August 29, 2010

"He passed doing what he loved..."

"... and had his go fast face on as he pulled onto the trac. The world lost one of its brightest lights today. God Bless Peter and the other rider involved. 45 is on another road we can only hope to reach. Miss you kiddo."

114 comments:

Sixty Grit said...

Regrets?

traditionalguy said...

Gutsy kid. But I would welcome the chance to take this case to a jury. If girls are said to be raped for being too young to give a legal consent to sex. than this boy did not gave consent to assumption of this risk.

Freeman Hunt said...

They let thirteen year olds race motorcycles?

David said...

This dad does. The kid who ran him over was 12.

David said...

"If girls are said to be raped for being too young to give a legal consent to sex. than this boy did not gave consent to assumption of this risk."

The dad presumably consented for him, and signed all sorts of documents. Could (say) the mom now sue the dad?

Fortunately, at least in this country, parents can not consent to a 13 year old having sex. Not legally, at least.

I feel badly for the family here, but the dad needs to think all of this through a lot more carefully, if he has other kids.

SteveR said...

Somewhat conflicts with the previous post. Generalities often leave reality unsatisfied.

Skyler said...

Yes, they've let 13 year olds do lots of things for as long as I've been on this planet.

Accidents happen and it would be a sorry excuse for a free country if kids weren't able to go out and compete at risky sports with their parents' permission.

When I was a kid it was very common and expected to bring pocket knives to school. I remember one kid brought a BB gun. No one much cared, so long as he didn't shoot it. I was in pretty suburban part of Virginia.

Nowadays, I guess you can't even draw a picture of a gun in some places.

I never competed on motorcycles, but I remember my friend Timmy had a dirt bike when we were about that age and we used to tear it up on the local undeveloped tracts of the city. It was a lot of fun and if I could have done it I would have dearly loved to have competed.

What a tragedy for this boy to die so young.

Bob Ellison said...

Motorcycles are stupid.

Freeman Hunt said...

Skyler, I've got no problem with pocket knives and BB guns. But there's a reason that nurses call motorcycles "donorcycles." Riding one, especially in a competitive situation, is a major risk. The sort of risk that we would usually only allow an adult to weigh.

Maguro said...

Really not a big fan of the He passed doing what he loved-type eulogy when applied to 13 year-olds. When the deceased is old and crinkly and doing his bucket list or whatever, fine, use that cliche. But not for a kid, it just feels wrong.

Shanna said...

They let thirteen year olds race motorcycles?

I'm with Freeman. 13 year olds can't legally drive cars even with parents permission in most states. Motorcycles are way, way more dangerous. I'm actually shocked that's legal.

BB guns and pockets knives are far safer things.

jr565 said...

I remember when I used to go to Action Park in NJ (is that place still even open). To ride the motorboats or the Racecars you needed a license, so had to at least be 18. Action Park was dangerous enough even without the need for a license and I saw people get injured every single time I went there (cannonball slide, alpine slide, tidal wave pool you name it people were hurt (and in one case died) when I was there). But even so, if you can't ride the Powerboats at an amusement park without a license, maybe you shouldn't be riding motorocyles professionally at the age of 12. Either that, or I should have had the ability to smash a powerboat into a wall at an early age. Either something is wrong with this picture, or I got gipped in childhood.

Freeman Hunt said...

When someone dies of an accidental overdose, you never hear anyone say, "He died doing what he loved."

Dudley Do-right said...

"Motorcycles are stupid."

^^This

raf said...

So what is the alternative? For the government at some level to assume responsibility for the games children play? I would never have let my kids do something like this, but establishing some central authority to make decisions like this in place of the parents would be worse. The most risk-averse people would be drawn to this ne commission, and their preferences would not likely be yours. Sure, it is easy to second-guess this situation, but I would rather the responsibility continue to rest with the parents.

JAL said...

From wikipedia
[Jeff] Gordon {four-time NASCAR Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) Series champion, three-time Daytona 500 winner} began racing at the age of five, racing quarter midgets. The Cameron Memorial Race Track (Previously the CrackerJack Track) in Rio Linda, California is noted as the first track Gordon ever competed on. By the age of 6 Gordon had won 35 main events and set 5 track records.[2] By the age of 13 Gordon took an interest in the 650 horsepower (480 kW) sprint cars. Gordon and his family had to overcome an insurance hurdle. The minimum age for driving the sprint cars was 16. His persistence paid off with an all Florida speed weeks. Supporting his career choice, Gordon's family moved from Vallejo, California to Pittsboro, Indiana, where there were more opportunities for younger racers. Before the age of 18, Gordon had already won three short-track races and was awarded USAC Midget Car Racing Rookie of the Year in 1989.

Just sayin'

JAL said...

raf has a point

Beth said...

tradguy,

I'm pretty sure 13-year-old boys are said to be raped for being too young to give legal consent to sex, too. I would certainly say so, in any case.

edutcher said...

Here again we have parental (and institutional) irresponsibility excused by the old "He would have wanted this way" dodge. If Dad didn't have sense enough to say, "No", the association, which I hope has its ears sued off, should have.

raf's point about government intervention is well-taken, but we assume the association was supposed to act where the parent was too stupid to do so.

Maybe all they saw dollar signs from merchandising a 13 year old.

Emil said...

I can't speak for Indiana - but in FL a parent cannot sign an effective waiver for this sort of thing. Of course the issue of waiver is too fine a point - this is basic, simple parental responsibility - and these folks failed.

Emil said...

I can't speak for Indiana - but in FL a parent cannot sign an effective waiver for this sort of thing. Of course the issue of waiver is too fine a point - this is basic, simple parental responsibility - and these folks failed.

Fred4Pres said...

I am so sorry to his family. That is just horrible and heart breaking.

Fred4Pres said...

Do us all a favor, don't pass a law, okay? I would not let my son ride in that race. But many boys do ride and do fine. Life is dangerous. Boys die from crossing the road, unexpected disease, and car accidents all the time.

I would not let my daughter sail around the world at 16 either. But I do not need the government telling us we cannot do it.

rcocean said...

I'm with the nannies and safety Nazi's on this one. A 13 year boy can't evaluate the risks properly. 13 year boys, heck - 23 year old men, don't think they're going to die. Danger is Cool. Death only happens to old people.

Its up to the parents to protect their Kids. Even when the Kids don't want it.

Joe said...

The tut-tutting is such bullshit. Kids die racing BMX bikes. Kids die just falling out of tree houses. Considering all the crazy shit my brothers and I did as kids, I'm amazed we lived through it (though I did have stitches nine times, two broken bones and one severely sprained ankle [at boy scout camp as I was about to break the obstacle course record! Damn, shouldn't allow children to go to camp.])

I'm always amazed when conservatives suddenly find reasons for the government to take over parenting.

Joe said...

... in FL a parent cannot sign an effective waiver for this sort of thing

Bullshit. Look up go karting or youth motorcycle racing and head out to your local track. You'll see a lot of kids having fun and a few that a damn good.

former law student said...

Lately the news has been full of people who died while they were enjoying themselves -- a German woman celebrating her 50th birthday in San Francisco's Union Square shopping district caught a bullet outside an organized party for high-school aged youth. Another German was run over by an SUV while he was bicycling over SF's hills. An 18 year old SF girl was killed in Nepal on a side trip from a summer spent helping at an orphanage. You can't eliminate all risk of being killed by things outside your control.

But a teenager dying is a tragedy that we naturally want to prevent. Solving the problem of riders falling off their motorbikes seems difficult -- strapping them to the bikes may cause more problems than it prevents. And the fall did not kill the teen; it was the other kid's driving over him, apparently. Training riders to steer around such situations may be the easier task. (An obstacle course with popup obstacles, becoming increasingly more difficult, perhaps.)

former law student said...

When someone dies of an accidental overdose, you never hear anyone say, "He died doing what he loved."

I always think of Nelson Rockefeller supposedly having sex with his mistress when he passed to the great beyond.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Really so 13 y.o.'s can't consent? When DOES L'il Peter grow old enough TO consent? 16, 18, 25?

I'm with Fred please no laws...that's what happens, some dim-wit, Left or Right, politician decides to show s/he "cares" and is "doing something" and pretty soon we've got another law.

It was an ACCIDENT people...you can feel bad about it, but it was an accident.

Had little Peter died on a BMX would we need a law? Had he died water ski'ing or snow ski'ing would we need a law? Had he taken a baseball/softball to the head would we need a law? Had he been out deliberately siniking his row-boats would we need a law? Were he crawling across the last 15 metres of space in an uncompleted bridge, with a 30 metre fall would we need a law? The last two might be personal experiences. Lastly, how about friends of mine who have acompetitive 14 y.o. gymnist, kid is CONSTANTLY torn up and limping? Too young to consent? Should there be a "law?" (Mind you I wouldn't let MY kid be a gymnist, but am I supposed to tell other adults and their children what they can and canNOT do?)

So if we need a lw for ALL these when do you get to grow up or play outside? Part of growing up IS breaking bones, plowing into walls, having road rash, getting stitches, and the like....when do you get to play? 25? "Ok, you're an adult now, here's your field hockey stick."

WV: "Killypod" WOW, talk about synchronicity...I guess that refers to the pod-racers that little Anakin flew.

Shanna said...

Kids die racing BMX bikes. Kids die just falling out of tree houses.

Because bad things can happen anytime we should take no reasonable precautions? Maybe it's my motorcycle bias, I've just known WAY too many people (most of them young men) who died or had serious injuries from motorcycles to think well of them, but we do expect parent to take reasonable precautions. Not letting your 13/12 year old kid do something as ridiculously dangerous as motorcycle racing sounds seems like a reasonable precaution, not a crazy keeping your kids from life one.

Jeff Gordan may have raced young, but at least those cars have multiple protections in the case of crashes. The problem is, there is no way to protect you on a motorcycle. That is why they are so dangerous in the first place.

Pogo said...

The impulse to protect is understandable, but preventing young people from riding or racing bikes would be bad for boys and everyone else.

At my kid's old gradeschool, you can no longer play football, baseball, keep-away, or even tag.

Why not just shoot boys when they're born and get it over with?

Shanna said...

It was an ACCIDENT people...you can feel bad about it, but it was an accident.

An accident caused by a 12 year old. Part of the reason we don't let children drive cars is because they might hurt somebody else. That is exactly what happened here.

Pogo said...

Ban underage bicycles, too, then.

And jetskis.

And 4-wheelers.

And skateboards.

And projectiles (like frisbees, baseballs, and basketballs).

And walking across the street.

Wrap them in foam. Do not open until age 21. At that point they will be unready for the physical world, but, whatever.

Joe said...


An accident caused by a 12 year old. Part of the reason we don't let children drive cars is because they might hurt somebody else. That is exactly what happened here.


Would it have been better if the driver was oh say, 35?

He fell off his bike, IN A RACE, you know those events where everyone is going REAL fast? And where you have .1 seconds to react? And mayhap he ony had .05 seconds to react at the distance he was follwoing...but if you think the age of the driver had any impact, please present it.


I'm with Pogo, if we "do something about this" let's go ahead and "do something" about BMX, and play grounds, and ski'ing, and jet ski's, and stick ball, and pools, and well just about anything that sent you or your brothers or your cousins to the Emergency Room. It's not like Peter:
1) didn't ahve some clue as tot he risks, having been in a MAJOR WRECK AT 12; AND
2) Wasn't waering his helmet, boots, gloves, and riding gear, with neck and kidney protection.

You see we've ALREADY "done something about this" we make riders wear protective gear. How much more do you want us to do?

Shanna said...

Does it really have to be all or nothing (legality wise)? I thought it was already illegal for people under a certain age to drive cars, motorcycles, etc...I didn't realize there were weird exceptions. We don't let the average 12 year old legally drive a car, usually, and as far as reasonable laws I think that is one of them.

Mary Beth said...

When the news reports that a child has drowned, I don't notice a lot of calls to ban children from swimming. Why ban them from racing motorcycles?

Drowning is more common, so maybe it's the rarity of this accident that causes this reaction. Shouldn't people be more upset over a common cause than a less common one?

Maybe it's that more people swim than ride motorcycles. Are people more willing to accept a risk with which they are personally familiar than they are willing to let others accept a risk that is unfamiliar?

It was reported that the weather had been hot and dry, making the track unusually slick. Perhaps they should look at ways of improving traction and track safety instead of banning kids from participating. I would rather trust technology than new laws/rules/regulations.

Pogo said...

"as far as reasonable laws I think that is one of them."

Why stop with motorcycle racing, if safety is your concern?

Did you know that young girls engage in competitive downhill skiing at speeds equaling or exceeding motorcycle racing?

Why not ban that as well?



Do-gooders are more dangerous than motocross.

Joe said...

Shanna, so Peter would have had to wait until 16 to start his motorcycle career?

Cars involve you and me, road racing really invovles YOU...so you're saying that Peter had no business doing something he loved, that really only risked himself?

Again Shanna, let's do something about dirt bikes and bicycles and dirt hills and home-made jumps, and 3 and 10 metre diving boards, and "Hey watch this!"

WV: "lattes" probably soy lattes, in a very safe cup, what many people are drining as they comment on this.

How many times does it have to be said, "It was an ACCIDENT." The 12 y.o that hit him had a split second to react, to decide, "OH SH!T Peter's in the road, do I go left/right/straight?-based on his/her realizaion that their radical movement might imperil THEM and STILL not avoid Peter).

I assume, Shanna, that you are older than the 12 y.o. could YOU have made that decision better or quicker? That's why sports and combat are a young person's "game" they have quicker reflexes.

peter hoh said...

David @ 9:33 -- in some states, parents can consent to their 13 year old daughter getting married.

shoutingthomas said...

When I was 13 years old, we rode our cycles everywhere, although technically we were too young to have a driver's license.

This was way back, 40 years ago.

I'm not sure anybody was aware that helmets existed. During the summer, we rode in t-shirts and shorts, and usually wore flip-flops.

Of course, we didn't ride in organized events. Those were also unheard of.

Kids got hurt. Kids sometimes got killed. Nobody thought it was the fault of anything except... well, life.

For a deeper explication of those backward, but nonetheless happy days, I suggest reading Fred Reed at Fred on Everything.

We even learned to shoot guns but taking them to the pheasant farm and shooting rats.

I bailed hay and rogued corn when I was a teen ager. These are very dangerous jobs, although nobody said much about that.

The part that seems odd to me is all the expensive equipment and the systematic organization. That's pretty weird.

We bought our own bikes, usually financed through summer jobs in the hay and corn fields, or in the factories. My first bike was a rust bucket Honda 250. It was a constant effort just to keep it running.

peter hoh said...

Anybody who thinks the 12 y.o. caused the accident was there and has the motorcycle racing experience necessary to determine that the 12 y.o. had ample time to avoid the fallen boy, correct?

And for the record, I'm with Pogo on this.

Michael Haz said...

It is very, very rare that a young racer, or any racer, for that matter, dies in an accident.

Google "killed while skateboarding" and look at the number of young people killed. Ditto "killed while bicycling". We do not live in this world risk-free.

AJ Lynch said...

"He passed". A pet peeve of mine if the misuse of died, killed, passed away etc.

You don't pass away in a motor vehicle accident or when you are shot.

Skyler said...

Our friendly Freeman quipped: When someone dies of an accidental overdose, you never hear anyone say, "He died doing what he loved."

That is an excellent point. And despite the laws against drugs, I've never met a junkie that couldn't get drugs when he or she wanted them. They even find drugs in jail.

So if we were to end youth racing these kids will probably still do dangerous things, just without parental supervision. They won't learn to take proper precautions.

This boy's death is very tragic, and it doesn't make it less tragic to say "he was doing what he loved" but just because there was an accident doesn't mean anyone was being irresponsible.

Jim said...

It's really sad to see mostly conservative / libertarian people buying into the nanny state presumptions. Ralph Nader is no doubt chuckling over this. As Norman Mailer scoffed, "obedient little bitches."

traditionalguy said...

The history of stories of parents is full of fathers living out their dreams through their sons. The other side of the choice for parents is to guard the young until they are "on their own" rather than make daddy proud of winning races. What ever happened to baseball and football?

Shanna said...

Shanna, so Peter would have had to wait until 16 to start his motorcycle career?

Yeah, I think that would be just fine, actually. I think it’s weird that we have laws that 12 year olds can’t drive a car down a dirt road with mom and dad in the middle of the country (even though I know people do that), but if you want to go really fast on a motorcycle in a race that is a ok. Why is that the exception when it should be the other one?

That's why sports and combat are a young person's "game" they have quicker reflexes.

I suppose we should put 12 yo’s back in combat too then, since it’s a young person’s game!

For the record, I didn’t mean to blame the 12yo for the other boys death. I realize it kind of read like that. I just think that whole thing is a little crazy. And it’s also crazy that the kid was injured and they went on with the competition.

Joe said...

(The Crypto-Jew)

Foolishly, I will try to expand a point. This is the difference between “Tea Party” America and “Obama America” and why government keeps expanding.
1) At the least, if we “do something” and pass a law about this, then we have to have an enforcement mechanism and inspectors and an appeal process, and all the appurtenances of government. GOVERNMENT GETS BIGGER.
2) It gets bigger, because some of us think, “We ought to do something about this.” that is government needs to be examining and OK’ing our decisions or vetoing them.
We can’t save everyone from everything, and if we try, in order to show we “care” we end up with the worst of all possible worlds. A vast government that really can’t do all that we ask of it, a hugely expensive enterprise that can’t achieve anything, and far, far less freedom.

Let this remain an accident. Let young men, and womyn and their parents make the decision as to whether to race of not. It’s funny, Peter could have had his Bar Mitzvah, or his Confirmation, and he’s capable of understanding and accepting G*d and G*ds strictures upon us, but he’s too young to be able to understand that motorcycle racing is:
1) Fun; and
2) 2) Dangerous.

Joe said...

(The Crypto-Jew)
I suppose we should put 12 yo’s back in combat too then, since it’s a young person’s game!

Peter as a powder monkey or a drummer boy wouldn't have been the first teen to be turned into red mist or goo...you do realize that the Royal Navy BEGAN it's officer's career's at about 12 or 13, right? That Nelson began his career, that led to his loss of an eye and an arm and his death at 12? That the RN felt no one over 16 ever really adapted, well, to the Fleet?

Yong men have been placing themselves in "harm's way" for thousands of years. It's only recently we ahve decided they're "too young" or "too precious" to be risked, hunting, fighting, herding and the like.

For the record, I didn’t mean to blame the 12yo for the other boys death. I realize it kind of read like that. I just think that whole thing is a little crazy. And it’s also crazy that the kid was injured and they went on with the competition.


Well YEAH, they shoudda cancled it...Peter died, the world stops...and all those other people whjo came to compete, KNOWING THEY COULD DIE OR BE HURT, need to put their ambitions on hold because Little Peter died.

Funny I don't see this in the NFL/NBA/NHL/Pop Warner or Babe Ruth.

MadisonMan said...

I don't see any need to change anything. (Except Pogo suggested banning Jet Skis and I'm all for that -- those things are a horrible annoyance on any lake). The kid died as a result of an accident. Preventable? Yes. The result of a bad parenting decision? Yes.

It's unfortunate when children die because their parents make bad choices, but it's NOT the government's business to save us.

Darcy said...

So sad. I can't imagine the pain of watching this happen as a parent.

I was about as over-protective as a parent as you could find, but my first reaction was that this was a terrible accident. I know I wouldn't have let my boy do this, but I don't see it as bad parenting either.

Loving and raising boys is complicated. I admire, at least a little, parents like these racing parents, though.

John said...

The commentators here all thought that the 15 year old girl sailing around the world solo was a great idea. Such a great idea in fact that many of you accused me of being a fat coward sitting on my couch in jealousy for even thinking that a 15 year old sailing around the world solo was a really bad idea. Now on this thread we have people arguing that we should ban those under 16 from racing motorcycles. But I assume sailing around the world solo is still kosher.

Actions have consequences. And risks sometimes don't pan out. It is a little harder to sit around and whine about helicopter parents when faced with the actual death of a child.

That said, I don't see where this activity is that dangerous. They race motorcycles all the time in this country and you rarely hear of someone getting killed. This was a tragic accident. But unless you can show me the statistics that show that this type of thing is common or that the risk of death is really high, I don't see why you should ban children from doing it.

Sofa King said...

I thought it was already illegal for people under a certain age to drive cars, motorcycles, etc...I didn't realize there were weird exceptions.


No. Generally speaking, you need to be over a certain age to obtain a license to operate a motor vehicle on public roadways. Operating a motor vehicle on a privately owned closed course requires no license, and we haven't seen a need to criminalize yet more fun things for young people.

Shanna said...

Yong men have been placing themselves in "harm's way" for thousands of years.

True enough. It’s amazing any of them survive the teenage years. I do have a brother, I remember.

Well YEAH, they shoudda cancled it...Peter died, the world stops...

Not the world, but maybe just that competition?

Look, I don’t think everything dangerous should be illegal, I’m just surprised that this is. I was completely unaware until today that we make exceptions to the regular motor vehicle rules for 12 year olds who want to race motorcycles. But then, as I said earlier, I think motorcycles are pretty much death traps. Too many 18 year old boys get a motorcycle and promptly have a horrible/deadly accident. I’ll just add this kid to the list (although he’s a little younger).

jr565 said...

Pogo wrote:
Why stop with motorcycle racing, if safety is your concern?

Did you know that young girls engage in competitive downhill skiing at speeds equaling or exceeding motorcycle racing?

Why not ban that as well?



Do-gooders are more dangerous than motocross.


Well by the same token why not remove restrictions on driving cars for 10 year olds that are in place now?
As soon as a kid expresses an interest in driving we should give them a license.
Just trying to find that line between do gooderism restrictions and common sense law where it affects kids.
And to go back to Nambla (from the old gay marriage thread) why not let them screw 10 year olds. Or, why not let 10 year olds vote in elections? Or work in factories?

SGT Ted said...

Comparing motorcycle racing accidental death to a drug addicts overdose makes the writer look like an ignorant fool.

I remember my friends who rode dirt bikes at that age.

Don't want your kids on a dirt bike? Fine. don't let them. But quit projecting your ignorant, cowardly bigotry of how parents should raise their kids into others.

Who the hell do you folks think you are?

k*thy said...

As a parent, all I can say is, "but for the grace of God go I"...and I agree with Joe, the tut-tutting is such bullshit.

Freeman, really? "When someone dies of an accidental overdose, you never hear anyone say, "He died doing what he loved.""

Sofa King said...

Not the world, but maybe just that competition?

I was at that competition. It was probably over before he was declared dead.

El Presidente said...

Are our two minutes of bathos over yet?

I hope everyone feels better.

Sofa King said...

And, for the record, motorcycles are NOT "death traps." The biggest hazard by far is inattentive auto drivers, a non-issue on a closed course, and with proper safety equipment nearly all crashes can be survived with little more than some bumps and bruises.

Calypso Facto said...

@ MM: "It's unfortunate when children die because their parents make bad choices, but it's NOT the government's business to save us."

Perfectly said.

jr565 said...

When Queen Cateherine died after having sex with a horse (not true, but the myth is a lot more interesting than the reality) a lot of peole said "She died doing what she loved".

El Presidente said...

The motorcycle racing probably kept him off of Adderall. Kill your kids with quiet desperation if you like but please leave other kids alone.

Larry J said...

And to think, some people wonder how the Nanny State attitude gets started. Life has a 100% mortality rate - no one gets out of here alive. You can't remove all risk from life.

The boy died in a risky activity that he was reportedly quite proficient. Boys die all the time, mostly doing stupid stuff to impress their buddies or a girl. In fact, based on my experience and that of my stepsons, I sometimes wonder how any boy makes it past puberty alive.

jr565 said...

I remember my friends who rode dirt bikes at that age.

Don't want your kids on a dirt bike? Fine. don't let them. But quit projecting your ignorant, cowardly bigotry of how parents should raise their kids into others.

Who the hell do you folks think you are?


ANd I remember being in high school and knowing a bunch of kids who were high on various drugs. I even know some parents that got high with their kids. And is getting drunk/high not fun for kids? Outside of the states there are countries that are nowhere near as restrictive with the drinking age, and kids can get drunk far younger. And we all know that drinking and drugging is fun. So, why not say "he died doing what he loved" if a 12 year old gets drunk and falls down a flight of stairs?
Parents get in trouble with the law all the time for having underage parties where kids get drunk and something bad happens, but mabe society should butt out. We should let the kids be kids and get drunk as necessary. Because it's fun for them. And anyway, who are the rest of us to cast aspersions on parents who let their underage kids take heroin?
Who do we think we are?

Pogo said...

"Well by the same token why not remove restrictions on driving cars for 10 year olds that are in place now?
Just trying to find that line between do gooderism restrictions and common sense law where it affects kids.
"

The lines that have been drawn by tradition are good touchstones, for the experience of centuries.

If you want a modern intellectual approach, that usually devolves into reductio ad absurdum, lawsuits, and nanny statism.

John said...

"a non-issue on a closed course, and with proper safety equipment nearly all crashes can be survived with little more than some bumps and bruises."

F1 racers do over 200 mph and rarely die or are seriously injured in crashes. This really was a freak accident.

Pogo said...

@jr565

Yes, because being high is exactly like riding a bike.

MadisonMan said...

Freeman, really? "When someone dies of an accidental overdose, you never hear anyone say, "He died doing what he loved.""

I thought Freeman's line was hilarious. But I saw it as a (perfect) throwaway line, not necessarily related to the topic at hand.

A funny and concise digression, to borrow a phrase.

Pogo said...

...and hosting a dirtbike competition is exactly like hosting a junior high bacchanal.

jr565 said...

Pogo wrote;
Yes, because being high is exactly like riding a bike.


While I recognize that there is a difference, who's to say that kids getting high is wrong? Not saying that riding a bike is wrong, but why is allowing your kid to get high wrong? Or why is smoking wrong for kids. Yes, ultimately it may harm their health in 20-40 years, but we're talking 20-40 years. If you give kids McDonald's for 20-40 years it will similarly affect their health. Likewise, a lot of people say marijuana is good for things like asthma. So maybe it's RESPONSIBLE to allow your kid to smoke weed if they are asthmatic and if that's also funner than sucking on an inhaler.
Certainly, if we can allow people to endanger their lives there can't be an issue with those people working for a living and/or voting. Who died voting? How many people die working 9/5? If kids want to vote, work, get high, have sex, ride bikes, shoot guns, get drunk, sky dive, climb mount everest what's the deal?

Shanna said...

The biggest hazard by far is inattentive auto drivers

Seeing the way a lot of motorcycles weave in and out of the cars, I’m not sure that’s true, however that is going to be a hazard when you drive on a real road.

Regardless, I have just known too many people personally for whom teenage boy + motorcycle = death trap to not be concerned about it in general. May not be an issue on a closed course and this may really have been a freak accident. That doesn’t make motorcycles safe.

jr565 said...

Sofa king wrote:
And, for the record, motorcycles are NOT "death traps."


Some pop star who shall remain nameless said New Jersey was a "suicidal death trap". Which is totally understandable. Have you ever been to Jersey? Total death trap.

shoutingthomas said...

Riding a motorcycle is a virtuous activity that encourages a young person to learn courage, athletic skill, quick judgment and fine motor skills.

This is quite a bit different than shooting up dope or drinking alcohol.

Riding a motorcycle carries with it considerable risk.

So does playing high school football. Concussions, disabilities and even death are possible outcomes.

But playing high school football teaches a young man some valuable skills and lessons.

Unfortunately, I only raised daughters. Wish I'd had a son. If I had, I would have encouraged him to ride, as well as encouraging him to learn how to tear down the bike to its most basic parts and how to reassemble it.

These are great skills for a young man to learn that will serve him well throughout his life.

Michael Haz said...

I must ask, why all the conversation about this one child's death?

It is horrible, sad, etc., that part I understand.

But why is there not the same conversation about 12 year old ghetto kids who are shot and killed? Lord knows, there are far more of those tragic deaths than there are deaths in motorcycle racing.

Or 12 year olds who die of a drug overdose because haven't the political will to keep heroin and its vendors from passing our borders?

Dead is dead. That one child dies on a motorcycle makes that child no more dead than a child who dies of a gun shot wound while standing on his front porch, or in a bathroom with a needle in his veins.

AllenS said...

Some boys die young. They always have and always will. Nothing is worse than to see, or hear about a young man taken early in life because of a drive-by shooting.

AllenS said...

Me and you, Michael.

MadisonMan said...

Which is totally understandable. Have you ever been to Jersey? Total death trap.

Not if you get out while you're young.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

All riders and drivers of note in motor sports start this young and younger, it's the way of their world.

Any participant in motor sports can die at any given time. This lad being so young seems to sting more than the rest but not by much,at least for me.

Pogo said...

MadisonMan:
Heh.

jr565 said...

Shouting Thomas wrote:
Riding a motorcycle is a virtuous activity that encourages a young person to learn courage, athletic skill, quick judgment and fine motor skills.
....
These are great skills for a young man to learn that will serve him well throughout his life.


if you watch the movie Notorious, about the rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (and not the alfred Hitchcok movie of the same name, and not the video of the Duran Duran song of the same name) he finds virtue in selling crack as a pre teen.
It separates him from the other kids, gives him respect in the neighborhood, AND teaches him about economics and the value of a dollar. PLus, since he probably has to run from cops and/or dodge bullets from rival drug dealers, it probably teaches him fine motor skills too. Also, since he is competing with rival drug dealers it too teaches him the value of competition. And since it gives him material he can write about it ultimately is one of the catalysts for him becoming a successful rapper.

bagoh20 said...

The danger is calculable through statistics and by some standard is either safe enough or not for 13 year olds. If such a tragedy virtually never happens then it's safe, no matter what it is, period.

If you prevent your child from living a full life in an attempt to keep him safe then you are robbing him of a life which he can never get back, and you won't be able to be dismiss it as an accident.

If you don't want to your kids to take any risks, then don't have any kids. You're not up to the job. Keeping them safe is not the end of your responsibilities.

Pogo said...

@jr565

Because dealing crack is exactly like fixing up a motorcycle.

Yes, we get it, you can seemingly transform the most ridiculous activity using the same words that describe the virtuous one.

Nihilistic moral equivalence is such a goddamned bore.

Skyler said...

Someone asked why boys aren't put in the army.

I remember one time reading that the Beowulf character was on 15. I'm not sure if that's true or how they would know, but it always stuck with me as an example of how people were expected to grow up really fast in prior times.

jr565 said...

Pogo wrote;
Because dealing crack is exactly like fixing up a motorcycle.

Yes, we get it, you can seemingly transform the most ridiculous activity using the same words that describe the virtuous one.

Nihilistic moral equivalence is such a goddamned bore.


Funny, when I listen to a lot of lbertarians this is the kind of rhetoric I get, which is why I can't totally sign on as a libertarian.
I once had an argument with a libertarian about that cannibal case in Germany where the victim agreed to be eaten, and the libertarian argued that therefore the state shouldn't view it as a crime since it was a consensual action between two consenting adults. The fact that someone had to be crazy to enter into a contract whereby they will be eaten and partake of eating their own flesh and thus is is a valid contract never entered his mind.
THe fact is, nanny statism is bad for adults (ie a state telling adults they can't smoke for example) but for kids having a nanny is perfectly reasonable. I don't know where to draw the line necessarily, but it's quite clear, that a lot of people saying "I'm with Fred please no laws...that's what happens, some dim-wit, Left or Right, politician decides to show s/he "cares" and is "doing something" and pretty soon we've got another law."
Fine then, no laws. So don't complain when people use nihilstic moral equivalence to justify their own behavior. One COULD find virtue in things like selling crack, or behaving in bachanal behavior, yet clearly some here are arguing that there should be no laws, yet blanche when thinking that that would mean they were being judgemental when their kids want to engage in orgies of drunkenness, or selling crack. ANd if the issue is that it's simply a parental responsibility issue, then you can't have a problem with a parent who allows their kids to be involved in orgies, because that's what the parents decision was. Suppose the parent sends their kid out to trick for cash? Any problem with that? I'm sure you can find plenty of virtue for the kids (ie they learn the value of a dollar, learn how to read dangerous situations, get street smarts, learn about fashion) but if the parent is the one sending their kids out to trick then who's to argue that the parent is wrong?
I think a lot of the charges of nanny statism for kids, revolve around activities parents think are cool or uncool. ANd if they are cool (ie sanctioned by the parent) then any interference is nanny statism, and if they are not cool, then there should be nanny statism, because allowing such behaviors is engaging in nihilistic moral equivalency. All you have to do is find a parent who has no problem with letting their kid take heroin and you as an outsider can, apparently no longer comment on that behavior.

Raf wrote:
So what is the alternative? For the government at some level to assume responsibility for the games children play?


What if the kids want to play russian roulette?

Pogo said...

"What if the kids want to play russian roulette?"

I'm not a libertarian, but a conservative.
As a result, your reductio ad absurdum argument is ludicrous.

Pogo said...

"All you have to do is find a parent who has no problem with letting their kid take heroin and you as an outsider can, apparently no longer comment on that behavior."

This is why I am not a libertarian.
Motocross is not in anywhere near the same category as heroin.

The obverse is to argue that anything that might affect the health of the child in any way is the business of the state, such as fatty foods, or 'racist' films.

Your path is nihilistic and/or totalitarian, which I reject.
Tradition has some quite useful answers, however.

jr565 said...

Pogo wrote:
..and hosting a dirtbike competition is exactly like hosting a junior high bacchanal.,


So, supposing a parent does host a junior high bacchanal? Any problems with it even if the parent is ok with their kids having orgies and getting drunk?
Should the state step in and do something to said parents, or are people like yourself saying that it's wrong for parents to let their kids take drugs acting like nanny staters?

Nico, from The Velvet Underground fame was a notoriious heroin addict, and also got her son hooked on heroin. Probably not the parent of the year, BUT only if you think kids having heroin is a bad thing.Maybe she as a parent thought she liked doing heroin herself and who was she to tell her kid not to do something. And perhaps if she showed her kid how to do heroin RESPONSIBLY then he would be responsible enough to not abuse it. I do know, that if anyone called her out on her parenting skills she would say what business is it of yours how she raises her kids.

Fred4Pres said...

Go to any skate park. Those are dangerous places, even if you wear a helmet (which most kids do not). My son face planted the other day playing tag (he had to go to the emergency room to get the sand out of his eye and his face was all scarred and puffy for a week).

Parents use some common sense. Government stay out of it.

Pogo said...

Only a nihilist would believe their is no difference between motocross and heroin, for a community or a state.

MadisonMan said...

I'm not a libertarian, but a conservative.
As a result, your reductio ad absurdum argument is ludicrous.

The argument would be ludicrous even if you were a libertarian.

wv: tabled

Freeman Hunt said...

Look, I don’t think everything dangerous should be illegal, I’m just surprised that this is.

Exactly. I'm not even saying that it should be illegal, I'm just shocked that it isn't. You can think that a parent made a bad decision without getting into writing new laws.

Freeman Hunt said...

MM is right. The overdose quip was a throwaway line and not about this incident.

Freeman Hunt said...

I do think it should make the racing association take a look at their policies regarding track conditions and number of racers on the track at the same time.

jr565 said...

Pogo wrote:
This is why I am not a libertarian.
Motocross is not in anywhere near the same category as heroin.

The obverse is to argue that anything that might affect the health of the child in any way is the business of the state, such as fatty foods, or 'racist' films.

Your path is nihilistic and/or totalitarian, which I reject.
Tradition has some quite useful answers, however.


I disagree. I'm merely pointing out the fact that Raf's position stated below could lead to a lot of behavior that most parents would find crazy to put their kids into.
Raf wrote:
//So what is the alternative? For the government at some level to assume responsibility for the games children play? I would never have let my kids do something like this, but establishing some central authority to make decisions like this in place of the parents would be worse. The most risk-averse people would be drawn to this ne commission, and their preferences would not likely be yours. Sure, it is easy to second-guess this situation, but I would rather the responsibility continue to rest with the parents.//


Ok, then if the parents think there's no problem with tricking out your kid (hey,the family needs some extra cash in these hard times) or smoking meth with them, or dating their kids high school friends or whatever, then you've just permitted some pretty impermissible behavior from your kids. Doesn't having the responsibility continue to rest solely with the parent require that you have responsible parents? But what if you don't? Anybody could morall justify any behavior. And if noone can comment on any parent's parenting skills then anything is permissible so long as the parents permit it.
So when Fred4Pres wrote:
//I would not let my daughter sail around the world at 16 either. But I do not need the government telling us we cannot do it.//


I would respond. I wouldn't personally let my kid have bachanal orgies, or put my kid out on the street to sell drugs, but I don't need the govt telling us we can't do it, means that so long as there's some parent out there that doesn't mind doing it, then there's nothing really wrong with the behavior. Who;s to say it's wrong? The govt. No. You, the outsider to that particular family? No, you should butt out. So then, to the family that has no problem with sending their kid out to sell drugs it's the equivalent of letting the kid climb trees or getting involved in underage motorcross races. Who are we to judge?

Freeman Hunt said...

I will say that I think those of you arguing that any State boundaries on childrens' activities are Statist horrors are being obtuse. There are all sorts of boundaries on children's behavior, as many commenters have already pointed out. Some are good (can't seduce kids, can't sell alcohol or cigarettes to kids) and some may not be. People of good will can disagree on where the line between good and bad lies.

We're talking about motocross competitions, remember? Not fat or bicycles or rollerskates.

jr565 said...

Fred4Pres wrote:

Go to any skate park. Those are dangerous places, even if you wear a helmet (which most kids do not). My son face planted the other day playing tag (he had to go to the emergency room to get the sand out of his eye and his face was all scarred and puffy for a week).

Parents use some common sense. Government stay out of it.


In all cases? Government should ALWAYS stay out of it? Define common sense. What if parents aren't using common sense (or their idea of common sense is different than yours) ? Should there be a law against that (parents not using common sense) and should govt get involved then?

DADvocate said...

Not good but better than being killed uselessly on an ATV. Kids die every year on ATVs and few raise an eyebrow. A friend of my son's was killed a few years ago.

Freeman Hunt said...

I raise an eyebrow on kids riding ATVs. Bad idea.

And I'm pretty sure that boys grew up tough and courageous for many many years before ATVs and, dare I write, MX bikes were invented.

Shanna said...

I raise an eyebrow on kids riding ATVs. Bad idea.

I think a kid died here in Arkansas last year on an ATV. At the very least, parents should monitor very closely. Yes, teenage boys are prone to doing dangerous things if left alone. Part of a parents job is to try to keep them alive. Where to draw the line is the question.

Shanna said...

I will say that I think those of you arguing that any State boundaries on childrens' activities are Statist horrors are being obtuse.

Indeed. Even if 12 yo’s used to go off to war, do we really want them to now? Is it so bad to have some sort of limits? I don’t think so. Where we draw the line is the real question. Some people apparently think that parents should be thrown in jail for letting their 18 year olds have some liquor at their house. I disagree, but the thought of 12 yo’s on motorcycles is kind of horrifying. One of these things is illegal and the other isn’t.

mrs whatsit said...

There's no need for the government to get involved with this, of course, but I hope it will make parents think twice about letting kids do tjos. Not only is the 13-year-old dead, but the 12-year-old who ran over him will be living with THAT for the rest of his life.

mrs whatsit said...

"tjos" meant "this." No idea how that happened!

jr565 said...

mrs. whatsis wrote:
There's no need for the government to get involved with this, of course, but I hope it will make parents think twice about letting kids do tjos. Not only is the 13-year-old dead, but the 12-year-old who ran over him will be living with THAT for the rest of his life.


How would you feel about a 12 old becoming an ultimate fighter? how about having a dog fighting ring in your backyard? Should the govt get involved then?

JAL said...

This is not apparently some random group and family. All across the culture as well as in sports there are organized "subcultures."

Two of my older daughter's friends came from a family of serious dirt bikers (motorcycles). The whole family -- mom, dad and all the kids even the little ones, rode. Never crossed my mind as something we would do as a family.

But our youngest boy had a go cart that he flipped one night on the front lawn. Scared him. He's the Black Hawk pilot.

My youngest daughter and I bought her first horse when she was 12. She jumped. Horses and jumping are dangerous. Was I an irresponsible parent? (You don't even have to jump to be "in danger," actually.)

An acquaintance has a daughter who competed nationally as a 10 year old jumping really big stuff. (She was known as having "velcro britches.") Is her mom an irresponsible parent? The people who *paid* her to ride their comepetitive horses?

In 2003 the death rate for high school football players was 0.13 per 100,000. (Middle school aged football players were not included.) Why do we let kids play football?

We see something like this sad accident and if we are not aware of these things we find it shocking.

So where does one draw the line where the culture tell a parent what they as a family can and cannot do?

As raf said, "the most risk-averse people would be drawn to [be the regulators]...."

As for the way people handle thing -- again -- different strokes for different folks. I am not sure about the platitude ("passed doing what he loved..."). But I don't get a sense the dad made him do it.

I am sure they will miss their son deeply and forever.

(And yeah, this "passing" stuff is weird. People *die* ... What do they *pass?*)

Ann Althouse said...

"People *die* ... What do they *pass?*"

Ever seen the movie "7 Beauties"?

jr565 said...

Ann Althouse wrote:
"People *die* ... What do they *pass?*"

Ever seen the movie "7 Beauties"?

What do they pass?
Gas? Go (and collect 200 dollars), the duchie on the laft hand side?

blake said...

>>"People *die* ... What do they *pass?*"

The vale of tears.

former law student said...

To me, while I know zip about motorcycle racing, it seemed significant that the accident happened during the "warm-up lap." If they were not going full out then avoiding running over the 13 year old seemed somewhat possible. And, while not alleging this is what happened here, I know that even the most competent racer can be the victim of another racer's stupidity.

blake said...

Never let a crisis go to waste.

Tari said...

Bad parents make for so many good news stories.

Peano said...

Questions the parents might mull over:

1. Should a 13-year-old be allowed to drive a car?

2. Should he be allowed to race a car?

3. Given that motorcycles are significantly more dangerous than cars, should a 13-year-old be allowed to ride a bike?

4. Should a 13-year-old be allowed to race a bike?

former law student said...

Had this kid lived four more years, his dad could have signed a waiver to let him join the Marines. So add this question:

Should a 17 year old be allowed to fight and perhaps die in, say, Afghanistan?

Bryan C said...

FWIW, there are no laws that I am aware of which would prevent a 13-year-old from driving, whether it be car, a motorcycle, a tractor, an ATV, or a horse cart. The law only prevents them from driving on public roads.

The reason we have such laws is not to eliminate risk for the minor doing the driving. It's to limit risk to other drivers sharing public roads. The government has a responsibility to maintain the safety of public roads. It does not have any responsibility to protect minors from all conceivable forms of harm.