Kevin Shaw: To Act or Be Acted Upon Is Entirely Up To You


I’m convinced that there are two base philosophies that at their respective core, are the fundamental groundwork for every political, religious and personal theorem that people can have. Either life is unfair or life is supposed to be fair. Personally, I lean towards the prior as I was not born with the natural ability to sing, run particularly fast or without a seething, almost irrational distaste for math. That such a thing as childhood cancer even exists should be evidence enough to convince you that life is an uncaring procession of events, like a winding river. The moving water can be a rushing torrent or a gentle current, it doesn’t care if you can’t swim or are riding safely in a boat. All it knows is to continue flowing. So no, life itself is not fair, but I will submit, is just.

Being just is something else entirely. To be just is defined as being equitable or better yet, balanced. Newton’s Third Law of Motion (“for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”) is duly applicable here. While life (ie. “the universe”) is not fair – as it is without bias or favoritism – it is balanced. This is what Hindus defined as the spiritual principal of karma. Centuries of physics, astronomy and experimentation have proven that all of life, from the routes of electrons circling a cluster of neutrons and protons, to the orbits of planets constituting our solar system (within an endless array of massive universes), all abides by the laws of balance. Any object that is acted upon by an external force will indeed result in a response. Unfortunately, the “equal and opposite reaction” to our “force” is the consequence we are often not willing to accept.

Earlier this week, a notice was issued to all Lake Havasu City, Arizona residents that an emergency meeting was to be held to thwart a proposal by the US Fish and Wildlife Department to restrict all motorized boating in the area to a maximum of 30 miles per hour, stretching from Mesquite Bay to Topock. The massive “No Wake Zone” would drive out a large portion of recreational boaters, and effectively cripple the desert town’s waterborne economy. Citing claims of “emotional distress and concern” that the fast-moving watercraft and boats were a threat to more environmentally-friendly kayaks and paddle boarders, the measure was contested by over 800 residents who rallied in person, joined by Lake Havasu City Mayor Mark Nexsen as well as Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, representatives from Sen. John McCain’s office, and Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson.

The USFG requested that a formal petition with 1,000 signatures were necessary to halt the motion, and were promptly produced during the meeting, effectively freezing any forward momentum. Yet, this case is not closed, and larger fissures are appearing in the dam. Only two months ago, a weaponized Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a regulation to prohibit the conversion of vehicles “originally designed for on-road use into race cars.” The regulation would also make the sale of certain aftermarket performance products for use on such vehicles illegal. The proposed regulation was buried within a completely unrelated proposed regulation (“Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2”), and would effectively dismantle the hot rod and performance automobile industries.


No, this is not a joke. All of you with classic cars that have been modified with performance parts, aftermarket wheels and tires, and even fuel-saving ignition and electronic fuel injection systems, would be in violation. Those with lifted trucks or Jeeps, you’re also in violation. Even you knuckleheads trying make your front wheel drive Hondas and Toyotas chirp second gear would be in violation of a Federal law. Thankfully, the EPA had no idea that it was trying to backdoor a $56 billion-dollar-a-year industry, and several million signatures flooded the White House’s webpage to terminate the effort. And as it was defeated, the EPA responded literally with, “we’ll find another way to accomplish this.” And no, I am not kidding you.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Bureau of Land Management’s recent attempts to close access to favorite Southwestern sand dune locations Ocotillo Wells and additional portions of Glamis. As it stands, unelected bureaucratic entities such as these are actively encroaching upon individual’s rights to own and operate motorized vehicles in a manner that suits their personal interests, be it a personal watercraft, powerboat, quad, ATV, sand rail or modified car. Many such efforts are disguised as being for environmental reasons, but the true reason lies beneath: control. There are persons pushing for ultimate control and will pursue said power via any forcible means at their disposal. And that is why it is incumbent upon us – the acted upon – to push back.

And no, now is not the time to cry foul and bemoan, “That’s not fair!” Because, life is unequivocally unfair. Some animals are born with more teeth, sharper claws, and faster legs than others, and it has been since the Chicxulub crater cooled. If you want to fight being acted upon then you must act accordingly by responding in kind. The 800-plus persons who filled the Lake Havasu Aquatic Center to fight against the United States Fish and Wildlife Department is a good start. Properly vetting, campaigning and electing like-minded persons (or running yourself) for public office is next. We’re two generations removed from “The Greatest Generation,” and have lived in the comfort that “somebody will take care of it” for too long.

Go Get Wet,

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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