This week, the terrible story of two young New Brunswick boys, who were killed by an African rock python, left the country flailing about in search of solutions. Ontario's Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur responded with talk of making new laws to more thoroughly regulate exotic pets. Ron Laidlaw, the executive director of Zoocheck Canada, called for a widespread ban on pythons in pet stores. These reactions are natural and well-meaning, but it's hard to believe the proposed fixes would have much practical effect in preventing this kind of freakish accident from happening again. Under New Brunswick law, the python that killed the boys already required a special permit. In other words, the kind of law other jurisdictions are now talking about implementing was already in place. It's just that, according to a statement from the New Brunswick government reported on by CP, the python's owner didn't happen to have followed it. You can pile regulation upon regulation, but ultimately the responsibility and capacity for keeping people (and children, in particular) safe from the hazards of life will always come down to the decisions made by the individuals closest to them. For better or -- in a heartbreaking case like this one -- for worse, there's no getting around that.
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