What the … beep?! Silly rule detected and reversed at Michigan Crossroads Council

Common sense. We see it so rarely in politics these days that it’s big news whenever it shows up.

Take the recent news that the Michigan Department of Human Services told the Michigan Crossroads Council that it would be required to have smoke detectors in all 1,000 of its summer camp tents across nine camps.

Yes, you read that right. A thousand small, beeping, blinking, battery-draining smoke detectors for all the two-person, council-owned tents in the Lower Peninsula.

But here comes common sense. Fortunately, we got word yesterday that the state agency has reversed its decision and will not require the detectors. 

The impractical — not to mention costly — detectors fired up state Rep. Phil Potvin, a board member of the President Ford Field Service Council. He told the Detroit Free Press that the “tents are right next to the campfire. You are going to have smoke in them. You’re going to have constant beeping in there. How would they hang in tents? Tents are going to leak. They’re going to get wet. It’s a major expense for absolutely nothing.”

Kudos to my colleague Frank Reigelman, outdoor adventures director for the Michigan Crossroads Council, for helping set the state straight.

He told the Free Press that smoke detectors are installed in camp buildings, cabins, and yurts but aren’t needed in two-person tents.

But perhaps Rep. Ken Goike, a Republican from Macomb County’s Ray Township, said it best:

“Nobody wants to see any children being burned. But when was the last time … a Boy Scouts’ s’more fire (went) amok?”