Unintended Consequences in Paradise

The other day, I stumbled across a post at Boots & Sabers that made me laugh about the nature of unintended consequences. It would seem that San Diego voters decided to ban drinking on beaches in 2008. Not surprisingly, the voters who disagreed with the van and visitors simply took to floating their various beach gear out off shore a bit and enjoying a cold one in the water. That was not good enough for local bureaucrats who have now decided to take the ban even further – 3 miles off the shore to be precise. Owen adds:

I see a market for party barges that head a few miles off shore. Of course, they could just allow drinking on the beaches where people who pass out will wake up with a bad sunburn instead of drowning.

Who needs common sense, right?

I was reminded of it last night while reading through the guidebook I bought for our trip, Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed. The specific paragraph:

Sometimes even good intentions can lead to disaster. At one adventure, a trailhead led hikers to the base of a wonderful waterfall. There was only one trail, to the left of the parking lot, that a person could take. Neither we, other guides nor websites ever said, “stay on the trail to the left” because at the time there was only one trail to take. The state (in their zeal to protect themselves from liability at an unmaintained trail) came along and put up a DANGER KEEP OUT sign at the trailhead. Travelers encountering the sign assumed they were on the wrong trail and started to beat a path to the right instead. But that direction started sloping downward and ended abruptly at a 150-foot-high cliff. Hikers retreated and in a short time a previously non-existent trail to the right became as prominent as the correct (and heretofore only) path to the left. Not long after the state’s well-intentioned sign went up, an unwitting pair of hikers took the new, incorrect trail to the right and fell to their deaths. They probably died because they had been dissuaded from taking the correct trail by a state sign theoretically erected to keep people safe.

5 thoughts on “Unintended Consequences in Paradise”

  1. Liberals, Statists, Big Brother types, Meddlers, etc. are soft enough in the head that they are unable to think things through to their logical conclusion, considering various possible outcomes and the probabilities of those outcomes.

  2. “*Sometimes* even good intentions can lead to disaster”? Whatever happened to “The road to Hell is paved by good intentions”?!?

  3. California actually has some laws on the subject, because during prohibition you could go out beyond the three mile limit to drink, gamble, and whore. Such party boats persisted even after Prohibition ended, because of gambling and whoring, largely ending when World War II started because of the dangers in the first few months of the war. (And this is part of why Nevada casinos used to be quite circumspect about their California advertising–at least into the 1990s, it was unlawful to advertise to Californians any services that were lawful somewhere else, but unlawful in California itself.)

  4. Also, I’m surprised that a specific ban on drinking on the beach was required. California law, at least when I still lived there, prohibited any drinking in a public place. This is why people would drink out of bottles or cans in a brown paper bag–it created enough uncertainty as to what you were drinking that you could not be immediately arrested by a police officer.

    Such laws became common as Prohibition was repealed, in an attempt to discourage public drunkenness.

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