School: Your Heart's Not In It
For Legal Drafting we had to create a fictional ordinance requiring people to put up barriers preventing access to their swimming pools. While I didn't find the assignment very difficult, it was a bit strange to me on philosophical grounds. It occurred to me that this might happen on a regular basis once I begin practicing law, so maybe it's useful to work through it...
There are any number of things on the average suburban property that will cause injury or death to an unattended child. How many people just leave playground equipment lying around, or even worse, fertilizer or pesticides? With that in mind, it's hard for me to rationalize just why people need the government breathing down their necks whenever they want to construct a private swimming pool. It's not like the pool is a nuclear reactor or a coal plant - there's simply very little impact on the public at large.
The ordinance we had to write required us to set up a permitting system - if someone wanted to build a pool, they'd first have to get permits for both the pool and the barrier around the pool, as well as a final inspection by the county. To me, it's the equivalent of having to get a permit for a television.