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

That is in fact the reality that you are not supplying a viable alternative for. Saying you don’t like tha tthis is reality does not make it go away.

It is indeed all my fault

That is both relevant and true :roll_eyes:


“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.”

See my original comment. I was not in support of sawmill jobs and never said I was.

Which is not working in a sawmill. We had a whole ass movement over this in the first half of the last century - children should not have to be bread winners. Adults raising children should be able to support their families with a living wage. A summer job is fine - THIS ended up with a dead kid. It’s like something out of the early 20th century, FFS…

Also… are poor kids in urban areas or suburban areas not “really poor” now? Is poverty only real if it’s out in rural areas? :woman_shrugging: You, again seem to be making assumptions about people here, and their experiences, too. I promise you, that you’re not the only person here who has had struggles in their lives, including economic ones. Don’t assume that you hold some special knowledge about poverty, and the rest of us are sitting around her with our high priced cigars and brandy snifters looking down on the poor.

Did you actually read any other comments - banning child labor in dangerous fields, and limiting the work children can do, universal public education, and ensuring that parents can find work that fully provides for the welfare of their families is the primary argument - and we’ve known that works, because that’s what happened when child labor was ended. This isn’t rocket surgery.


Your original comment was effectively “hey, teenagers working hard jobs is a good thing!” even though no one ever suggested that there are not other age-appropriate jobs suited for teens. Your comment never hinted any disapproval of the illegal and dangerous work this particular teen was employed to do.

In that context, it’s hard to see that comment as anything other than support for the unconscionable workplace conditions brought up in this article.

Then you proceeded to attack everyone who reacted with reasonable horror to the specific workplace conditions that led to this death as being out-of-touch elites who don’t understand how important employment opportunities are for impoverished teens. You can get right out of here with that nonsense.

Why should anyone have to “supply a viable alternative” for compliance with workplace safety laws?


There’s no inference to make. You responded to a post about a 16 y.o kid dying in an industrial accident in a lumber mill by defending dangerous child labor, not a general screed against teenagers working at fast food joints. Context matters.


Is saying that we should have a social safety net that allows families to survive without putting their children in dangerous jobs enough of a viable alternative for you, or do you think that’s too unrealistic to even be considered?


Fast food jobs aren’t exactly safe, either. First damned thing I had do at McDonalds is run the fucking fryer!


Is it Labor Day, yet?

Too many people forget that Labor Day honors the fallen of the Labor movement; that people fought and died for worker’s rights. That includes sick leave, paid vacation, work hours, safer working conditions, the right to unionize, minimum wage, and an end to dangerous child labor. And clearly some people fail to make the connection that if corporations can pay children to do dangerous work, they can pay them less and even fewer adults can have a living wage…which worsens the problem that leads children to get jobs in the first place.


And also can reduce a child’s participation in school. :man_shrugging:


Kids with jobs don’t need school!


They can learn on the job! Every lost digit is a lesson they’ll remember! /s


What I see (from my vantage point in rural America) is that the schools are so bad that kids barely graduate from high school and are often either barely literate or even functionally illiterate. They can’t work at anything other than low-paying jobs requiring physical labor. I used to know some of the highest political figures in the state, and they tried to create a new initiative to attract young adults from other states because their own surveys showed that the average young adult in Indiana couldn’t read an employee manual, couldn’t show up on time for work consistently, and couldn’t pass a drug test.

They’re not poor and working lousy jobs because they live in a rural area. They’re poor because Republican politicians actively work against schools, health care, and really anything that would support rural youth being able to grow into their potential, all to placate the wealthy donors whose kids DON’T have to do that grunt work, ever.


I worked on farms every summer as a child. Baling hay, working in the bog, helping with silage. Not a scratch.

Of course there was Michael Costello who climbed down off a tractor, stepped on the PTO and had his leg twisted off at the knee in an instant. 15 years old.

Then there was the Fahey lad who got pulled into the exposed drive belt of a 100 year old thresher. He was terrified of the machine. 16 I think, couldnt have been older.

Then there was Stephen O’ Dowd who went down into a slurry tank to try to clear a clog and was overcome by fumes. His dad went in after him and died the same way. About 14 or 15.

John Reddington, making silage when his tractor rolled off the heap. At least the tractor had a roll cage so he only crushed his femur. 15.

Then there was the Healys, brother and sister, drowned in a bog while turning turf. 8 and 9 years old.

Brendan Ralph, died of electrocution when the tractor struck low-hanging power lines.

But hey, I was fine!


Ghost Hug GIF


Where is this even coming from? I see nothing in the OP or the comments that implies anyone thinks teenagers doing “real” work is a bad thing.
I do see plenty in the comments reminding us that teenagers doing dangerous work is a bad thing, especially if it breaks hard-won labor laws.
For the record, grew up rather poor in a rural state, started working at 14 yo. Cleaning bathrooms in a nursing home. It wasn’t dangerous, but it sure as hell was “real.”


Yeah. I had a friend in high school that ended up frying his finger.


I worked on our family farm starting around age 12, and your post rang so true. Me and my sister were always okay, but all anyone talked about was all the people we know who got hurt. It was dinner conversation at least once a week. My dad has partial sight loss in one eye from a piece of straw fired out the back of the combine he was standing too close to. He also lost the end of his pinky finger because his hand was resting on the counterweight spring on the swather when his brother raised the head. My dad’s uncle lost an arm because he was leaning too far off the tractor, fell off, and the sod breaking disc* he was pulling rolled over his arm.

Myself, I had a few close calls. Got electrocuted when the dash on my tractor shorted out and I grabbed something I shouldn’t have, trying to fix it. I almost pulled down a 600 gallon fuel tank when I misjudged the distance to the end of a 60’ cultivator. It snagged the leg on the tank, but popped free by amazing luck. I almost crushed my dad behind the tractor when he was hooking up a machine and my foot slipped off the clutch. I still had it in gear, which was stupid. I almost lost both thumbs cutting rubber bushings to repair a machine, using a radial arm saw. Blade grabbed the material and pulled my hands in. Just missed me. Really stupid thing to do, but kids are stupid.

We all tell each other these stories so nobody ever forgets how dangerous every single hour of every day on the farm is. Everything around you is trying to kill you all the time. Hell, my grandpa had a bad knee because a cow kicked him. Don’t even need machines to get hurt.

Kids should not be exposed to any of this, of course. We did it because we had to. I’m proud of the work we did growing up, but I also know how lucky I was and I’d never want my kids doing the things we did. Sometimes I get the cold sweats thinking about all the close calls.

*In case anyone is insufficiently afraid of a disc, they are literally a giant implement covered in giant steel cutting wheels seemingly engineered to mangle the bodies of farmers.


I describe my hometown as “the kind of place where everybody knows somebody with a chainsaw scar.”


Speaking from Wisconsin, where the kid in the original story that started this was killed, this has actually already been said by some of our lovely conservative neighbors. Oh, not their own kids, mind you, but you know, those other kids over there. You know the ones. Do they really need to be clogging up the schools when they could be working instead? :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: