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Pictured above is 7-year old Julie Murphy from Oregon. Though it may not seem apparent at first glance, she is a dangerous scofflaw, a serious public health threat. Why?, you might ask. Well, I'll tell you why.
This little criminal was guilty of....of....this is going to be shocking, so I hope you're sitting down....this diminutive desperado was...oh, the horror....running a lemonade stand without a license.
RIGHT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Yeah. Can you believe it ? Don't be fooled by that sweet angelic face. This kid is T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Thank goodness we have government bureaucrats in place to protect the public from such profiteering predators as 7-year old Julie Murphy.
Here are the details of her rampage of lawlessness:
It's hardly unusual to hear small-business owners gripe about licensing requirements or complain that heavy-handed regulations are driving them into the red.
So when Multnomah County shut down an enterprise last week for operating without a license, you might just sigh and say, there they go again.
Except this entrepreneur was a 7-year-old named Julie Murphy. Her business was a lemonade stand at the Last Thursday monthly art fair in Northeast Portland. The government regulation she violated? Failing to get a $120 temporary restaurant license.
Turns out that kids' lemonade stands -- those constants of summertime -- are supposed to get a permit in Oregon, particularly at big events that happen to be patrolled regularly by county health inspectors.
Julie Murphy was illegally making lemonade with packets of Kool-Aid and gallons of bottled water, WITHOUT paying tribute to the government first. The sheer audacity of this little tyke. Fortunately for the endangered public, the G-Men nabbed her in the nick of time. Here's a quote from one of the intrepid protectors of the public weal:
"I understand the reason behind what they're doing and it's a neighborhood event, and they're trying to generate revenue," said Jon Kawaguchi, environmental health supervisor for the Multnomah County Health Department. " But we still need to put the public's health first."
Darn right, Mr. Environmental Health Supervisor ! We can't have little girls running around making lemonade without a license. Lord almighty. That would lead to absolute chaos ! A complete breakdown of the social order ! Anarchy, I tell you. Why, if we let little girls start making unauthorized lemonade, the next thing you know, they'll be making, like, fruit punch, iced tea, and other stuff like that ! It's a slippery slope, ladies and gentlemen. As Deputy Barney Fife from Mayberry used to say, we have to nip it, nip it in the bud.
The story gets worse. It turns out that little Julie was aided and abetted in her illegal activity by her own mother. Here's how the mother/daugher criminal conspiracy con went down:
Fife [ Julie's mother, not Deputy Barney] had just attended Last Thursday along Portland's Northeast Alberta Street for the first time and loved the friendly feel and the diversity of the grass-roots event. She put the two things together and promised to take her daughter in July.
The girl worked on a sign, coloring in the letters and decorating it with a drawing of a person saying "Yummy." She made a list of supplies.
Then, with gallons of bottled water and packets of Kool-Aid, they drove up last Thursday with a friend and her daughter. They loaded a wheelbarrow that Julie steered to the corner of Northeast 26th and Alberta and settled into a space between a painter and a couple who sold handmade bags and kids' clothing.
It was an ingenious little plot, but the government was ON THE JOB. Next comes the heroic bust of little Julie's mobster racketeering scam:
After 20 minutes, a "lady with a clipboard" came over and asked for their license. When Fife explained they didn't have one, the woman told them they would need to leave or possibly face a $500 fine.
Surprised, Fife started to pack up. The people staffing the booths next to them encouraged the two to stay, telling them the inspectors had no right to kick them out of the neighborhood gathering. They also suggested that they give away the lemonade and accept donations instead and one of them made an announcement to the crowd to support the lemonade stand.
That's when business really picked up -- and two inspectors came back, Fife said. Julie started crying, while her mother packed up and others confronted the inspectors. "It was a very big scene," Fife said.
Technically, any lemonade stand -- even one on your front lawn -- must be licensed under state law, said Eric Pippert, the food-borne illness prevention program manager for the state's public health division. But county inspectors are unlikely to go after kids selling lemonade on their front lawn unless, he conceded, their front lawn happens to be on Alberta Street during Last Thursday.
"When you go to a public event and set up shop, you're suddenly engaging in commerce," he said. "The fact that you're small-scale I don't think is relevant."
Whew. A public health catastrophe narrowly averted. Good job, bureaucrats. This bust should appear on the television program Cops any week now. You won't want to miss it.
Still...I can't help but wonder...
Is it just me, or does it seem like EVERYTHING in America is gradually becoming legislated, regulated, licensed, interfered with, regimented, inspected, shrink wrapped, tamper-proofed, banned, taxed, controlled, videotaped, and bureaucratized into submission ? How did we let this happen here in the alleged land of the free ? Of what are we so afraid ? 7-year olds running lemonade stands ? Have we lost our flipping minds ?
Or maybe I just need to go to the Ministry Of Truth for a little "re-education." I'll have to ask Big Brother.