Next stop: Nanny State
It's a proper function of the law to protect the public from improper actions by others, such as wanton destruction of public lands through thoughtless use of ATVs ("Western kids have fun -- and die -- motoring off-road," HCN, 6/24/13). It is not a proper function of the law to protect people from their own stupidity or lack of common sense. That's a big step along the path to a "nanny state" in which the government becomes responsible for everything and people fail to assume, or even acknowledge, individual responsibility for their words and actions.
The article was so involved in recounting the tragedies that occur (rather infrequently) as a result of ill-advised or unsupervised use of ATVs that it failed to acknowledge, even in one brief sentence, the usefulness of these vehicles for legitimate purposes on farms and ranches, where ATVs have replaced horses for many routine tasks, as well as for healthful recreation. Perhaps their usefulness is tacitly assumed, as it is with highway vehicles, which take a much higher toll in deaths and injuries.