Lesson #222: Be Sure to Pack Your Rifle

On the island of Spitsbergen, in the Svalbard Islands (property of Norway), if you leave the main town of Longyearbyen, you are required by law to carry a rifle because of the threat of polar bears. However, because the polar bears are protected, it is against the law to harm them except to ensure personal safety.*

This actually reminds me of a news report I heard on World Service years ago, when I first moved to a southern state and was working an evening shift where I’d get off work at midnight. They were talking about how the smoking rate somewhere in northern Finland (I think? It was somewhere in Scandinavia above the arctic circle) had dropped significantly after the country passed its indoor smoking ban because it was so cold outside and there was a risk of contact with polar bears. The story really entertained me because it just seemed so preposterous.

*That information is here. And here.

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