I would like to point out that your comment really contradicts itself. The point of not having laws which interfere with personal choice is that what I deem reasonable is not what you may deem reasonable. Competing in the Vendee Globe gives you a 1 in 20 chance of dieing at sea. There are many people, perhaps a majority who would say that anyone who competes in such a race is an idiot and that it should be outlawed. Heck going to sea in any small craft is inherently dangerous, and by your reasoning some people may decide to outlaw sailing altogether since "some dumbasses can't exercise a little common sense". Even when it comes to kids, high school football can be very dangerous. There is a case right now where a kid died during a rigorous practice. There are kids who have died playing lacrosse and baseball as well. At what point do we add these sports to the list of prohibited activities, since dumbasses don't know how dangerous they are. What about the risks of simply growing up in a poverty stricken area. Growing up and going to school in the inner city is dangerous. Perhaps parents who decide to have kids in the inner city should have their parental rights suspended as well. A kid growing up in the inner city is more than 10 times as likely to be murdered, than one growing up in the suburbs. What kind of parent makes a decision like that, and should we suspend their parental rights for being dumbasses? Make all kids from the inner city a ward of the state? Or is it just the line that you personally draw as to what is reasonable that the entire world should follow?
Len I appreciate your comment.
Firstly, the difference between the Vendee Globe and this situation is that the people who participate in the Vendee Globe are adults who are old enough to make stupid decisions for themselves. I don't care if Len goes out and competes in the Vendee Globe, I would cheer you on, because you are old enough to know what you are getting into. A child, on the other hand, simply doesn't know - children aren't just small adults with all adult capabilities, not only do they not possess the life experience to make good decisions, their minds aren't even fully working on an adult level yet, they aren't even fully capable human beings yet. Yes, sometimes children think they know what they are getting into, witness young teenage mothers, they obviously have the will to direct themselves into grown-up situations. I know a 14 year old who wants to buy an old Mustang and drive it on country roads, and he's perfectly capable of driving the car, but that doesn't mean its a good decision, or that he is grown up enough to make that decision - if his parents let him then who's to blame if he kills someone, him ? Or his parents for letting him ? Sometimes you just have to be the grown-up when your kid wants something.
Secondly, you point out a lot of things that are obviously bad for children for good reason, because we'd prefer children not be subjected to dangerous situations if it can be avoided. Maybe the situation isn't something that is easily avoided (living in the city), or maybe the activity doesn't have high risks - you choose baseball and football, show me some statistics that kids have a one in ten chance of dying while playing baseball and yes we should definitely not allow children to participate anymore. None of the things you point are anywhere near as dangerous as allowing a 14 year old child to sail a boat around the earth, something that even adults don't do in great numbers because it is so dangerous and takes such a toll on the body and mind.
It is ironic that I would be the one arguing this point since I actually do support children being given more freedom - I feel the drinking age is much too high, if you're going to let a 17 year old kid fight and die he can sure as hell have a beer. I also know some very responsible children who help out on farms who should be allowed to drive the family tractor on the roads, once they get about 14 or 15 they are old enough to drive a tractor on a dirt road, that's my opinion. But driving a tractor on a dirt road isn't exactly sailing a boat around the earth alone - it's a question of degree, and of common sense.
I don't care what philosophical argument you put forth, 14 is too young. 14 years old is a 9th grader just out of middle school. I know a girl that age who is only now being allowed to go to the mall with her friends.