Loser: We admire the gumption of an 8-year-old who would think himself capable of driving the family van to the store at 2 a.m., but the accident that ensued when the van nearly tumbled into the Ogden River Thursday could have been much worse. As it was, neither the boy nor his 5-year-old sister was hurt. Trees stopped the van from falling into the water. This is one of those problems without a clear solution. The distraught mother was not negligent, judging from what was reported. She put the kids to bed and went to sleep herself. Sometimes, however, it's hard to anticipate a child's behavior well enough to know to sleep with your keys under your pillow.
Winner: Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has implemented a Child Identity Protection program, the purpose of which is to keep children safe from those who would rob their identities and use their Social Security numbers. Now you can register your children with the state. That sends the child's Social Security number to a credit bureau database that will flag any attempts to use the number to obtain credit. Foolproof? No. But it's a big step toward stopping scoundrels who will do anything to line their own pockets.
Winner: Panhandling, on its own, is not a crime. Nor can the government keep a child from selling lemonade by the roadside. A federal judge this week ruled that Salt Lake City's anti-panhandling ordinance, which prohibited people from begging for money along roadways, doesn't pass constitutional muster. As the judge noted, the ordinance was so broad it could apply to a wide range of activities that don't pose any risks to traffic safety. People have the right to ask for help. If they are interfering with traffic or otherwise disturbing the peace. those are separate matters. Bother, can you spare some lemonade?
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