Hi Readers — Wheeeee! That’s the sound of happy Australian kids in the town of Geraldton, playing on the merry-go-round. Or at least it was. The festive bit of fun was built 20 years ago to honor the spirit of local author Randolph Stow, who wrote the apparently much-beloved book, “Merry Go Round In the Sea.” And yet, says this article, now the merry-go-round has been decommissioned because it presents the city council with an insurance risk.
You can sort of see the council’s point: If a child DID get hurt, it WOULD take a hit and then there’d be less money for everything else the city needs. This is a real problem. But of course we can all see the other side very clearly, too. As clearly as the 14 year old who has taken it upon himself to collect 350 signatures to save the merry go round.
“There’s no point fighting for something unless it means a lot to you. We’ve spent much of our childhood playing on the merry go round and have had so much fun. I hope the council realise it’s not just a piece of wood that they can bolt down. I think they need to realise the community likes this.”
Said the mayor (and methinks they need a public relations person): It’s like a pot hole tha tneeds to be taken care of.
Best quote was from a businessman:
“The merry go round is much more than a pot hole.
“It and Randolph Stow are part of our social fabric, in the same way as agriculture, sport and fishing have been for the region and our city.”
That’s the true importance of this battle for the town and also for those of us at Free-Range Kids: At some point we have to make society realize that childhood is not just a liability waiting to happen, it is part of who we are. And to lock it up and tamp it down and dismantle it all in the name of “safety” is to perform a mass joy-ectomy on a generation.
Merry-go-rounds are endangered here in America for the same reason as down under: Liability. If you have any great ideas on how to wrest fun and freedom back from the clutches of litigiousness, please share them here. Now! — Lenore