Professor Christopher Ratte is a pretty clueless guy. The University of Michigan archeology professor took his son to Comerica park to watch the Detroit Tigers play. Ratte is one of three or four people who haven’t heard of Mikes Hard Lemonade.
Ratte is a tenured professor of classical archeology at the University of Michigan, which means that, on a given day, he’s more likely to be excavating ancient burial sites in Turkey than watching “Dancing with the Stars” — or even the History Channel, for that matter.
The 47-year-old academic says he wasn’t even aware alcoholic lemonade existed when he and Leo stopped at a concession stand on the way to their seats in Section 114.
“I’d never drunk it, never purchased it, never heard of it,” Ratte of Ann Arbor told me sheepishly last week. “And it’s certainly not what I expected when I ordered a lemonade for my 7-year-old.”
But it wasn’t until the top of the ninth inning that a Comerica Park security guard noticed the bottle in young Leo’s hand.
“You know this is an alcoholic beverage?” the guard asked the professor.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Ratte replied. He asked for the bottle, but the security guard snatched it before Ratte could examine the label. (source)
That flunkie’s decision started a chain of events that led to Professor Ratte’s son being taken away by Child protective services.
The security guard called a physician who called an ambulance to take the kid to the hospital.
At the hospital, a cop interviewed the kid and was prepared to let it go. She should be given a medal for using her brain.
Unfortunately, her supervisor insisted that the case be referred to child protective services. That supervisor should be burned alive in the town square.
It gets worse. Relatives came all the way from Massachusetts to take the boy with them — to keep the kid from being placed in a foster home. The flunkie who handled that matter refused to hand over the kid to them unless they first had a hotel room. They ran out and got a hotel room. When they got back, the stupid flunkie, Latricia Jones, had already placed the kid in a foster home.
He has, since, been returned to his family once the State of Michigan determined that Professor Ratte did not pose a threat to his wife and child.
This anecdote leads me to a point that I’ve been thinking about for some time. Flunkiedom, not terrorism, is the greatest threat to America.
We have become a nation that operates like this:
Step 1: Imagine the absolute worst thing that could ever happen. This thing is the 1 in 1,000,000 event. Imagine the event while watching Dateline NBC or Fox News.
Step 2: Make a rule to keep the 1 in 1,000,000 event from EVER happening – regardless of how that rule affects the other 999,999 events.
Step 3: Hire an abject freakin moron to implement the rule. That person must either be so stupid that they could never exercise an independent thought, or they must be completely disempowered to do so.
And that, my friends, is how the new America works!
You think I’m wrong? Think about this the next time you go through airport security and some idiot says that you can’t take a pair of tweezers on the plane, because it can be used as a weapon. However, you can carry your 15 lb briefcase that could easily be used to club that idiot to death in less time that you can say “should be working at a convenience store.” Or think about it the next time you hear someone shrieking about sex offenders crawling from every crack in the sidewalk as a justification for forcing every online business to retain records… just in case we’re looking for the sex offender boogieman one day.
What should we do about it?
My honest suggestion is that we need two new laws: 1) abuse of authoritah, 2) flunkiedom. Abuse of authoritah is when a cop or other person granted authority by the state knowingly and intentionally misuses that authority. Examples here, here, and here. Flunkiedom is when someone does essentially the same thing, but not intentionally — just out of sheer stupidity.
The penalties? I propose death by hanging for abuse of authoritah and forced sterilization for flunkiedom. If the flunkie is beyond child bearing years, then all of their offspring must be sterilized.
Harsh? Yeah it’s harsh. So is living in an idiocracy.
I love that you are passionate about making things better and I realize you are having a bit of fun here but I have to laugh at your proposed solution of new laws(rules). Because as I see it underneath all of the idiocy in this country and the thing that differentiates the United States from other countries is our litigousness and abuse of the legal system.
People are often afraid to or are not allowed to make any decision for fear of being fired or sued. Only the elimination of laws/rules could ever give more power to the individual to make decisions. So are Americans too stupid think adn do the right things? It seems that the people making the rules/lwas have drawn that conclusion. It is sadly a downward spiral too, and if we get all sci-fi on this subject then the future will be masses of mindless people controlled by big-brother rule maker/law enforcer.
You make a good point.
But, it is one of those things that can be changed one person at a time. I spent one day working as a prosecutor. They put a file in front of me and told me to work on it. The file? A 16 year old pregnant girl was busted for shoplifting maternity clothes from Wal-Mart.
I started to fill in the form. I got to the line marked VICTIM. I wrote “Wal-Mart Corp., Bentonville, Arkansas.” I then thought… “this is insane. We are going to prosecute this girl for this? Wal-Mart is the victim?”
Sure, she broke the law. Sure, someone had to bust her. I would have been fired if I didn’t do it. I didn’t have the discretion to choose how to handle this.
So I quit.
That was one of the proudest days of my life. I told my supervisor that I didn’t look down on her for doing this job, and maybe someone has to do it, but it can’t be me.
Passion and integrity! That’s why I like you so much.