Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

the rules matter

This last week or two, two terribly tragic events have taken place, each involving multiple deaths at nightclubs. One, in the Chicago area, involved deaths in the aftermath of a curious disturbance, in a club that had already been ordered to close down. Another involved dozens of deaths in a Rhode Island club, in which a heavy metal "lite" band began a pyrotechnics display, apparently without a pyrotechnics permit, which tragically turned into a fatal fire. I feel so badly for all the people involved, and for their families. The time for assessing how these incidents happened will be something best handled by courts and administrative bodies, not Fox News or weblogs.

But I cannot escape the feeling that we live in an era in which everyone is through special circumstances "exempt" from the rules which apply to everyone else. I don't mean that literally. Instead, I mean that we live in a culture in which traffic regulations, health and safety regulations, environmental regulations, and consumer protections are all treated as mean-spirited formalities, rather than protections against tragedies. I'm not ready to say why things happened to all those people this week. But so many problems in this life could be solved if people just did what they teach kindergartners to do. It's become prudish to say it, but I can't help but feel--why can't people just follow the rules?
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