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Op-Ed

Trick or treat or pain or jail

October 25, 2021

Halloween is dangerous for adults and you can be surprised by law enforcement almost anywhere.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

I know it’s not nice to make fun of people being injured — but sometimes the urge is just too strong.

I apologize in advance.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a press release warning us about Halloween-related injuries. The description of the injuries sounded like a pitch for a sitcom episode:

  • 48% were related to pumpkin carving;
  • 27% were due to falls while putting up or taking down decorations, tripping on costumes, or walking while trick-or-treating;
  • 25% of the injuries included lacerations, ingestions, and other injuries associated with costumes, pumpkins or decorations, and allergic reactions or rashes. 

Do you have the feeling that most of those injured would have found a way to injure themselves even if it wasn’t Halloween?

The release then provides “safety tips” that may or may not be helpful.

The first tip is “leave pumpkin carving to the adults.” This advice comes exactly one paragraph after we’ve been informed that 56% of those injured are adults.

I guess the idea is to injure more adults for the entertainment and delight of children.

We’re also advised to keep “open-flame candles” away from stuff than can catch on fire and to “use a ladder when hanging or removing decorations.”

Do not try to leap from the ground onto your roof. You could pull a muscle.

If you’re wondering why the CDC put out this useful information, the release says that about 3,600 Halloween-related injuries are treated annually in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

In a country with 329.5 million people.

Ah, statistics….

More tricks. I’ve never considered going into law enforcement but lately I’m wondering if perhaps I should have. Cops and agents of all sorts seem to be having a lot of fun. It’s become gaming in real life.

The New Yorker the other day ran a piece about drug agents making up crimes to catch hapless, desperate people who may or may not have otherwise broken the law. It’s kind of like "Squid Game" without the shooting. Losers just get sent to jail.

What the New Yorker article didn’t tell us was how this law enforcement game-playing has extended to all sorts of fun pursuits.

This is from a federal court ruling last week: “(A)gents of the Florida Wildlife Commission covertly operated a licensed alligator egg processing facility in Arcadia, Florida.”

The government can tempt you with almost anything.

Networking. What’s the best way for aspiring lawyers to network with those in the legal field?

Partial answer: don’t use Twitter.

I bring this up because the Washington Bar Association on Sept. 14 tweeted this: “What’s the best way for aspiring lawyers to network with those in the legal field?”

I decided to let that one percolate for a while because I had a guess. My guess was right.

When I checked back on Oct. 21 there were all of five likes and two replies. I have no idea what people were liking — maybe they were question fans — and the two replies were, in full: “State sponsored bar events” and “Invite them to lunch.”

Picture a giant banquet hall filled with lawyers you’ve invited to lunch.

Picture a state-sponsored bar mixer filled with lawyers eager to mingle with aspiring lawyers.

Feel free to post your own suggestions. Aspiring lawyers in Washington need your help.

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