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Government keeps on giving itself more & more control
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I intend to become a lawbreaker.

My act of defiance will occur when July 1, 2011 arrives and passes.

I will not be complying with Senate Bill 183 known as the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010.

The dictate from the California Legislature requires all new single family homes sold starting Saturday to have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector and for all existing single family homes to have them in place as of July 1, 2011. All other forms of housing need to have them installed by Jan. 1, 2013. Dwellings that do not have fossil fuel burning appliances such as kitchen ranges, water heaters, and fireplaces or heating systems in the home or attached garage are exempt.

The $20 to $40 price tag isn't the issue.

Nor is it necessarily a bad idea.

The real problem is how far we are taking government regulation supposedly "for our own good."

The law was prompted by a Monterey couple that died from CO poising caused by a faulty gas heater.

Just how serious is CO poisoning in homes? The U.S. Consumer Protection Agency reports that on average 170 people die every year in this country from CO poisoning produced by non-automotive equipment. Of those, the agency noted in 2005 that 94 of those 170 deaths were generator-related from people using then for power during outages. So the real number of people who die from "fossil fuel burning" appliances as referenced in California's new law is about 80 a year. But that is nationally.

The Center for Disease Control put the number of deaths in California from CO poisoning from 1999 to 2004 at 115, or 19 a year.

Now consider the amount of deaths from driving under the influence of alcohol. There were over 10,000 nationally and 950 specifically in California during 2009.

That's 50 times more people dying in California each year from DUIs than from CO poisoning. So why isn't the Legislature requiring all vehicles registered in California - new and existing - to have ignition systems that can't be turned over without first using a breath analyzer?

There are those who would dismiss such questioning of the government's motives - read that elected leaders and key bureaucrats who answer to no one but themsleves - since it is about saving lives. That somehow makes it okay for government to keep getting more and more invasive in our individual lives.

It is wrong for a number of reasons of which not the least is the individual becoming subservient to the wishes of the government. The government - in this case - wishes you to spend $30 on a CO detector even though they don't make it clear how they intend to enforce it. Perhaps they will keep hiring more and more employees to create CO detector cops with the authority to check your home at will. The law on its face is pretty useless as it really can't be enforced but then again where there is a will there's a way. That opens another entirely different argument about adopting laws that the government can't enforce.

The act of CO poisoning is clearly an accident except in cases involving suicide. There, however, could be gross negligence with faulty appliances if you are renting a house or apartment from someone and you get poisoned.

Now compare that to being killed by someone who is operating a vehicle when they are intoxicated. That clearly isn't an accident as they made a deliberate decision to drink and then get behind the wheel. And just like none of us can be trusted to routinely inspect, maintain, and operate fossil fuel burning appliances in a safe and responsible manner the government obviously shouldn't trust us to operate our vehicles without drinking. What does it matter that you abstain from consuming any alcoholic beverages? Following the CO detector mandate line of thinking there should be breath analyzers attached to the ignition of all vehicles - period. Certainly the death rate - which is 50 times higher for DUIs than CO poisoning in California - would justify such action.

Perhaps the California Legislature should concentrate on its core reason for existing which is providing for safety, public health, and the general welfare in areas that we cannot do as individuals.

If not, you may rue the day when they determine one person getting killed in their home by a vehicle that drives into it justifies the requirement that all residential dwellings have crash barriers.

It's not a question of whether government will go that far considering its track record but simply when we will reach that point.