October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, according to StopBullying.gov — a federal website that is suspiciously still operating during the government’s draconian 17% shutdown.
The official website defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior” that involves “a real or perceived power imbalance.” Instead of focusing on grade-school toughs administering swirlies and wedgies, government should focus on the far more sinister bullying from their own bureaucracy.
A businessman named Craig Zucker sold sets of small, strong magnetic spheres called BuckyBalls. In 2009 his creation became an Internet sensation and by the following year his company had $10 million in sales.
Instead of celebrating this American success story, the jobs it created, and the increased tax revenue, the Obama administration decided to bully Zucker’s little company. In 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission arbitrarily deemed BuckyBalls to be inherently unsafe.
From the 2.5 million sets sold, the CPSC documented five (five!) cases of children swallowing the executive toy. Despite the miniscule 0.0002% failure rate, our government nannies ruled that the tiny round menace had to be stopped.
To his credit, Zucker fought the ban with a fun public relations campaign mocking the government’s silly overreach.
Online ads pointed out how, under the commission’s reasoning, everything from coconuts (“tasty fruit or deadly sky ballistic?”) to stairways (“are they really worth the risk?”) to hot dogs (“delicious but deadly”) could be banned. Commission staff were challenged to debate Mr. Zucker, and consumers were invited to call Commissioner Inez Tenenbaum’s “psychic hotline” to find out how it was that “the vote to sue our company was presented to the Commissioners on July 23rd, a day before our Corrective Action Plan was to be submitted.”
Nevertheless, the federal bullies forced Zucker to shut down his profitable business. But that wasn’t enough. As C.S. Lewis once said, “above all else, the Devil cannot stand to be mocked.” The government had to make a personal example of Zucker.
The commission filed a motion requesting that Mr. Zucker be held personally liable for the costs of the recall, which it estimated at $57 million, if the product was ultimately determined to be defective.
This was an astounding departure from the principle of limited liability at the heart of U.S. corporate law.
CPSC’s goal is no longer to protect kids from bite-sized magnets — BuckyBalls are off the market. Their only goal now is to personally destroy Zucker for daring to question ridiculous federal bureaucrats.
The inventor is now selling a larger version of his popular product and named them LibertyBalls. The profits will go toward Zucker’s legal fees as he stands up for rights of American consumers, businesses, and individuals.
The Obama Administration is using “unwanted, aggressive behavior” that involves “a real power imbalance.” By their own definition, they are bullies.
Thankfully, StopBullying.gov shows how they can resolve the problem. The CPSC must write a letter apologizing to Zucker, do good deeds for his fired employees, and pay for all the damages done to the company that they destroyed.
But the agency better hurry — Bullying Prevention Awareness Month only lasts three more weeks.
Follow Jon on Twitter at @ExJon.