Does the Charlotte city council have better things to do than consider a ban on window bars? Yes, yes — in theory they could make escape more difficult in the case of a fire.

But as councilman Michael Barnes noted, in some neighborhoods in Charlotte the reality of break-ins is a greater threat to safety than the possibility of a fire.

Local government really does not need to second-guess the risk assessments of local residents. In fact, government officials have no special ability to do so.