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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Live free or get stuck

Today is an historic one. No, not because of the blizzard, but because the Boston Herald defended Deval Patrick. Sort of.

Of course the praise comes with the obligatory slap at Michael Dukakis, who did not have the benefit of modern forecasting or communications tools in belatedly imposing a driving ban during the Blizzard of '78, after Route 128 turned into a snow-clogged parking lot.

But the Herald's praise is not shared by libertarians -- not to mention pizza deliverers and taxi companies -- who are venting against order banning all vehicular traffic except for public safety, health care workers and of course the media. That's because you can't have too many reporters without the good sense to take their yard sticks and snow balls and come out of storm.

In a sense the wails are not shocking. This is a state after all, where drivers have long defended their right to plaster themselves against their windshields by not wearing seat belts. And never mind that it took home-bound commuters hours extra to get through traffic jams on Thursday night before a single flake fell.

The nanny state is protecting people from their god-given right to spin out, cause a multi-car pile-up and shut down a roadway!

I will grant the naysayers the point that a year in jail seems a bit over the top. But I will also note that police officers generally ignore traffic law enforcement on a sunny day.

The jury is still out on whether this storm is one for the ages as the professional forecasters suggested or whether this is just getting back to the reality that this is New England in February after what has been one and a half easy winters.

One of government's jobs is to protect public safety. That's why we pay police, firefighters and public works crew. Patrick's order does not prevent people from opening their doors and walking on unshoveled sidewalks and streets. That would be over the top.

 And we haven't heard the last of the howls. What happens if the ban is not lifted in time for tonight's Bruins game?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current driving ban is because of storms such as the Blizzard of '78, and Snowmageddon to mention two. Fear of masses of cars getting stuck and being abandoned, making a mess of the cleanup have made the driving ban an easy choice for governors wishing to avoid the carping of not doing enough. The Blizzard of '78 and its descendents also created the culture of wall to wall team coverage cheerleading the storm instead of informing viewers, and the run on markets at the slightest report of a snow flake can be traced back to then also.

February 09, 2013 3:20 PM  

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