All My Peoples That Be Knowin' the Time, C'mon and Push Up Ya Lighter

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Sleep easy, o citizens of Maine: Your governor has vanquished your most feared enemy.

While in a small southern Maine grocery store with his mother last June 12 to buy sandwiches, Shane St. Pierre picked up a miniature baseball bat and flicked the switch to see what would happen.

A flame shot out, singeing the child's eyebrow and burning part of his face. His parents called the state Fire Marshal's office, and were surprised to learn that Maine had no law banning so-called novelty lighters.

That's no longer the case.

On Monday, 6-year-old Shane stood next to Gov. John Baldacci as he signed legislation that makes Maine the first state to outlaw the sale of cigarette lighters that are particularly attractive to children because they come in the shapes of cartoon characters, toys and animals.

"It's not often I get to sign a bill that's the nation's first," said Baldacci, whose desk was covered with an array of novelty lighters including a race car, a sandal, a cow, and two bright red items which ironically were in the shapes of a fire hydrant and fire extinguisher.

So the absence of any similiar law in any state convinced Baldacci that this was a good idea. Yes, fine.

(Novelty lighter photo courtesy of reason Contributing Editor Julian Sanchez.)

Headline explained here.

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  1. See, I would think that knowing what a button does before you push it is a very important life lesson, one that is cheaply bought at the price of an owie from a novelty lighter.

  2. A flame shot out, singeing the child’s eyebrow and burning part of his face.

    Forget right and wrong in the context of American politics.

    This is natural selection you’re fucking with now, Mr. Bald-ass-y…

  3. To quote comedian Steve Hofstetter:
    “This isn’t a tragedy, this is God taking inventory. ‘Looks like we have a surplus on dumbass this year…’ *imitates the sound of a lick of flame*”

  4. Let me be the first to point out that a baseball bat is neither a toy, nor a cartoon character, nor an animal.

  5. Also, Weigel gets the award for the Whitest attempt to phoneticize rapper-speak.

    I mean, damn, dude, I though Jamie Kennedy wrote that headline…

  6. Is there anything Maine won’t ban?

  7. OK, what the hell is in the lighter in the photo? A big toe? Pychadelic eye? Parking meter?

  8. Go ahead, boy, stick that fork in that outlet. …Hurt like hell, di’n’t? Don’t do that no more.

    Also, Weigel makes me even more ashamed to be a cracker.

  9. joe,

    Let me be the first to point out that a baseball bat is neither a toy, nor a cartoon character, nor an animal.

    Buddy begs to differ.

  10. At all costs,whatever it takes, we must ensure today’s kids have the safest existence ever, even if it means that by the time their adults they won’t want to live.

  11. Where were the failures:

    1) A kid picked up a strange item and pushed a button without understanding what would happen. Dumb, but not inconsistent with a 4 or 5 year old.

    2) A parent took a small child into a store and didn’t pay attention to what the child was doing. Unforgivable, but far to common today.

    3) A store owner put a potentially hazardous item out in the open where an inquisitive child could latch onto it. An oversight which should probably have some liability attached to it.

    The first solution that comes to mind for a very large percentage of the population these days. Let’s pass another law.

  12. Now only outlaws will have anthropomorphic cigarette lighters!

  13. My folks had a table top lighter that looked like a WW II hand grenade. Would that have been OK because it looked dangerous?

  14. Also, Weigel gets the award for the Whitest attempt to phoneticize rapper-speak.

    Well, I think Dave has opened the door with this attempt for us to ask: what is Weigel’s rap name?

    Also, for bonus funsies: what is his porn name, and what is the name of his own personal prog rock band?

  15. I’ll kick it off with his prog rock band name:

    Autistic Rust

  16. His parents called the state Fire Marshal’s office, and were surprised to learn that Maine had no law banning so-called novelty lighters.

    Yeah well, I was surprised to find out there’s no law banning stupid people from becoming parents. Who do I see about that?

  17. My child was hurt so I’m proposing to ban:

    bicycles, trampolines, swimming pools, skateboards, cars, boats, tricycles, dogs, all pets, hopscotch, recess time, all sports, running, playing, throwing objects, sharp corners, electrical devices, rollerblades, sharp utensils, cleaning products, shop class, all ‘unhealthy’ foods, grass hillsides, deep puddles, empty fields, lighters, matches, flint and steel, pens and pencils, paper, scissors, stairs, airplanes, sunshine, rivers, lakes, trees, ditches, creeks, swingsets, jungle-gyms, playgrounds, curbs, sidewalks cracks, sliding glass doors, hard floors, BB guns, airsoft guns, toy guns of any kind, shoelaces, sandals, hairspray, all flammable liquids, houseplants, pingpong, all table sports, irons, ironing boards, appliances, medicines, medicine cabinets, waterbeds, water, liquid, etc.

  18. I really can’t believe that the state didn’t just prohibit stores from placing these items within the reach of children. Sure, that would have been a stretch, but an outright ban is incredible.

    I guess the area behind the drug store counter is already too full from all those cold pills.

  19. My child was hurt so I’m proposing to ban:

    Careful there Sparky, don’t give them ideas.

  20. Every election there’s a “change” candidate. (Has there ever been a more appropriate use of scare quotes?) These candidates, of course, never actually represent real, positive change. I propose that an actual change candidate would find ways to solve problems without resorting to collective punishment. Any moron can ban something. It takes intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom to effect positive change without punishing the innocent.

  21. Maine doesn’t really care about children or it would ban children from any store that sells anything that may be dangerous if improperly used.

  22. I’m surprised that lighters and such aren’t under lock and key already. I know that most of the chain drug stores card you for lighters, zippo fluid, and flints.

    Being carded for flints just annoyed the living hell out of me. It’s a piece of flint, shaped into a cylinder. That’s it. Unless I have steel, tinder, and fuel, it does nothing! Well, I suppose some special little ankle biter may mistake them for chicklets…

    Nephilium

  23. My folks had a table top lighter that looked like a WW II hand grenade. Would that have been OK because it looked dangerous?

    No, because if a kid had one, his chances of being shot by a police officer increase dramatically.

  24. Is there anything Maine won’t ban?

    Sales of energy drinks to minors are safe–for now.

  25. Is there anything Maine won’t ban?

    Deficits.

  26. Relax, Mr. and Mrs. St. Pierre. No life has singed him now.

  27. Go ahead, boy, stick that fork in that outlet. …Hurt like hell, di’n’t?

    Not anymore. Coming to a home near you, I give you the tamper-resistant outlet.

  28. OK, what the hell is in the lighter in the photo? A big toe? Pychadelic eye? Parking meter?

    My money is on “alien holding a bowling ball.”

    It’s too bad the little bastard didn’t start banging that baseball bat lighter on the counter. With any luck, one or more of the imbecile protagonists (child/parent/shopkeeper) in this little morality play would have been killed or maimed by shrapnel when it exploded.

  29. Over at Urkobold, I presented proof that tricycles should be banned because they’re unsafe.

  30. Weigel’s rap name?

    Shilly D, obviously.

  31. I continue to be amazed that so many of my generation survived childhood. We didn’t wear bicycle helmets, we bought paint at the hardware store, and we played with lighters. Sure we had some accidents, but we managed to survive mostly intact.

  32. I’ve been to Maine. High taxes, lots of poverty, lots of unemployment, ridiculously low speed limits with very vigilant cops…except for the lobster, Maine sucks.

  33. “tamper resistant outlet”

    I say, that is indeed a happy jack.

  34. Nephilium, I guess my front yard needs to be walled off. It’s full of flint.

  35. Something ain’t right. Either the child knew how to operate the lighter or the lighter did not meet current CPSC requirements.

    http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/PRHTML94/94105.html

  36. One thing to know about Baldacci is that being first is what he is all about. He’ll do just about anything if it means Maine is first. He takes to heart Maine’s motto: “Dirigo”

  37. Yeah it appears to be an alien, do you like aliens Julian? I don’t like that lighter, but to each… Novelty lighters are usually overpriced and break pretty quickly in my experience.

  38. Over at Urkobold, I presented proof that tricycles should be banned because they’re unsafe.

    Soooooohhhh! You are the guy responsible for all those quad ATV’s!

  39. I’ve been to Maine. High taxes, lots of poverty, lots of unemployment, ridiculously low speed limits with very vigilant cops…except for the lobster, Maine sucks.

    Better not tell my buddy Paige who bailed on us and moved there. He says the snow mobile trails are awesome. Course he’s taken to referring to 40 degrees as balmy.

  40. This is natural selection you’re fucking with now, Mr. Bald-ass-y…

    If we were talking about someone beyond the age of reason, I’d agree…but five year olds tend to do stupid things, including many who grew up to be highly intelligent posters on H&R. As for blaming the parents, are you kidding me? You’re never supposed to let your kid out of your sight, even when you’re in the same place, ten feet away?

    As kinnath said, the proper response would be a liability action against the store; a law against displaying flame-producing items where children can reach wouldn’t be the end of the world, either. For what it’s worth, as a former gas station manager, I always wondered about the wisdom of putting scores of lighters on a counter that was constantly touched by people with friggin’ gasoline on their hands.

  41. Actually, an even better setup would be to have empty lighters on display, and the ones with fluid behind the counter. Again, I’m not saying there should be a law, but that’s one option for a wise convenience store owner.

  42. There are plenty of people counting down until Bush’s last day. Personally, I’m counting down until Baldacci is gone. That asshole has ruined Maine. Once I have enough saved up, I’m gone from this state. Anywhere, save Vermont, would be better than here.

  43. Whoops, I incorrectly linked to my Blog.

  44. Dirigo…latin for an assembly of yahoos and dingbats?

    Baldacci…an new entrant for this month’s King (Queen) of Legislative Douchebaggery award

  45. My money is on “alien holding a bowling ball.”

    Ah, I see that now.

  46. A store owner put a potentially hazardous item out in the open where an inquisitive child could latch onto it. An oversight which should probably have some liability attached to it.

    Oh, for God’s sake. Its the parent’s job to keep their brat under control, nobody else’s.

    This country should not be organized to meet the needs of badly behaved four year olds.

  47. This country should not be organized to meet the needs of badly behaved four year olds.

    Now you tell us.

  48. A kid burns himself assing off with a lighter. BAM new law!

    Cops kick down peoples door at 3am with the wrong address and kill innocent people REPEATEDLY and nothing.

    If it was this politicians family that got killed in a raid I bet you would see a new law then.

    We truly are beyond fucked.

  49. so this happened, they decided they needed a law, and the best one they came up with was to ban “novelty” lighters?

    I’m kinda soft on some sort of law, or better a suggestion, to keep lighters up high (unless that discriminates against little people), or behind a counter, or at least around the register where presumably parents have at least one eye on their kids.

    And I for one appreciate that Weigel at least made an ackward reference to a good hip-hop group (or band, more accurately), I love the Roots!

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