Tim O'Reilly writes today about how Chemistry sets no longer have chemicals, how people breaking no laws are having their houses overrun by the police, and how in the end, our love of "safety" will take the fun out of everything, and make us dumb, too. It's a must read.
Several months ago, I saw a review of one of the books Tim talks about, Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments, by Robert Bruce Thompson. It looked interesting, so I posted a note about it to our local homeschooling web site. The responses I got were really frightening. One parent said she'd be afraid to order chemicals after an area teen had gotten arrested for having a lab in his basement, and others agreed you should be careful.
Frankly, I found the whole discussion pretty depressing. What was it Franklin said... They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. What could be more essential than the right to learn how the world works?