short histories calculated to improve the moral conduct of children, guns and marshall law

The Accidents of Youth

The Accidents of Youth, consisting of short histories, calculated to improve the moral conduct of children, and warn them of the many dangers to which they are exposed : illustrated by engravings; 1819; Jas. W. and Chas. Adlard, London.

My Dear Children, The inexperience and thoughtlessness natural at your age exposes you to many dangers : I have therefore pointed out some of them in this book, which contains several instructive little histories, in which you will behold the misfortunes that arise from disobedience and want of thought. When your parents desire you not to climb upon the chairs, or touch the fire, or play with knives, or pins, it is not because they wish to prevent you amusing yourselves ; they are only anxious to keep you from harm. If you were allowed to do whatever you pleased, many accidents would happen through your own indiscretion : for instance, when climbing on the furniture you might fall, and break a leg or an arm; and might burn yourselves, by playing with fire ; or cut your fingers, by playing with knives ; or might swallow pins, in putting them into your mouth. Thus, you see you might often lame or kill yourselves, if your good mamma or papa did not guard most of your actions. Do not suppose, my dear children, that I wish to prevent your playing and taking proper exercise. On the contrary, I am very much amused by your games, though they are sometimes noisy; and I admire your harmless mirth. I wish you to be gay and to amuse yourselves at proper times ; but you should never be rash or disobedient. You can play very well without climbing up to the window, on the furniture, or other improper places. If you see guns, pistols, or other dangerous weapons, you should never touch them, as you may always find play-things more agreeable, and free from danger. Why should you play with a knife or with the fire? and why put things into your mouth, at the risk of poisoning yourselves? These things are forbidden you; and yet your amusement is the wish of your parents. They desire only to see you happy, and guard you against accidents which your own discretion would not avoid. If you are good children, you will pay attention to the advice of your friends, and receive it as a proof of their love.

I’ve read through page 53. Much of it makes sense, even today – be careful about climbing trees ( which I did a lot as a kid), don’t let other kids bait you with name calling into doing something that might get you and them hurt. Not to play on lake ice. Yet the tone is so moralistic and patronizing it makes me want to go out and climb a tree over a frozen lake on a dare.

I was going to link to a few editorials to demonstrate a point about the tipping point for when people will take up arms against government forces, but the first ones I came across quickly drifted into incoherence. I searched Google with Boston+Marshall law – there is a good picture of what looks like a SWAT team searching someone’s home here. I like the picture because the residents look like average folks in their slightly messy modest home. As everyone probably knows the city of Boston was shut down in many ways for 18 hours of so. Roads were closed, people were restricted to their homes, businesses were told they could not open, taxi and bus service was candled for a while. That is not technically the full measure of official Marshall law. It is unofficial, de facto Marshall law. During Hurricane Katrina New Orleans was placed under official Marshall law. In New Orleans and in Boston these measures might be consider necessary in the short term – a sacrifice of some liberties until a dangerous situation can be brought under control. I followed the Twitter feeds of several Watertown residents as events unfolded. They were not happy about the situation, but generally took it in stride. Boston, like most cities has a lot of gun owners and even in liberal Massachusetts  a few NRA members. Not one of them grabbed their weapon and confronted government authorities about taking away their freedom. Not the imaginary freedoms they think President Obama is taking away in their conspiracy theories. I’m not talking about average gun owners like myself. I mean the far Right gun owners who worship their guns like magical fetish objects that object to expanded background checks, reasonable limits on magazine size – laws that in their view are a monstrous intrusion on their freedom. Freedom they need so they’ll be armed and can fight the gov’mint when it does things like declare Marshall law.

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