Reasonableness and Politeness

Canada yet again has come up with an innovative and/or excessively polite solution to a current problem.

In case you missed it, the Canadian government last week issued a press release announcing that it “is taking action to apologize for the injustices experienced by LGBTQ2 individuals, their families, partners, and communities as a result of federal legislation, policies, and programs … (with) the creation of an advisory council to assist in the formulation of an inclusive and meaningful apology directed at Canadians harmed by these policies.”

I have to admit I was taken aback by this announcement. Yes, it’s a nice idea to apologize to people who have been wronged, but do you need a council to tell you how to do that?

How much study does this take?

Is there something about a Canadian apology that I don’t understand because I’m American? Can’t you just say you’re sorry and then get on with doing something about discrimination?

Obviously, this would never work in the United States. Powerful people hate apologizing unless they’re about to be sentenced, want parole, or need to sell a book.

Still, I’d advise legislators to consider creating committees to study sorrow. You want to look like you care even if you don’t.


Second Amendment. My rule of thumb when considering whether something is reasonable is to consider its opposite. If the opposite seems unreasonable, then maybe the first thing makes sense.

That doesn’t always work, but it usually does.

See if you think this is reasonable: a policy that requires police officers to “only use objectively reasonable force, proportional to the threat or urgency of the situation, when necessary, to achieve a law-enforcement objective.”

The opposite of this is telling officers to use any kind of force in any situation for whatever reason they want.

The first policy sounds better, doesn’t it?

Apparently not to everyone. One hundred twenty-six Seattle police officers sued over this policy, claiming it violated their Second Amendment rights. After all, what’s the point of having guns if you can’t shoot them when you want to?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week ruled in favor of reasonableness. The ruling is a bit mysterious because it doesn’t explain why the plaintiffs thought reasonableness was unreasonable.

After all, even if the Second Amendment applied, you’d think police might want to reassure people they could act reasonably with their guns.

You have to go back to the original lawsuit for reasons for unreasonableness. I won’t list all of them but my favorite is that the policy requires plaintiffs “to engage in mental gymnastics wholly unreasonable in light of the dangerous and fast evolving circumstances we face every day.”

Thinking is a terrible burden.

The suit also claimed that “citizens are feeling vulnerable as patrol officers avoid acting in reasonable response to threats to public safety.”

I’m guessing these are not the same citizens affected by what the U.S. Department of Justice called a pattern of excessive force by local police. That’s what led to the reasonable policy.

You can’t please everybody.


Please hydrate. In case you missed it, the State of California went to court to protect the reputation of water.

The suit, filed by the California Attorney General’s office, didn’t exactly say that, but that’s what it amounts to. The complaint was against The Gatorade Company for “numerous false and misleading statements and depictions of water in a mobile app videogame.”

In the game, a sprinter loses “fuel” after drinking water but gaining it after topping up with Gatorade.

OK, that’s probably not sound medical advice, but is it false and misleading in the context of a video game that, according to the complaint, includes “flying pirate ships and stolen gold?”

Has anyone stopped drinking water because of this game? For that matter, has anyone tried to book a flight on a pirate ship? (I tried, but I couldn’t find a website for one.)

Are millions of people in danger of dehydration?

I would have loved to have seen the discovery in this case but Gatorade wimped out and agreed to pay a $300,000 fine (your basic pocket change) and to stop bad-mouthing water.

Now go fuel up with the liquid of your choice.

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