As seniors, we can hope the plethora of legislation emerging almost daily from the paper mill of the Pennsylvania General Assembly would, from time to time, take our well-being, safety and happiness and that of others into consideration.
But every now and then things get, well, just a little loopy — and so outrageously silly that you just can't make this stuff up.
Take this memo sent to House members last year by state Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny County), seeking support for a bill that would remove deer antler restrictions for "senior hunters."
Readshaw wrote: "It has been brought to my attention by senior hunters who believe that, for a variety of reasons, the relatively new requirements of counting points on buck deer can become difficult with age. The vast majority of our senior hunters are seasoned sportsmen and sportswomen who have paid their dues to the Agency."
That agency, of course, is the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Readshaw, citing that "future hunting opportunities begin to lessen," for such older folks, says he's sure the senior license holders would appreciate such an advantage.
Let me get this straight: Readshaw wants to have the law allow grandpa — who obviously can't see well enough to count the points on a buck's antlers — to fire a high-powered weapon in the direction of a living target, legal or otherwise, just because he's grandpa?
No doubt many falling into that category also would appreciate someone helping them aim their hunting rifle in the general direction of the suspected prey and even — who knows? — pulling the trigger for them. Where, it must be asked, does this nonsense end?
Getting old is no picnic, and knowing when its time to pack in certain things is another step down the wisdom trail. Such instances include knowing that if you can't make out the gauges on your car's dashboard, stay off the road; if you can't read your plane's instrument panel, stay out of the sky; if you don't know what your shooting at, give the rest of us one more chance at staying alive.
For everyone's safety, including your own, call it a day and see an ophthalmologist — right away.
Every year during hunting seasons news stories from across the nation tell of shooting accidents, often tragic, in which poor eyesight, mistaken targets and outright carelessness are cited by authorities.
Memo to Rep. Readshaw and the rest of the Pennsylvania Legislature: If you're going to spend taxpayer-paid time considering bills someone thinks will be appreciated by "senior hunters," consider putting the safety of said seniors, and all other state residents, first.
The aging hunters may have "paid their dues" to the Pennsylvania Game Commission -- that's what the law expected of them. Such payment doesn't give them a pass to a senior shooters' free for all.
The legislation for which Rep. Readshaw is pleading consideration, House Bill 1146, is lingering in the House Game and Fisheries Committee where, with any luck, it will die.
Oh, and to all those hunting grandpas, some friendly words of advice: If you can't clearly see what you'd like to shoot, give it a rest. The deer, and any of us within range, thank you.
William Parkinson has spent more than 40 years as a reporter and editor at newspapers, the Associated Press and United Press International in this country and abroad. He’s mad about cats — and words. His column appears on Sundays. Email him at email@example.com.