I’m the manager of a self-storage facility in Santa Cruz, CA. We have an automatic gate here, a large one made of wrought iron and steel. The gate has this sign on it:
This morning I looked up out the window to see a child, about 8 years old, standing on the gate’s bottom beam and riding it open and closed. The mother was standing about 10 feet away, watching. I had to go out there and yell at both of them.
This gate weighs, I would guess, in the neighborhood of 3,000 lbs. It’s not like a garage door, where it stops if it hits something or encounters any resistance. The sensor is an infrared beam on one side of the gate, and only if something blocks that beam will the gate open again once it begins closing. It will cheerfully crush you against the opposite post if the sensor is unobstructed.
In the child’s case, I was waiting for her foot to get caught in the retractor chain that runs just underneath where she was standing. Having one’s foot torn off by a tension chain is not an ideal way to learn a lesson, but with parenting like this, it might be the kid’s only hope.
When did people get this stupid? Has it always been the case and I just never noticed before? The other thing I found disturbing was when I went outside to tell the kid to get off the gate, she just looked at me dumbly. She didn’t jump off like she’d been caught doing something wrong, or seem at all inclined to obey another adult. It was only when the mother told her to climb down that she moved.
Auto-Darwination eventually takes care of children like this, I am sure. Too bad it didn’t get the mom before she had a chance to breed.