The Flame Goes Higher: COMMENTARY.

      10 Comments on The Flame Goes Higher: COMMENTARY.

The frog in the soup pot.

I believe the average Off Grid Ham reader has above-average intelligence. They also have a good grasp of what’s going on in the world. While this blog does not often delve into amateur radio politics (and even then we tread lightly), every now and then the planets line up and…DING! A big fat turd plops into the punch bowl of our otherwise understated avocation. amateur radio politics

But what can we do when they (“they” meaning the government) won’t operate within any reasonable boundaries? Unfortunately, by time “they” do something to screw us over, it’s already too late. Big government works that way, and they’re quite skilled at it. Like the parable of the frog in the boiling water, most people, even pretty smart people, don’t realize what’s happening to them until they are already cooked. What does this have to do with off grid amateur radio and why should you care? Stay with me for a bit. We’ll get to that.

The small engine mafia is born. amateur radio politics

By now you’ve probably heard that the state of California has enacted a law that will ban all small gas engines. The rule will be effective in 2024 or “as soon as feasible”. If you’re from one of the 49 other states and like to make fun of the goofy junk California is so famous for, don’t get too smug. These policies have a way of slowly building behind the scenes. One day you’ll realize you’re a frog in the pot too. And by then the water will be on a rolling boil.

I have no doubt that enterprising Californians (or those in neighboring states) will jump on a lucrative small engine black market. While the sale of new engines will be prohibited, existing machines can remain in service. There is nothing stopping anyone from importing gas engines from elsewhere. Any half-witted capitalist with modest seed money could make a run to Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, or even Mexico, load up with gas power tools, and run them back to Cali to be sold at a handsome profit. They could still undercut comparable battery power tools. Small engine retailers just over the California border are going to get rich off this. I would not be surprised if organized crime got involved. Someone, somewhere, could be to small gas engines what Al Capone was to booze. amateur radio politics

At the same time, if you’re in California and own gas power tools, you better keep them locked up tight. They’re soon going to be a favorite target of thieves. The days of leaving your lawnmower unattended in the yard and not thinking much of it will be over.

amateur radio politics.


More awesomeness from our heroes in the media.

A breathless expose´ from that citadel of legitimate journalism, NBC News, brings us the shocking revelation that gas generators emit carbon monoxide! Wow, who knew? The story drew a straight line between between people killed by carbon monoxide and the money-grubbing manufacturers who “regulate themselves” and “dragged out the (regulatory process) at the mercy of profits.” amateur radio politics

The article came out in mid-December 2021 but I did not respond to it at that time because I already had a nearly-completed blog post in the pipeline. But it is so insufferable, intellectually dishonest, and pointless that I could not let it slide. I urge you not to assault your brain cells by reading this astonishing pile of dribbling shit, but if you dare here is the link.

Doing the dirty work for my readers.

I read the article so you don’t have to. Oh, how I sacrifice for the benefit of my readers! It starts off in a familiar way: A tragic story about a sympathetic victim whose life was altered by an accident. Co-starring is the cold hearted, profit-hungry industry that failed to protect them. The deaths and injuries are indeed heartbreaking and preventable. On that part, I absolutely agree. Where the story went off the rails is how the blame was placed. amateur radio politics

The article went on at great length about how gas generators produce poisonous exhaust. It continued with people being killed and injured due to the manufacturers’ “failure” to make generators safer. In the entirety of the article they never mention that gas generators are not inherently flawed. When used as directed, gas generators are perfectly safe & effective products. It is also never once mentioned that, maybe, just maybe, the victims died as a result of their own disregard for safety rules.

Saying the quiet part out loud.

I understand “blaming the victim” can be perceived as insensitive in these situations. Still, we have to be unbiased enough to call it what it is. These people did not die because an evil corporation sold them a fundamentally hazardous device with a known engineering defect. They died because of their own negligence. How far should manufacturers be expected to go to protect consumers from their own stupidity? There, I said it.

The cherry of irony on top this not exactly funny cake is that it was co-written by five people from three well known media agencies. It took that many “professionals” to produce a journalistic dumpster fire that would not cut it as a middle school term paper. I think my cat could have authored something more objective. As an aside, I’m very surprised climate change was not mentioned.

Why should you care? How is this related to ham radio?

Every off grid radio enthusiast, EMCOMM operator, survivalist, and prepper should be paying attention. If you live in California and have not yet purchased a gas generator, hurry up and get one before the ban begins. If you live in California and already have a generator, you better take damn good care of it and make sure it’s stored in a secure location. For everyone else, well, 2022 is an election year. While small gas engines are a mundane topic to most people, to off grid hams they’re a pretty big deal. Read the writing on the wall. Draw your own conclusions and vote accordingly. Don’t let yourself be the frog in the soup pot or you might be just an election or two away from having a flame lit under your ass.

10 thoughts on “The Flame Goes Higher: COMMENTARY.

  1. randall krippner

    Yep, I know about what’s going on out there also and it’s disturbing, especially in a state where they’re now shutting down electrical service on a regular basis because of the risk of wildfires and soon won’t be able to buy back up generators? Oh brother.

    As for that article, frankly I have about as much sympathy for someone who is hurt or killed by carbon monoxide as i would have for someone who sticks his hand into a running snowblower or any of the other stupidity that manufacturers have to guard against these days.

    The other thing that’s going on in California and in some other states is communities banning the installation of natural gas pipelines to newly constructed homes for heating.

    1. Chris Warren Post author

      Hi Randall, I think the people who died/were injured in these accidents truly believed the risk was not that serious. It’s human nature, especially among males. In at least one of the cases, a teenager was left in charge of the generator. I assign at least some fault on the adult who placed the kid in charge. So yeah, it’s true that stupid people die in stupid ways, but sometimes the backstory is more subtle than binary right and wrong.

  2. Mike Hohmann

    Thanks for posting, Chris. I was not aware of this latest adventure by CA regulators, but I pay little attention to what goes on out there. Guess I’ll have to make some security improvements on my end, to avoid any loss of what likely will become new targets of opportunity for local thieves who currently seem focused on carjackings and armed robberies. Guess I’ll have to re-post an old notice – We don’t call 911 !!! Happy New Year to all!

    1. Chris Warren Post author

      Hello Mike, it’s great to hear from you. So much goes on in California that I don’t think anyone can really keep track of it all. One has to develop a filter to what is important and what’s not. As for armed self protection, I’m all for it. I hope you never need it.

  3. Kilovolt

    Well written. well said. Some say journalism is dead, we report you decide,with it. No, I think it’s out there in the wild, in fear of being canceled, by the “Woke”. Californians, had their chance to begin the flush, instead are happy floating with the turd. The subject being covered, is “They” need to protect us, from ourselves and the evil, gas engines and “They” know best. “We” say how can “They” be so stupid, “They” are not stupid, This is ALL a well orchestrated attempt to control, because “They” know what is best for “You.” As for this is coming to your state, we have all heard the “Ode of the U-Haul”, going to Red from Blue, to escape whatever, or are they bringing, whatever because “They” know what is best. Fear not, all is still not lost, but “WE” must resist

    1. Chris Warren Post author

      I’ve found the only way to stay informed is to get your news from many sources. If you’re only watching one channel or visit one or two websites, you’re not informed at all. I visit no less than twelve websites multiple times per day, often more. My daily plan is to collect bits and pieces from each source and build my conclusions from there. And yes, I even read news and opinion I disagree with. It is always best to know what the “other side” is doing.

  4. rich ryan

    Anyone look at a step ladder recently? full of decals telling stupid people not to be stupid.
    and still half the cost of one is to pay for the insurance when the ladder company get sued in some new and innovative way

  5. randall krippner

    You know, the thing that irritates me most about things like this is that politicians never seem to think about the repercussions of what they’re doing or how it is is going to harm people. It’s like everything they do is a knee jerk reaction to something someone saw on television or on facebook, and they all go ‘ooo, that’s a good idea’ and just do it without looking into the effect the legislation is going to have.

    California already has an electrical grid that is stretched to the limits, and like a lot of other states there has been a great deal of resistance to improve it because that would cost utilities money, so little or nothing is being done to increase its capacity or improve its reliability. So they’re now embarking on a course of action that will strain that electrical grid even more. A lot more. As electric cars replace existing vehicles, electric lawn care and gardening equipment replaces gasoline models, how are they going to charge all that equipment with a grid that is already failing and dealing with regular power outages and brownouts?

    We’re looking at adding literally tens of millions of electric vehicles and other electrical equipment in the very near future and we have neither the distribution system nor the generating capacity to deal with it.

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