Grieving mom laments lack of motorcycle helmet law

Even if I weren’t a parent, I wouldn’t get the no-helmet thing. Paul Walsh and Mary Smith of the Strib report: “Brittany Larson wanted to feel the wind in her long hair as she rode her motorcycle rather than stuffing it under a helmet. Now her mother is preparing to bury her 22-year-old daughter, who suffered extensive head injuries Wednesday when she hit road debris and was thrown into the path of a SUV on Interstate 694 in Ramsey County. Once she says her final goodbye, Inge Black pledged Thursday, she will push lawmakers to mandate helmets for motorcyclists. ‘I am on a rampage about this. We need to pass a mandatory helmet law. She would’ve had to wear one,’ said Black, who added that she had sparred with her daughter about getting a helmet.”

On the passing of Dark Star, author Neal Karlen writes at MPR: “Even in his obituaries, a former boss groused that he ‘could be a little off-color,’ grudgingly admitting, ‘He was one of those people who got away with it.’ And he did, seemingly leading an unexamined life lived exclusively off angles, bounces and leaked stories. He taught me how to also get away with it for four hours in the middle of the night, at that deadly existential hour that F. Scott Fitzgerald called the ‘real dark night of the soul [when] it is always 3 o’clock in the morning’. Fitzgerald was speaking metaphorically. Dark spoke specifically to me about the insomniacs, lobster shifters, truckers and cranks who largely made up ‘CCO’s after-midnight audience, which at that time of the clear-channel night stretched virtually from Bakersfield to Bangor.
Dark told me I sounded frightened that there were cranks out there who knew the radio station’s address. ‘I am afraid of the cranks,’ I told him. ‘They do have the address.’ ‘They’re just lonely,’ he’d say, ‘like you’re just lonely, like I’m just lonely.’ “

The weekend weather is going to be perfect for … geocaching. Tony Potter of The Hibbing Daily Tribune writes: “The geocaching program began in 2008 and is offered in 25 parks and trails throughout the state. Starting Saturday, June 9, the parks system will kick off its Geocaching Avian Adventure, a bird-themed geocache. The program has had about 9,000 participants discover more than 20,000 finds in each of the past two programs, according to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources press release. Geocaching is a combination of nature, technology and treasure hunting, said Amy Barrett, public information officer for the Minnesota DNR parks and trails division. The activity requires a person to use a global positioning system, which brings one within 30 feet of hidden treasure.” … which is not a rusted Hamm’s beer can.

The 10-month-old lock-out at the American Crystal Sugar plant up in the Red River Valley appears closer to … new talks. Dan Gunderson of MPR says: “American Crystal Sugar and its locked out union workers meet again today in an effort to restart contract talks. The company locked out 1,300 workers at five factories last August. This is the fourth time the two sides have met with a federal mediator to try to end the impasse. When the lockout started 10 months ago, union members picketed around the clock at the Moorhead factory. Now on most days, a handful of picketers show up only for morning and afternoon shift change. Many workers have taken new jobs to make ends meet, or are going to school to learn a new skill.” But do they feel guilty about crippling the job creators?

Kelly Smith of the Strib adds a bit more to the awful story of the now-deceased St. Bonifacius toddler. “For months, Shacara Foster and Kentae Todd kept toddler Cottrell Short confined to a St. Bonifacius home’s basement that reeked with raw garbage, rotting food and dead animals, police say. Now Foster, 27, the boy’s mother, and Todd, 20, her boyfriend, are in the Hennepin County jail, charged in what Minnetrista Police Chief Paul Falls called Cottrell’s ‘horrible death’. … Falls said that in his 18 years in the job, it’s ‘one of the most horrific things I have ever seen.’ ‘We already knew this little boy died a horrible death,’ he said. … ‘Now with the criminal complaint, there is further information [and] the abuse is even worse than previously described.’ ”

The Glean I’m thinking several of the invitees will come with their own personal brat- and beer-taster. The AP reports: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has scheduled his brat summit with state lawmakers on Tuesday, June 12, a week after he won a recall election.”

It was a bad week for Lefties, and Powerline’s Steven Hayward could not be happier. He writes: “First, there’s obviously the Wisconsin result.  If the ‘Progressive agenda’ hits the wall in Wisconsin (and let’s keep in mind the local results on public employee pensions in San Diego and San Jose, too), then times are truly bad for the Left.  As Charles the Great puts it in his WaPo column this morning, ‘The unions’ defeat marks a historical inflection point. They set out to make an example of Walker. He succeeded in making an example of them as a classic case of reactionary liberalism.’ Second, there’s the CBS/NY Times poll finding that two-thirds of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare.  This has to terrify the White House, not so much because of the possible loss in Court itself, but because if it happens the vocal Left will not be able to help itself.  The same folks who shriek that Citizens United is the modern day equivalent of Dred Scott (seriously—many unhinged lefties say this) will go absolutely bonkers if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare.  While the White House will react carefully given these poll numbers, they’ll struggle to put distance between themselves and the ‘Impeach John Roberts’ signs that will appear at rallies and at the Democratic National Convention this summer.”

Ruben Rosario of the PiPress might be getting his ex-communication papers from the Holy See. He writes: “A number of folks from local Catholic parishes, egged on by alarmist church bulletins, are scheduled to assemble in front of the federal courthouse in Minneapolis on Friday, June 8, in the Year of Our Lord 2012, to protest the Obama administration’s mandate on contraception coverage. Other gatherings are planned elsewhere across this fine land of ours. The rallies precede the ‘Fortnight of Freedom,’ two weeks of planned parish activities around the nation to raise awareness about the so-called war on religion touched off by the contraception mandate. The kickoff day, June 21, is the feast day of St. Thomas More, who was executed by King Henry VIII for refusing to declare and acknowledge the wife-killing despot as the head of the Church of England. As an American and a practicing Catholic — for you know, Father, that I’m going to keep practicing until I get it right or until my ticket gets punched — I strongly believe and cherish the right of assembly and the right to worship without fear of persecution. But the buck stops when it comes to Church right or wrong. And they’re wrong on this one.”

There might be unusual standards required for dealing with violent sex offenders. Madeleine Baran of MPR reports: “A state licensing investigation has found a patient at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter suffered maltreatment when he was left naked in his room for about an hour after he violently threatened to rape and kill employees. The Nov. 15, 2011 incident has been the subject of scrutiny for months and led to the firing of psychiatrist Michael Harlow in December. The firing outraged other doctors at the state-run facility for those ruled mentally ill and dangerous — and sparked an exodus of most of the facility’s top psychiatric staff earlier this year. Harlow and other employees involved in the incident said they did nothing wrong and acted to prevent the patient from hurting himself and others. The decision, made public this week, found the facility and Dr. Harlow violated licensing standards, but that the violations were not serious or recurring. The case sheds light on the complexity of providing treatment for some of the state’s most violent and mentally ill adults at a time when the Minnesota Security Hospital is already under scrutiny for its handling of patients.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Rus Schultz on 06/08/2012 - 02:56 pm.

    I do feel for the mother who now has to bury her daughter, but a helmet law isn’t going to help. We’ve had a seat belt law for years, yet we continue to have people who drive without one on, get into accidents and get killed. That’s why we still have to continually spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on click-it or ticket campaigns. Would a law have made a difference? Maybe, maybe not. If a kid is not going to listen to their mother, why are they going to listen to the state as well? Helmet safety is stressed everywhere, including massive amounts of it when someone goes to get their motorcycle license and training.

    Motorcycles are extremely dangerous vehicles, people know this going in. If you’re driving one, you have the biggest vested interest into getting a helmet and wearing it with or without a law. I don’t see why we should take up the police’s time pulling these folks over for helmet violations, when we barely can get cops to control nearly 75% of our traffic laws during any given day/time.

    • Submitted by Pete Barrett on 06/09/2012 - 08:51 am.


      Don’t you think that it is a lot easier to enforce a helmet law than a seat belt law? A helmet less motorcyclist is just a tad more obvious than an unbelted motorist, no?

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/08/2012 - 03:17 pm.

    I wish Ms. Black well

    in her efforts to require helmets on all motorcyclists and passengers, though I doubt her chances are good in an era when most seem to believe that government has no right to tell us what’s good for us. As the law stands today, only those under 18 or those riding with an instructional permit are required to wear helmets.

    As a motorcyclist, husband and father, I promised my wife and son I’d not hit the road without adequate protection. For me, that means a good helmet, a brightly colored, armored jacket and proper footwear. I should wear the Kevlar jeans they bought me for Christmas, as well. I’m appalled to see men and women driving the streets in shorts, t-shirts, halter tops, sandals, et al. It only takes one spill at 30 mph to rip your flesh to the bone.

    Motorcyclists can do themselves and other drivers a favor by abandoning the black leather or, at the very least, donning something that doesn’t blend into the black asphalt background against which we so often ride. I still get false starts at intersections, by drivers who didn’t see me at first look, but many fewer than when I first hit the street without my yellow/black/white jackets.

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