SI Vault
September 19, 1960
The first Roman Olympiad in history has come to an end to the accompaniment of joyous shouts and mournful moans. It produced many great achievements and a few flimsy alibis. Nobody was happy about all the results or circumstances, but everybody was happy about the grandeur that was Rome this summer. No matter how many gold medals were won or lost by athletes of this or that nation, a popular vote would have accorded medals to the architects and booby prizes to the traffic cops.
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September 19, 1960

A Grand Olympiad

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Whether you're 12 or 82, in sound or feeble mind, drunk or sober, you can walk into almost any marina and take any boat that strikes your fancy into any navigable waters of the U.S.—even if you haven't a license to run a scooter.

The result of this negligent encouragement of mutual mayhem has been a steadily increasing accident and death rate on the waterways as the number of boat owners and renters rises each year. According to the Coast Guard, there now are about 40 million Americans participating in recreational boating and between 7 and 8 million small-boat owners in the United States.

The boat buyers and even some salesmen are opposed to a Coast Guard proposal to license boat operators, and the owners do not even like the current rule that you must register your boat and paint the number on the bow. All these laws, say the rugged individualists, violate the sovereign right of every American to kill or maim any other American.

We are for stricter laws, a license for every boat operator and an increase in appropriations for the Coast Guard and for other supervisory bodies in the states. Then waterways may become more than slightly safer than the highways.

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