Stuff happens” was the dumbest and most unfortunate thing Jeb! Bush said Friday in reaction to the mass shooting at an Oregon community college one day earlier, but his fumbling attempt to clean up that mess was nearly as rife with dumbitude and non-fortune.

After challenging a reporter to tell him “what I said wrong,” The New York Times reports, Bush clarified that he meant “Things happen all the time. Things. Is that better?”

Not really, but that didn’t stop him from going into detail about what he meant by “Look, stuff happens. There’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

“A child drowned in a pool and the impulse is to pass a law that puts fencing around pools,” he said, “Well it may not change it. Or you have a car accident and the impulse is to pass a law that deals with that unique event. And the cumulative effect of this is, in some cases, you don’t solve the problem by passing the law, and you’re imposing on large numbers of people burdens that make it harder for our economy to grow, make it harder to protect liberty.”

A liberty-eroding, people-burdening law about pool fences is an oddly specific example. I wonder if any state has ever actually passed such a—

After the House voted 109-8 for the bill on Friday, Preston met Gov. Jeb Bush, who committed to signing a bill that requires new pool owners to pick a way to keep unsupervised children out of the water.


That’s the Sun-Sentinel’s Tallahassee bureau, reporting in May 2000 on a law requiring pool fences, named after a child—Preston de Ibern—who nearly drowned. Florida’s Preston de Ibern/McKenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act was pushed for three years by then-state rep. (and current Democratic National Committee chair) Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and finally signed by Gov. Jeb! despite its inherent imposition of burdens on large numbers of people.

Stuff happens. Also things. All the time.

[h/t Farhad Manjoo, Photo: AP Images]