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A man walks into a bar...

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Aug 27, 2010

So this guy walks into a bar. He's inside for a few minutes, and then he sees two bartenders doing a trick involving fire-breathing.

The guy’s a fire investigator, so he arrests the two for violating the state’s Fire Code. Under the Code, it is a felony to manufacture an explosive device, another felony to start a fire capable of spreading, and yet another to destroy a meeting house. Three counts, for up to 45 years in prison. On go the handcuffs.

This actually happened on July 24th at Jimmy’s in Herndon, Virginia, where the bartenders have been performing this trick as a way of entertaining customers every Friday night for the past thirteen years. Without injury to persons or property. Without ever being told by the fire marshall that they shouldn’t do it. Without ever being warned they might be breaking some incredibly vague law.

Happily, the authorities have now said they don’t plan to prosecute the felony charges, but will stick to misdemeanors. Hopefully in another few days they’ll forget about those too.

But this isn’t just another bar joke, and it isn’t funny. It makes one wonder too much about the moral priorities of a legal system which increasingly upholds so many very great evils while picking on those who break “regulations.” And which, among the other crimes the system itself commits, has clearly lost its sense of humor.

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  • Posted by: Phil_Homer7612 - Aug. 27, 2010 10:01 PM ET USA

    I wonder what their “carbon footprint” is? They had better watch out for the EPA as well…

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