Seaton: How Stupid Laws Get Made In Real Time

The intended Friday Funny was originally written last week, and I may still bring it to you in the future, if my mean-ass editor allows. However, a recent news story prompted me at the last minute to write something from scratch for this week. I wish I could say this wasn’t a true story. It is, unfortunately, and it’s the real life tale of how a group of potential Darwin Award nominees might get pro wrestling banned in Indiana outright.

About twenty years ago, a guy going by the name of “Ian Rotten” ran a promotion in Kentucky and Indiana called “IWA Mid-south.” Rotten, a former “deathmatch” competitor, ran extremely bloody spectacles that essentially amounted to consensual assault with deadly weapons. Wrestlers would bloody each other with items ranging from staple guns and barbed wire to thumbtacks and fluorescent light tubes.

Police actually investigated whether the violence at IWA Mid-south shows was “scripted” or if people were being severely beaten against their will. Though Rotten would blame “petty local politics” and claim participants were “acting,” Kentucky’s legislature would introduce new laws so restrictive even World Wrestling Entertainment wouldn’t consider running in Kentucky until lawmakers repealed a few regulations in 2016. All this was due to Rotten’s antics in Kentucky, whether he’ll take the blame or not.

Fast forward to the present day and it’s easy to find out what happens when shady pro wrestling promoters get booted from towns for unsafe or unseemly events. Like the carny in a certain mobile phone company commercial says, when something bad happens, you move to the next town. In this case, the town would be New Albany, Indiana, right across the river from Rotten’s old stomping grounds of Louisville, Kentucky.

A company called “Pro Wrestling Trainwreck” ran a show the night of June 23 in New Albany, Indiana. I am not making this up. The show organizer, a guy named “John Glenn” who is the son of Ian Rotten, named this show “Welcome to the Wreck Room.” Again, I am not making any of this up. I was unable to find footage of the specific show, but the following YouTube video should give you a good idea of what this train wreck was like. The video is quite graphic in its violence.

Apparently so much blood spilled during this event that the Floyd County, Indiana Health Department “highly encouraged” anyone who attended the event to get tested immediately for HIV and Hepatitis C. Glenn attempted to ease community fears by telling fans through a Facebook post his wrestlers were regularly tested before performances and that while the show might have scared some people, all his performers were “clean.”

That didn’t stop a number of New Albany residents from demanding stricter regulation on wrestling events, including the father of one injured participant. The City Council recently weighed an ordinance banning “extreme wrestling,” and some community members wouldn’t mind an outright ban on pro wrestling in New Albany altogether.

My mean-ass editor recently said something that sums up this entire New Albany debacle quite nicely:

Bad facts make bad cases, and bad cases make bad law.

I’d add in this situation when a group of jackasses decide to do something stupid, they’re inviting local and state legislatures to make bad laws on subjects about which they know nothing. And that’s how you get more insane legislation that will eventually make it a felony to get a nosebleed as a cut man during a licensed boxing match.

Which I’m sure is a regulation in some state’s boxing and wrestling commission, but that’s a story for another Friday.

23 thoughts on “Seaton: How Stupid Laws Get Made In Real Time

  1. Guitardave

    “the father of one injured participant”
    I can hear it now….’by god there should be a LAW!….there’s no reason my brain-dead violent idiot son should have to take more than three staples in the forehead per match!…[email protected]#%&#$
    Talk about the fruit not falling too far from the tree…

    1. CLS

      Funny thing is the kid’s dad is an EMT who’s allegedly had to respond to several events of this nature and deal with injuries sustained by participants. I had links to all of this stuff that apparently didn’t make it through the final edit, but apparently the kid’s trip to the ER was what sparked the Health Department Advisory.

      And I’m not going to go out there and critique someone else’s parenting, but why in the name of all that’s good and holy would you let your son “dive headfirst into a shopping cart of light bulbs” if you’d had experience treating injuries of morons who tried the same stunts?

      1. Frank

        EMS is the modern-day Darwin Prevention Society: We Keep Evolution From Happening.

        Sadly, some of our own also do stupid things.

        1. CLS

          In fairness to the father, it seems his frustration was that no medical attention was paid to his son beyond providing him a towel to sop up the blood. The kid’s mother took the kid to the ER to get medical treatment at that point.

    1. Onlymom

      They used to say a fool was born every minute. Today based on the state of politics in america as well ad the woke and metoo….. I’d say its more like one every second.

      1. CLS

        Apparently a whole slew of fools were packed into a building in New Albany on the 23rd trying to cleanse the gene pool.

    2. CLS

      I dug a bit and found the ticket price was $10 per person. So “good money” is kind of a malleable term in this scenario.

    3. Fubar

      People have been paying to attend train wrecks for a long time. In 1896 a few paying spectators were killed when the engines’ boilers exploded.

        1. CLS

          And just like the spectator deaths in both mentioned events, it’s a fear of mine a paying fan will wind up hospitalized after an errant light tube shot to the face or a board with nails embedded in it goes flying into the crowd.

          These idiots are paying for the chance to get killed in a condemned pool hall.

  2. Hunting Guy

    George Carlin.

    “Think about how stupid the average person is. And then realize that half of ’em are stupider than that.”

  3. CLS

    Here’s the unofficial update to all of this craziness.

    According to the administrator of Pro Wrestling Trainwreck’s Facebook page, the group’s been forced to cancel all of their July shows due to “issues involving [their] jobs, [their] children and family” stemming from “the unverified information the Floyd County Health Department received, the false health warning they issued and the negligence in how this recent situation was handled.”

    I seriously doubt it’ll hurt their bottom line since they’ve been selling Blu-Ray copies of the show for $15 since Wednesday.

  4. Stephen J.

    This may sound snarky but it’s a sincere question: What exactly is a “bad fact”, as the quoted saying means it? I’d always thought if something was proven to be a fact, that was it; facts wuz facts, to paraphrase Ellis Parker Butler.

    1. SHG

      Since it’s a quote of me, I’ll take a stab at explaining. Laws are directed toward facts patters within a normal paradigm, usual human behavior, but sometimes people manage to get themselves into bizarre situations, behave in ways no one anticipated, and still their conduct causes harm or damage. So, we turn to the law to determine liability or culpability, but because the conduct is so weird and unanticipated, it doesn’t fit neatly into existing statutes or caselaw and requires some gymnastics to figure out how to make odd facts fit into the existing legal paradigm. That’s “bad facts.”

      1. CLS

        Thanks for the hot tag, SHG.

        Applying his explanation to the above discussed scenario, Indiana hasn’t really regulated pro wrestling since the 1950s, since legislatures knew arguably there was a central governing body in the National Wrestling Alliance that would enforce rules and govern the conduct of participants. Usually the minimum regulation you’d get from the local or state level were taxes paid to the “Boxing and Wrestling Commission” for a member in attendance.

        This allows a group like Pro Wrestling Trainwreck to come in and present what they’re doing as “deathmatch wrestling,” and when you get unlicensed promoters running shows in a building without a permit for those activities, and the previous activities amount to self-destructive behavior like stapling dollar bills to someone’s forehead, people start screaming “Something must be done!”

        The local and state legislatures then proceed to flip and tumble their way into fitting this conduct into a category of impermissible behavior to satisfy their constituency, so something is done.

        As an unintended consequence, multi-million dollar businesses like WWE quietly stay the hell away from your state because they don’t want a massive fine over a nose bleed.

  5. Richard Kopf

    CLS,

    Regarding stupid laws, CNET reports that in a decision by the Ninth Circuit “Berkeley, California, is allowed to require phone retailers to warn people about radiation risks in carrying phones in pockets and bras.” See CITA v. City of Berkeley, No. 16-15141 (9th Cir., July 2, 2019).

    I can assure you that I will never stop carrying my cell phone in my bra particularly when I am engaged in a cage fight. Cold, dead hands and all.

    All the best.

    RGK

    PS Despite what the wacky Ninth Circuit said, I am pretty darn sure the Second Amendment protects the carrying of a cell phone in one’s bra. I read that somewhere.

    1. Howl

      “I can assure you that I will never stop carrying my cell phone in my bra particularly when I am engaged in a cage fight.”

      I’d pay 10 bucks to see that!

    2. CLS

      Your Honor, historical evidence tends to suggest cell phones are highly effective weapons in caged combat. Granted, the phones in question were the gigantic ones with hard antennae, but effective nonetheless.

      Look to the works of one Paul E. Dangerously for proof.

      Cold, dead hands and all indeed!

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