The November 1994 issue of Harper’s Magazine included a letter to the editor written by Phoenix resident Lawrence Bullis and published by the Arizona Republic. It included the following:
“Every day some new do-gooder is trying to save us from ourselves. We have so
many laws and safety commissions to ensure our safety that it seems nearly impossible
to have an accident. The problem is that we need accidents, and lots of them. Danger is
nature’s way of eliminating stupid people. Without safety, stupid people die in
accidents. Since the dead don’t reproduce, our species becomes progressively more
With safety, however well-intentioned it may be, we are devolving into half-witted
mutants because idiots are spared from their rightful early graves, and are free to breed
even more imbeciles. Let’s do away with safety and improve our species. Take your
choice of dangerous activity and do it with gusto. Future generations will thank you.”
Perhaps the letter writer was thinking back to a July 31, 1993 issue of the same Arizona Republic which reported that a fellow named Jarrette Arlo Dean bit the head off of a live rattlesnake. Mr. Dean, 43-year-old smart cookie that he is, spent five days in intensive care with snake bites to his tongue and lips which occurred while he was chewing off the reptile’s head. This happened after he had been bitten on his hand while carrying the captured as he rode his bicycle. When asked why he chomped down on the beast, he replied: “He bit me first.”
Apparently readers were left to judge whether the letter was a sarcastic bombast or true bull actually believed by Mr. Bullis. Maybe the latter
had Mr. Dean in his sights.
If it was sarcasm, the problem is that the very less-than-intelligent folk of whom he speaks will likely take him seriously, literally, gleefully. I can envision unruly mobs setting fire to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration headquarters on Constitution Avenue in D.C.
If the letter actually represents the true sentiments of the author, the poignant strains from the sweet lips of Forrest Gump ring their clarified truth: “Stupid is as stupid does.”