous leg lamp and “major award” may bring a visit from local zoning officials when neighbors complain about light pollution and bureaucrats enforce open-ended zoning codes that leave too much discretion to officials.

3.  The local health department would shutdown the Bo Ling Chop Suey Palace after learning that the head waiter used a meat cleaver to chop the head off of a duck at the table dangerously close to Ralphie and his family.

2.  The FCC would field multiple complaints from parents angered that a big bad corporation used the Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring to simply tell their children to “be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”

Bonus #2 (for 2016). Randy would have taken a photo of Ralphie in Aunt Clara’s deranged Easter Bunny costume, and posted it to Snapchat, where it would have gone viral on social media. Here comes the bullying lawsuit.

And finally, the number one way that Jean Shepherd‘s A Christmas Story would be different if it took place today:

1. Ralphie’s parents could not knowingly allow him to use his Red Rider carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass on the stock unsupervised in the backyard. If they did so, they would be staring at criminal charges. See, e.g., § 790.22(1)-(2), Fla Stat. (“[t]he use for any purpose whatsoever of BB guns . . . by any minor under the age of 16 years is prohibited unless such use is under the supervision and in the presence of an adult who is acting with the consent of the minor’s parent . . . [a]ny adult responsible for the welfare of any child under the age of 16 years who knowingly permits such child to use or have in his or her possession any BB gun . . . commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.”)

To say the least, ending the movie with mom and dad in the pokey would put a damper on this holiday classic.

On behalf of the PLF family, we hope you have a festive day celebrating the holiday season in whatever form or fashion brings you joy (as long as it’s legal).

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