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Monday, June 13, 2005

Deadly Europe

There seems to be a fad among right-wing authors to write anti-Europe and especially anti-France books. But whenever I travel in Europe I'm always shocked by how dangerous it is, which I attribute to a lack of trial lawyers. In this regard, it's a right-wing paradise!

In Europe, people ride bikes without helmets, signs inform the innocent tourist of beautiful views atop cliffs without guard rails, narrow twisty staircases are unlighted, bread slicing machines are self-serve. Today I saw a Belgian fire escape, which was a ladder bolted to the side of a building. No doubt it was much safer than all the adjoining buildings, which lacked fire escapes entirely.

You may say, big deal, only fools would walk off a cliff, get their finger caught in a bread-slicing machine, or smash their head in a fall from a bike. But during my fairly brief time in Europe, I've see a friend trip and fall flat on his face at an unexpected step in the middle of a long, unlighted hallway, and later ride a bike at high speed into a chain stretched across an unlighted road entering a campsite. Myself, I've smashed into a closed glass door at the bottom of a spiral staircase.

No one was seriously hurt in any of these mishaps, and no doubt many will say that this only proves that I and my companion are fools. Indeed, after his spills, I explained to my friend that he had behaved extemely foolishly. But, in hindsight, I think I would have rather have dangerous areas lit up, safe egress from burning buildings, and a bike helmet protecting my head -- even at the cost of government intervention and tort actions by agressive trial lawyers.

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