When Balloons go Bad in Brown County

I was trying to do some early morning research to see if there was something I could write on for my lunch hour post, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. As I scanned the news this AM before work, I cam across a little article in the Aberdeen American News (in the print version only):
Deflated: Helium Balloons outlawed.

The Brown county Fair Board has voted to prohibit helium-filled balloons at this year’s county fair.

Fair manager Larry Gerlach said in the past balloons have gotten away from fairgoers sometimes end up in ventilation fans in barns and other buildings, creating problems during the hot august days.
My first reaction immediately? “You have got to be kidding me.” Somehow, in the decades upon decades that this and other fairs have been in existence, everyone has managed to cope until this point. They've managed to hold the line on unruly balloons – until now.

Making a bold statement against getting balloons down or popping them, the Brown County fair is now putting its foot down against little kids who lose their balloons. Damn them. If those rotten kids won't put those balloons under control then the Brown County Fair Board will!

But then it got worse. As it continued in the article, which was well written by Aberdeen American News Reporter Bill Wambeke:
Balloons popping and scaring animals is also a concern, members of the board’s livestock committee told the board….


Fair Board President Roger Huettl said the vote to prohibit the balloons was unanimous. He said that he hasn’t witnessed an animal reacting to balloon popping, but said the move was a precautionary one to avoid future accidents.
Good gosh, call out homeland security. At this point, my reaction went from “you have got to be kidding me” to “These people are idiots. Boobs. Boobs who deserve nothing more than the ridicule they are going to bring on themselves.”

One of the fears prodding people to line up against the J.A.I.L. Amendment is because it will potentially place public board decisions up for review by a special grand jury. And legitimately, J.A.I.L. is bad. But then you have a public board like this one make a ridiculous decision of this nature. And it just provides ammo for the pro-JAIL supporters.

Thankfully no one had thought of the idea garish colors frightening the animals, or people would be forced to wear drab earthtones when entering the barns. No yellow backgrounds on those John Deere hats. Let’s also ban overweight people because one might decide to start snacking on a cow.

It’s never happened. But you never know. Someone might not get their fill of fair food, and they could lash out at any moment...

At this point, I was so disgusted with the actions of the Brown County Fair Board, I almost stopped reading. But I didn't, and lo, the final straw broke as I continued. This was the one that tipped it over the edge:
Gerlach said that the board had considered outlawing latex balloons altogether because of allergic reactions some people have to the material, but decided against it.
What? The fact that it was even considered moves the people on this panel from the status of simple- minded boobs to the level of "politically correct suckers of fun." They didn't care about justifications. They were hellbent on getting rid of helium balloons no matter how silly the justification was.

Yes, it's clear. Without prudent reasoning or probable cause, the PC police is showing their intent is to suck the fun out of things. They were going to lead the charge to mandate low hanging balloons versus those inflated by helium, period. The only reason they didn't use the allergic reaction reason was because it was too over the top and ridiculous for even the casual observer. Even I can't imagine scores of children convulsing and quivering on the concrete in anaphylactic shock from an inflated toy. (Quick, get an epi-pen! He touched a balloon!)

This reminds me of the stampede in the 1980's to outlaw rice being thrown a weddings - a tradition that had been around for decades if not longer.

The basis of the reasoning is that someone decided that birds eating the rice would artificially expand and explode from the rice. Pigeon carcasses would be falling from the sky as thier ruptured bodies littered the streets, expiring as if they were already pre-stuffed for a miniature thankgiving dinner.

And only after churches and other wedding venues across the nation banned rice en masse - after the practice was erased from the public conciousness, only then did someone finally dare to question whether or not if this expanding rice thing might be true.

Of course, it turned out to be complete B.S.

And just like the hypersensitive politically correct fools that have preceded them in history, as well as the other people who want to suck fun and the little pleasures out of life who will certainly follow, the Brown County Fair Board has really accomplished nothing except making themselves look petty and foolish for all of the silly excuses they are using to take balloons away from little kids.

So parents, just keep that in mind as you are picking what fair to go to this year. Because some people are determined to suck the fun out of this one.


Bob Newland said…
Pat, can you (or anybody) point out where in the proposed JAIL Amendment it could be construed to apply to anyone except judges, as in magistrates, circuit judges and Supreme Court judges?

Has anyone who has ventured an opinion on JAIL (besides me) actually read the proposed amendment?

Bob Newland said…
And I agree with you that the Brown Co fair board seems to be vying for some kind of stupidity award.
mhs said…
Bob: The definition per JAIL's website: "Judge: Justice, judge, magistrate judge, judge pro tem, and all other persons claiming to be shielded by judicial immunity."

Some examples where officials are shielded by judicial immunity in S.D.:
County commissioners meet as Boards of Equalization every year and exercise judicial powers per property tax assesment appeals. All state agencies subscribe to the S.D. Administration law statutes and excercise judicial roles in administrative law matters, etc.

Anybody think a parole board doesn't act in a judicial role? How about mental health professionals determining commitment proceedings? How about the myriad medical, professional, regulatory boards in South Dakota with the power to grant or suspend licenses? The Brand Board can impound cattle: clearly a judicial function.

Examples go on and on.

Just like examples of stupid government actions like balloon-banning go on and on. . . .
David Newquist said…
The Brown County Fair has been a very popular event for people of the region. However, some exhibitors demand that it be run their way. Booths run by political parties got complaints that almost got us banned from the Fair because people tended to congregate around our booths to meet candidates, register to vote, and just chat. Exhibitors complained that the small crowds detracted from their enterprises.

Oh, and we often gave helium balloons to chidren. Yes, they sometimes escaped and hung around the ceiling of the exhibit hall or tried for orbit, and I am sure someone had to expend some effort to retrieve the ones hovering near the ceiling. Scaring animals? Over the noise of the midway? Or the demolition derby?

I wonder if it has occured to the fair board what kind of hazardous materials are produced by all those animals on exhibit. Or if they realize how dangerous the peanuts sold at the Club House and the popcorn stands are to some people.

Here we are fussing about avian flu when stupidity has become pandemic in Brown County. Have you tracked how some departments of city government in Aberdeen have performed in the past few years?

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