In Defense Of Deadly Child Labor: F*ck Everybody But ME!

I worked for a John Deere repair shop and also drove tractors, baled hay and built fences during the Summer when I was 16. That gave me the money I needed to make some of my own life choices going forward. Not sure that I think that teenagers doing real work is a bad thing in itself.

Those are not the same thing as operating an industrial saw big and powerful enough to literally cut large trees. Though you shouldn’t have been operating heavy machinery either. The fact you got out unscathed and made the money you want is immaterial.

Children should not be operating heavy machinery. They should not be cleaning heavy machinery. Full stop. If a teen needs a job because our social safety net absolutely sucks, they need something safer.

Being on the side of sacrificing children to capitalism is a very bad look

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Speaking as someone who is average height for a woman and also left-handed, I know all too well how much more dangerous the world is in general because it’s sized to average-male-height and right-handedness. This makes power tools especially dangerous. A sawmill? A 16yo boy does not yet have the maturity and coordination to handle that kind of equipment, and if he is already tall enough, then he’s almost certainly lanky and unstable on his feet in comparison to a man of the same height in his mid-20’s.

There are many jobs offering “real work” to teenagers that aren’t so life-threatening. The industry itself is considered more dangerous than being a cop, to give you some idea. Why put minors in such a situation?

Or is this an example of performative masculinity? Is this boy a ‘real man’ because he worked that job? No, he’s a real corpse.


I had plenty of part-time jobs as a teenager too, but the lumber industry has one of the highest fatality rates of any occupation in America. Statistically speaking you are dozens of times more likely to be killed on the job working in the lumber industry than you are serving as an active-duty soldier in the US Armed Forces.

This is not the kind of work any minor should be expected to do, EVER.


As opposed to fake work? Nice way to denigrate the honest and age-appropriate safe jobs done by millions of American teenagers when they’re off from school.


That is not what I meant by that statement at all but go ahead and make up ypur own inferwnce here. The truth is a lot of poor kids have to do difficukt work in this country to get by. I am happy that so many of you avoided this reality but the fact remains that it is the predominant reality in rural America and no amount of hand waving makes it go away. That d9esnt mean I support it. I dont support kids being poor and wothout opportunity either. Work is the lesser of two very real evils here.
Yes we should be concerned about this and make it safer and pas logical legislation. But kids are going to be out there working like I was (on heavy equipment out in the heat etc.) wether you experienced that yourself or not.
Working any job as a teenager is real work…don’t detract from the facts by making an imagainary issue here We have plenty of real issues to address un a more level headed way.

Employing a minor at a sawmill in clear violation of child labor laws is in no way, shape or form “less evil” than running a saw mill in compliance with child labor laws.

We don’t do the working poor any favors by violating the hard-won safety regulations designed to protect their lives.

This dead kid isn’t “imaginary.”


You used the phrase “real work”, which implies that a lot of teenagers do work that isn’t “real”. You can try to backpedal but those were your words.

There is nothing noble or praiseworthy about teenagers doing dangerous jobs that are not appropriate to their age and that violate labour laws. Anything that involves the possible death or maiming of a minor is not a “lesser evil”.


Survivor bias is a hell of a drug.


Im grateful to see that so many people don’t have to experience growing up poor. Understand that if that was not your experince then you are speaking from a place of privelege and you are separated from the reality that these kids are experiencing. You can wring your hands and say that they shouldn’t be doing these tough jobs but the truth is that you are separated by a vast distance from these kids and thier day to day realities. For a lot of young kids in America this is the way they get money to have options in life. I am not saying that I like that. I am saying that this is the reality.

The imaginary issue of “real” verses not real(?) jobs not dead kids.

Nice way to denigrate the honest and age-appropriate safe jobs done by millions of American teenagers when they’re off from school.

So am I. Nothing to do with your use of the phrase “real work”, and no amount of arse-covering backtracking will change that.

You could have called it what it is: dangerous work. But you didn’t, and that’s what’s called a “tell”.


Don’t make assumptions about anyone here… Plenty of folks here did, and many are still poor, in fact.


Oh, I’ve got fuck-all money, but I’m still sure kids shouldn’t work bandsaws.


Don’t make assumptions about anyone here… Plenty of folks here did, and many are still poor, in fact.

Thise who grew up poor in the country will tell you that working on a tractor bailing hay or pulling up fence posts is dangerous and yet is a common job for rural teens. You have to draw a line somewhere. I do agree that a sawmill is a terrible place for kids. Its a terrible place for adults as well.

No one here has suggested that there shouldn’t be any opportunities for teens to earn money. That’s a straw man argument you seemingly invented in defense of a sawmill that violated child labor laws to put a minor in a dangerous workplace that ultimately cost him his life.


“… that’s just how it is whether you like it or not” is a weird hill to die on — we could say the same about literally any subject and it never proves anything