Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Letter to the Editor

I sent the following letter to Newsday on September 14, 1992:

The cover story of the September 12 Newsday exposed one of the most important social problems facing America today—the unlicensed, unregistered, and unregulated use of teapots.

A businesswoman was able to repulse a robbery attempt using a teapot. This time a teapot happened to be a defense. Next time the robber can turn the teapot on its owner. We may soon be faced with the prospect of countless numbers of teapot-wielding criminals terrorizing neighborhoods across the United States.

We should not feel complacent about this and assume decent citizens can use their own teapots. Professional, hardened criminals can always use such dangerous devices better than an amateur. Fighting teapots with teapots should be left to the police. Teapots also do not eliminate the causes of crime and only teach the criminal to use force instead of reason to solve problems.

We must also consider the effect of teapots on the social fabric. If a customer in a low-income neighborhood goes into a store and sees a teapot, he might perceive that as a expression of the owner's prejudices. That could produce a riot worse than that in Los Angeles.

The possibility that teapots may become weapons in family quarrels is even more serious. For every teapot used to repulse a criminal, many more are used to hit members of the same family. We can attempt to solve this problem by teapot safety education (a teapot is not a toy, always assume every teapot is made of cast iron, and never wave a teapot at someone as a joke) but that will alleviate only part of the problem.

We must also beware of slogans such as “teapots don't bruise people; people bruise people.” It is people with teapots who bruise people.

I call upon all political candidates this election year to overcome to awesome power of the NTA (National Teapot Association), remove the pro-teapot propaganda in our schools (teapots are not just “short and stout”), organize a boycott of Beauty and the Beast, and introduce legislation mandating the registration and licensing of these potentially deadly weapons.

I'm not sure I would send it today; it might be used to support new regulations.


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