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Was Trucker Cell Phone, Texting Ban Premature?
Bob McCarty Writes ^ | 1-29-10 | Bob McCarty

Posted on 01/29/2010 11:45:24 AM PST by BobMcCartyWrites

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Only three days after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the new rules that prohibit drivers of trucks and buses from using cell phones and texting while behind the wheel, officials at the Highway Loss Data Institute released study findings that show no reductions in crashes after hand-held phone bans take effect.

Rresearchers for HLDI, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found steady claim rates compared with nearby jurisdictions without such bans when comparing insurance claims for crash damage in four U.S. jurisdictions before and after such bans, according to this news release.

HLDI researchers calculated monthly collision claims per 100 insured vehicle years (a vehicle year is 1 car insured for 1 year, 2 insured for 6 months each, etc.) for vehicles up to 3 years old during the months immediately before and after hand-held phone use was banned while driving in New York (November 2001), the District of Columbia (July 2004), Connecticut (Oct. 2005), and California (July 2008). Comparable data were collected for nearby jurisdictions without such bans. This method controlled for possible changes in collision claim rates unrelated to the bans — changes in the number of miles driven due to the economy, seasonal changes in driving patterns, etc.

Month-to-month fluctuations in rates of collision claims in jurisdictions with bans didn't change from before to after the laws were enacted. Nor did the patterns change in comparison with trends in jurisdictions that didn't have such laws.

"The laws aren't reducing crashes, even though we know that such laws have reduced hand-held phone use, and several studies have established that phoning while driving increases crash risk," said Adrian Lund, president of both IIHS and HLDI. For example, an IIHS study that relies on driver phone records found a 4-fold increase in the risk of injury crashes.

1 posted on 01/29/2010 11:45:24 AM PST by BobMcCartyWrites
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To: BobMcCartyWrites

People don’t stop doing something because it’s illegal. What making it illegal does is add potential penalties when they get in an accident, which for people holding truckers and bus licenses can be a big deal, it makes them more likely to get those licenses revoked. It’s that second accident that gets prevented.


2 posted on 01/29/2010 11:48:39 AM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: discostu

Really. I was going to say the exact same thing. This summer on our annual trek from S. FL to NM (yes, a very long drive) we saw a trucker nearly run into an overpass as he overcorrected after drifting into the left lane. Thankfully he managed to keep the truck and trailer on the road and not hit anything or anyone (fortunately the interstate wasn’t as packed as it sometimes is). And yes, when we passed him we could see that he was STILL doing something with his cell phone, likely texting. It’s hard for me to fathom exactly how anyone can be that stupid, but driving around here in town, I see many people texting and driving. Who would have thought anyone would even have to be told that’s a stupid thing to do?


3 posted on 01/29/2010 11:57:18 AM PST by brytlea (Jesus loves me, this I know.)
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To: discostu
What making it illegal does is allow our political masters to punish people that are harming no one just because they can.

Oh, and add another source of revenue from all the tickets that troopers will be writing.

4 posted on 01/29/2010 12:00:23 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: discostu

You mean politicians actually passed a thoroughly meaningless law just to make themselves look good, caring and strong?? Well that’s just TOO hard to believe!


5 posted on 01/29/2010 12:02:00 PM PST by Oldpuppymax
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To: BobMcCartyWrites

Outlaw phones that are capable of texting, problem solved!

Texting is the stupidest thing i’ve ever heard of anyway!


6 posted on 01/29/2010 12:03:56 PM PST by dalereed
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To: brytlea

People have always done stupid things while driving. Before cellphones were invented I saw somebody shaving (electric thankfully, wouldn’t be surprised to see somebody blading it though). People eat, read, apply make-up all kinds of crazy stuff. I think it’s the amount of time we spend behind the wheel (which of course goes even more so for truckers), our cars are like second homes to us, we’re comfortable there, we do what we want when we’re comfortable. It’s very easy to forget we’re in charge of a hurling death machine.


7 posted on 01/29/2010 12:04:09 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: Oldpuppymax

It’s not meaningless. Texting while driving IS dangerous and SHOULD be banned. But people don’t think they way this article wants them to, when was the last time you were going to do something then remembered it was illegal so you didn’t? Probably never. If people worked like that we wouldn’t need jails, because once a law got passed it would never be broken. In reality with real humans laws exist to punish those that break them, to correct behavior, not prevent it.


8 posted on 01/29/2010 12:07:38 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: Knitebane

Texting while driving is not harmless, it’s a big cause of accidents.


9 posted on 01/29/2010 12:08:31 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: discostu

Yes, people do many stupid things behind the wheel. However, in the past couple of years I have noticed a LARGE increase here in totally crazy driving, people nearly drifting into the side of my car, people driving 15 miles below the speed limit, people weaving from lane to lane, etc. Almost without fail, they are doing something with their cell phone. There is something about it that takes attention away from what they are doing in a way that other things usually don’t.


10 posted on 01/29/2010 12:20:28 PM PST by brytlea (Jesus loves me, this I know.)
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To: Knitebane

Just stop texting while driving and you will be ok! ;)


11 posted on 01/29/2010 12:22:13 PM PST by brytlea (Jesus loves me, this I know.)
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To: BobMcCartyWrites

Reminds me of when I was a kid and me and my brother were riding bicycles down a local street lined with occasional parked cars. My brother had a hand-held electronic game (LED football, long before Gameboys or iPhones) and the moron decided that he could play the game while riding his bike.

All went according to his multi-tasking plan - until his inattentive cycling ran into the back end of a parked car.

He learned his lesson that day about inattentive driving, but unfortunately when people do this sort of thing while driving a motor vehicle they more often than not hurt or kill others, not just themselves.

We can’t let ourselves be ruled by a “nanny state” that criminalizes every “boneheaded” activity like this, but we as a civilization need to shame those who act irresponsibly, not just for being stupid, but for emboldening wouldbe tyrants to take away our rights and personal choices one by one.


12 posted on 01/29/2010 12:26:50 PM PST by anymouse (God didn't write this sitcom we call life, he's just the critic.)
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To: brytlea

Most shrinks think it’s the conversation, as social animals we tend to focus strongly on our interactions with others. And a person on the other end of a phone call can’t see that you’re drifting all over the place the way a passenger can and bring your attention back to where it belongs.


13 posted on 01/29/2010 12:30:58 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: discostu
Texting while driving is not harmless, it’s a big cause of accidents.

So you are saying that any time that someone texts while driving that they always have an accident?

Or are you saying that since sometimes people are distracted by texting while driving that we have to stop all people from texting while driving.

And if we have to make it illegal for people that do things that distract them while driving, what other things do you think should be illegal while driving? Talking, singing along to the radio, eating a cheeseburger?

Please enlighten us as to how far you think the nanny state should be involved in any activity that might possibly result in harm to others.

14 posted on 01/29/2010 12:32:09 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: brytlea

Just stop driving and you will be ok!


15 posted on 01/29/2010 12:32:51 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: discostu

I also read something not long ago (not related to cell phones, but I thought the info pertinent) having to do with how we communicate. It said that when we are talking we get about 50% of our information from body language. If that is the case, I suspect we have to concentrate a little harder if we are talking to someone we cannot see. I think that bears researching. Perhaps I can get a grant... ;)


16 posted on 01/29/2010 12:33:32 PM PST by brytlea (Jesus loves me, this I know.)
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To: discostu
Most shrinks think it’s the conversation, as social animals we tend to focus strongly on our interactions with others. And a person on the other end of a phone call can’t see that you’re drifting all over the place the way a passenger can and bring your attention back to where it belongs.

Then why is talking on a cell phone okay as long as you are using a headset? The same conditions apply.

17 posted on 01/29/2010 12:34:00 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Knitebane

Do you feel better now?


18 posted on 01/29/2010 12:35:31 PM PST by brytlea (Jesus loves me, this I know.)
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To: BobMcCartyWrites

I wonder when they are going to ban the use of those laptops that cops are always fiddling with while they drive...


19 posted on 01/29/2010 12:35:42 PM PST by TankerKC (John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt should have used LifeLock.)
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To: brytlea

Nope


20 posted on 01/29/2010 12:37:13 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Knitebane

It shouldn’t be. But somebody decided the problem was the hand off the wheel not the brain off the task.


21 posted on 01/29/2010 12:38:11 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: anymouse

Driving comes with rules. I know there are those (not you) who seem to think that any rule is an unconstitutional infringement of their rights, but most of us know there are things that you just shouldn’t be allowed to do and drive, like drinking and texting. The phrase Nannystate is even losing it’s sting when people use it over every thing.


22 posted on 01/29/2010 12:39:36 PM PST by brytlea (Jesus loves me, this I know.)
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To: Knitebane

What I’m saying is that any time someone texts while driving they are dramatically increasing the likelihood of creating an accident, kind of like drinking and driving. It’s a very simple concept, if you take your eyes, and a hand, and your brain, off the task at hand you are presenting a threat.


23 posted on 01/29/2010 12:39:45 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: Knitebane

I’m sorry.


24 posted on 01/29/2010 12:41:15 PM PST by brytlea (Jesus loves me, this I know.)
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To: BobMcCartyWrites

Oh common, it’s just the latest trendy legislative toy. Yay... Stupid vapid voters just want to be assured that officials are “doing something”. So hurray, they are doing something. Once again Washington is going to ride in the passenger seat and coach driving safety. It’s for the children, it’s trendy, and gosh darn it people like it!


25 posted on 01/29/2010 12:42:57 PM PST by DariusBane (Even the Rocks shall cry out "Hobamma to the Highest")
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To: dalereed

“Outlaw phones capable of texting”.

A strong, statist point of view. Thank God the government is empowered by people like you to protect them from their own stupidity... Sarcasm toggle ON

So when they come for your guns, or your coffee, or fat filled donuts, or your Bible, you’ve already set the precedent that the government can intervene. So what will your defense be then?


26 posted on 01/29/2010 12:46:09 PM PST by DariusBane (Even the Rocks shall cry out "Hobamma to the Highest")
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To: discostu
What I’m saying is that any time someone texts while driving they are dramatically increasing the likelihood of creating an accident, kind of like drinking and driving.

So what other distractions do you think should be eliminated? Radios? GPS? Billboards?

It’s a very simple concept, if you take your eyes, and a hand, and your brain, off the task at hand you are presenting a threat.

And another concept is that not everyone is the same. Some people can handle distractions better than others. The zero-tolerance policy of banning something because some people can't do it well is just another intrusion of the government into places that it has no business and can't really control anyway.

How about this? How about if a person is in a wreck and damages someone else's property that their penalty is triple that of a normal accident if it can be proved that they were texting. And if someone is injured or killed that the sentence be tripled.

That punishes the person that actually did something wrong rather than attempting to punish every single person whether anyone was harmed or not.

27 posted on 01/29/2010 12:48:33 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Knitebane

It’s about the numbers. The fact is we’re seeing more accidents, and more of the accidents involve people screwing around with a cellphone and it was time to do something about it. These people are presenting a clear and present danger. Kind of like when we decided to make the drunk driving laws useful, it had been too big a problem for too long killing too many people that weren’t drinking and it was time to do something.

Yes not everybody is the same. But laws can’t take that into account. We can’t put everybody through a battery of psychological tests and figure out how fast, drunk and distracted the person can drive before they become a problem. This isn’t the NBA, we get one set of law books.

Because of how driving laws get enforced the system really is close to what you outlined. The fact is if you aren’t at least weaving around cops aren’t going to be able to tell you’re texting, if you can talk on your cell and maintain control you’ll never get busted under these laws. It’s the people who draw attention to themselves who get caught by all the driving laws.


28 posted on 01/29/2010 12:54:24 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: Knitebane
Then why is talking on a cell phone okay as long as you are using a headset? The same conditions apply.

For that matter, passengers in the car conversing with the driver would raise the same concerns.

29 posted on 01/29/2010 1:09:15 PM PST by Charles Martel ("Endeavor to persevere...")
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To: discostu
Kind of like when we decided to make the drunk driving laws useful, it had been too big a problem for too long killing too many people that weren’t drinking and it was time to do something.

I'm glad you brought this up. Mother's Against Drunk Driving originally started out as a group that was in favor of passing laws against drunk driving. They claimed that so many people were dying that somebody HAD TO DO SOMETHING.

And so we got DUI laws that specified that at a certain Blood Alcohol Content level that a person was drunk and then criminal penalties would entail.

But then something else started to happen. Once they got all of the states to have laws that banned drunk driving and specify a certain BAC they didn't quit. They started pushing for lower and lower BAC level to the point where they were asking to have people jailed for BAC levels that were so low that no impairment could exist.

They ceased being about public safety and became an anti-alcohol organization and due to being in the middle of the DUI battle for years, they had a lot of sway in the political process. In many states they got their lower BAC levels.

The fact is if you aren’t at least weaving around cops aren’t going to be able to tell you’re texting, if you can talk on your cell and maintain control you’ll never get busted under these laws.

And here is the point I was making. It's possible to text and drive or talk on a cell and drive and not hurt anyone. So the laws banning texting and talking on cell phones aren't about public safety, they are about control.

And I'll chime in with what another posted alluded to:

If talking on a device while driving is dangerous and needs to be banned, when do two-way radios get pulled from police cars?

30 posted on 01/29/2010 1:10:28 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: discostu

weaving around falls under failure to control a vehicle - you don’t need the texting laws.


31 posted on 01/29/2010 1:11:13 PM PST by Pikachu_Dad
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To: Pikachu_Dad

Failure to control is a hard one to push if you don’t actually run into something. But failure to control that leads to them pulling you over to find you texting and or drunk, that’s an easy one to win.


32 posted on 01/29/2010 1:12:28 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: Knitebane

That’s the problem with political action groups, nobody ever declares victory and disbands. But that doesn’t change the fact that drunk driving was a serious problem in the 70s that cops just weren’t doing much of anything about. Most states had drunk driving laws that couldn’t even manage a slap on the wrist unless you actually killed somebody, there was no deterrent and less enforcement. There was a real nod and wink mentality towards it, on some levels it seemed like we thought it was cool. Part of the increased enforcement was changing that basic mentality, now even people that do drink and drive on some level know they shouldn’t, it’s no longer considered a proof of manhood to see how drunk you can get and still make it home alive.

No they’re about public safety. People who present a threat while doing these things will get in trouble, people who don’t won’t. Just like with drunk driving, if you can knock down a fifth of Jack and somehow keep it together to drive you won’t get busted for drunk driving, if you sip a rum and coke and can’t keep it between the lines you will get busted.

Cops get extra training in handling vehicles and their devices. And even they are encouraged to pull over and have the vehicle stopped before playing with their toys when possible. So sorry that example just plain don’t fly.


33 posted on 01/29/2010 1:19:31 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: discostu
Failure to control is a hard one to push if you don’t actually run into something.

Nonsense. Almost every cop car on the road has a dash-mounted video camera.

We already have a law that states that you have to maintain control of your vehicle. If a cop sees you weaving around he flips on the camera and records it.

The judge sees the recording and you get a fine.

Even easier to win. You don't have to worry about pulling the guy over to find out that he doesn't have a phone in his hand. What do you do, search the car?

34 posted on 01/29/2010 1:20:50 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: discostu
Cops get extra training in handling vehicles and their devices.

Ah, that old chestnut. Sorry, that's not going to fly anymore than the argument that since cops get special firearms training that ONLY THEY can safely handle firearms.

Anyone who has been at a shooting range with cops knows that that is garbage. I'm a much better shot than the vast majority of cops that come to the range.

So tell me this: If I get some special training in operating text and voice devices while driving do I get to be exempt too?

35 posted on 01/29/2010 1:24:34 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: discostu
Cops get extra training in handling vehicles and their devices.

Ah, that old chestnut. Sorry, that's not going to fly anymore than the argument that since cops get special firearms training that ONLY THEY can safely handle firearms.

Anyone who has been at a shooting range with cops knows that that is garbage. I'm a much better shot than the vast majority of cops that come to the range.

So tell me this: If I get some special training in operating text and voice devices while driving do I get to be exempt too?

36 posted on 01/29/2010 1:25:49 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: All

Sorry about the double post. I got a proxy error so I resubmitted.


37 posted on 01/29/2010 1:28:58 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Knitebane

I never said anything about cops being the only people able to handle it. Try to stick with what’s actually said.


38 posted on 01/29/2010 1:29:03 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: discostu
I never said anything about cops being the only people able to handle it. Try to stick with what’s actually said.

How about admitting that just passing a law against something isn't going to solve the problem, is inherently invasive and probably will grow into something worse?

How about we just pass laws that require drivers education programs to provide your magical special training to all drivers before they can get a license?

39 posted on 01/29/2010 1:31:49 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Knitebane

Did you actually read the post you replied to? Way back in post #2 I said that.


40 posted on 01/29/2010 1:33:54 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: discostu
Did you actually read the post you replied to? Way back in post #2 I said that.

And yet you are still in favor of a law that won't actually do anything?

41 posted on 01/29/2010 1:37:25 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Knitebane

And here you go again making up things that weren’t said. There’s a large gap between not doing anything and solving the problem. Stiffer drunk driving laws did solve the problem, but they did greatly reduce it. Eventually these laws will probably reduce the problem too. It IS a problem, the vast majority of people just plain can’t handle their can and cell phone at the same time, and these people are killing others, and it’s time to at least slow it down. We can’t stop it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doing anything.


42 posted on 01/29/2010 1:42:12 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: Oldpuppymax

Just a minute. I’m much more alert when I make calls on my cell. We have a law against holding the phone and I have increased my looking out for the highway patrol.


43 posted on 01/29/2010 1:44:58 PM PST by votemout
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To: dalereed
Texting is the stupidest thing i’ve ever heard of anyway!

Yeah, and those motorized cars, TV's and computers will never amount to nothing either.

44 posted on 01/29/2010 1:47:09 PM PST by Eaker (Where I'm from, "Gang Colors" is Realtree and Mossy Oak. You know what I'm saying hoss. Rule.308.)
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To: discostu
ventually these laws will probably reduce the problem too. It IS a problem, the vast majority of people just plain can’t handle their can and cell phone at the same time, and these people are killing others, and it’s time to at least slow it down. We can’t stop it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not doing anything.

So you're in favor of a law that will do something but not entirely solve the problem and if the law is intrusive and statist, that's ok.

And apparently you think that special training makes it okay for certain people to be immune from the law but not for mandating that training for everyone instead of having an overly intrusive and statist law that punishes everyone.

Don't want to get accused of putting words in your mouth again, so let me know what part is not accurate.

45 posted on 01/29/2010 2:05:16 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Knitebane

Let’s play the game your way, since you enjoy putting words in people’s mouth so much (which you did, again, with this post).

So you think that if a law can’t 100% completely solve a problem, thoroughly irradiating the behavior in question, we shouldn’t make it? You’re in favor of eliminating all laws that ever failed to entirely solve a problem?

Let me know if you actually want to discuss what’s actually being said. So far for the last half dozen post all you’ve done is make stupid crap up (much like I did above) and pretend that’s what I’m saying.


46 posted on 01/29/2010 2:11:15 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: discostu
So you think that if a law can’t 100% completely solve a problem, thoroughly irradiating the behavior in question, we shouldn’t make it? You’re in favor of eliminating all laws that ever failed to entirely solve a problem?

Mostly. Rather than pass a law that doesn't work, how about we find something that does work and then do that instead? Especially when the law that doesn't work takes rights away from people who are not harming anyone.

The reality is that most of these laws that "don't 100% completely solve the problem" were never intended to solve the problem at all. Rather they were written by someone who saw either a way for government to further intrude into the lives of people or they saw a way for the government to gain more revenue.

And then they sold those laws to people by saying, "It's a first step. Yes, some people will have to give up a few rights but that's the cost when you are wrapping people up in a legal blanky so they will feel safe."

The only just duty that a government has is to protect the rights of it's citizens. If you have to take some rights away to ensure safety, you've failed.

You can can have safety. Or you can can have freedom. Don't count on having both.

Me, I would rather have freedom. How about you?

47 posted on 01/29/2010 2:19:54 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Knitebane

It can’t work that way. If you get rid of laws that don’t eliminate the problem you might as well burn the law book. The second somebody robs a bank they just proved that the bank robbery laws don’t work (bank robbery not eliminated) so out they go. Oops a woman got raped, so much for those laws. Identify theft, fraud, bribery, you name it.

Again it goes back to what I said in post number 2, people don’t stop doing something because it’s illegal. How you want laws to work isn’t how people work. Laws don’t prevent, they PUNISH.


48 posted on 01/29/2010 2:24:45 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: discostu
How you want laws to work isn’t how people work. Laws don’t prevent, they PUNISH.

So the guy zipping down the road, texting his wife, obeying all other traffic laws and harming no one, gets punished because a cop sees him and pulls him over.

And this is okay with you? A person who has harmed no one gets punished?

49 posted on 01/31/2010 8:01:10 PM PST by Knitebane (Happily Microsoft free since 1999.)
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To: Knitebane

If he’s obeying all the other traffic laws and harming no one he won’t get caught. We already went over this.


50 posted on 01/31/2010 8:05:14 PM PST by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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