According to whom?

I recently got a piece of mail from the Health & Safety Association of Sacramento, and over the window it said “OFFICIAL SENATE BILL NOTICE, Response Request date within 5 days.” Also on the front of the envelope was “RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED” under an official-looking round logo with an eagle and stars and a warning that anyone who interferes with this letter could go to prison.

The single sheet inside said “Notice of Senate Bill 183,” Residential Building Safety. “California Senate Bill 183 signed into law May 2010, requires the mandatory installation of Carbon Monoxide Detectors in ALL homes by July 1st 2011.” It seems that the California Legislature and the governor decided that carbon-monoxide poisoning is something we should all be afraid of, so they made it against the law not to have a carbon-monoxide detector. It sounds to me like a way to sell more plastic and save the insurance companies a few payouts. For politicians, a gouge lite.

The Health and Safety Association says that “SB 183 will help put an end to the senseless deaths and injuries Californians suffer due to accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning.” Presumably the number of deliberate carbon-monoxide poisonings will remain steady.

The people who are afraid of accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning can buy a detector if they want, but forcing everybody in the state to buy, install and maintain a carbon-monoxide detector is helpful only to the corporations that make detectors and the insurance industry. I don’t know anybody who died from accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning, and I’m not afraid of it. Where’s the epidemic? The herd is gonna be culled one way or another.

The notice from the Health and Safety Association was pretending to be an official warning from an official organization and offered me an opportunity to pay the Carbon Monoxide Detector Fee (sic) of $76 by the end of the month and in turn receive a carbon-monoxide detector that is approved by the State Fire Marshall (also sic).

The Health and Safety Association fesses up at the bottom with “This product or service has not been approved, or endorsed by any government agency, and this offer is not being made by an agency of the government” and “This is a solicitation; you are under no obligation to pay the amount stated, unless you accept this offer.”

If I were as goofy as the Health and Safety Association thinks I am, I supposed I’d’ve tried to find 76 dollars to buy something else I don’t need in order to avoid a fine or imprisonment, although carbon-monoxide detectors are $15 dollars. Maybe that extra $61 would create jobs and hasten the economy’s recovery. Tough.