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Click it or ticket
townhall ^ | 5/24/06 | Walter WIlliams

Posted on 05/31/2006 9:42:50 AM PDT by from occupied ga

Virginia's secretary of transportation sent out a letter announcing the state's annual "Click It or Ticket" campaign May 22 through June 4. I responded to the secretary of transportation with my own letter that in part reads:

"Mr. Secretary: This is an example of the disgusting abuse of state power. Each of us owns himself, and it follows that we should have the liberty to take risks with our own lives but not that of others. That means it's a legitimate use of state power to mandate that cars have working brakes because if my car has poorly functioning brakes, I risk the lives of others and I have no right to do so. If I don't wear a seatbelt I risk my own life, which is well within my rights. As to your statement 'Lack of safety belt use is a growing public health issue that . . . also costs us all billions of dollars every year,' that's not a problem of liberty. It's a problem of socialism. No human should be coerced by the state to bear the medical expense, or any other expense, for his fellow man. In other words, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another is morally offensive."

My letter went on to tell the secretary that I personally wear a seatbelt each time I drive; it's a good idea. However, because something is a good idea doesn't necessarily make a case for state compulsion. The justifications used for "Click It or Ticket" easily provide the template and soften us up for other forms of government control over our lives.

For example, my weekly exercise routine consists of three days' weight training and three days' aerobic training. I think it's a good idea. Like seatbelt use, regular exercise extends lives and reduces health care costs. Here's my question to government officials and others who sanction the "Click It or Ticket" campaign: Should the government mandate daily exercise for the same reasons they cite to support mandatory seatbelt use, namely, that to do so would save lives and save billions of health care dollars?

If we accept the notion that government ought to protect us from ourselves, we're on a steep slippery slope. Obesity is a major contributor to hypertension, coronary disease and diabetes, and leads not only to many premature deaths but billions of dollars in health care costs. Should government enforce, depending on a person's height, sex and age, a daily 1,400 to 2,000-calorie intake limit? There's absolutely no dietary reason to add salt to our meals. High salt consumption can lead to high blood pressure, which can then lead to stroke, heart attack, osteoporosis and asthma. Should government outlaw adding salt to meals? While you might think that these government mandates would never happen, be advised that there are busybody groups currently pushing for government mandates on how much and what we can eat.

Government officials, if given power to control us, soon become zealots. Last year, Maryland state troopers were equipped with night vision goggles, similar to those used by our servicemen in Iraq, to catch night riders not wearing seatbelts. Maryland state troopers boasted that they bagged 44 drivers traveling unbuckled under the cover of darkness.

Philosopher John Stuart Mill, in his treatise "On Liberty," said it best:  "That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise."

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government
KEYWORDS: 4a; 4thamendment; clickitorticket; donutwatch; fourthamendment; governmentabuse; govwatch; libertarians; mdm; policeabuse; seatbelt; seatbelts; walterwilliams
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Didn't see this posted already, but this past weekend saw lots of "law enforcement" cracking down on these beltless criminals who infest our highways. Between the stoplight cameras, speed traps and seatbelt enforcers, the police have crime all covered.

Meanwhile the Mexican invasion continues unabated with the connivance of federal state and local governments. Of course you wouldn't want the police to crack down on wetbacks. No money in it. Guess it's obvious the government by, for and of the people isn't the taxpaying middle class people whose loot powers the government.

1 posted on 05/31/2006 9:42:53 AM PDT by from occupied ga
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To: from occupied ga
I think this is all about getting federal grants.

And, yes, government at all levels has an interesting set of priorities, does it not?

2 posted on 05/31/2006 9:45:26 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: B Knotts

i think this is a great campaign...it keeps my car insurance down because my premiums go up every time a stupid person decides to drive down the road with out a seatbelt and hit another car and die. this has been around for about a year now in california and it has worked well. i have yet to get a ticket because im not stupid enough to drive without a seatbelt...its equivalent to bungee jumping without a cord...common sense people.


3 posted on 05/31/2006 9:49:42 AM PDT by chrispycsuf (our troops need our support now more than ever)
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To: from occupied ga

In VA it's a secondary offense not to wear a seatbelt.


4 posted on 05/31/2006 9:49:49 AM PDT by Perdogg
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To: from occupied ga

I couldn't agree more. The only thing that I can see that is good about seat belt laws is that we the people will be paying less for someone who injures themself in an accident and carries no insurance. But that is the only thing I can see good about them. I'm referring to adults of course, since children aren't able to make these decisions for themselves.


5 posted on 05/31/2006 9:50:08 AM PDT by Mazda3Fan
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To: Mazda3Fan

You do not have the right to drive, it is a privilege, and to keep that privilege there are rules to follow.


6 posted on 05/31/2006 9:52:08 AM PDT by dfwgator (Florida Gators - 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions)
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To: chrispycsuf

Let's compare the societal costs imposed by seatbeltless driving, and, say...illegal immigration, which, for some odd reason, government seems less eager to crack down on.


7 posted on 05/31/2006 9:52:08 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: from occupied ga

When I go to work I need to make a left turn at a traffic light that has a left turn light. There is almost no oncoming traffic but traffic going my direction is very heavy – but the light will not give me green until the cross street gets a green, which can be several minutes.

Anyway, what I do is, if there is no other car stopped there, I simply make a turn without even slowing down (assuming there are no oncoming cars and nobody in the crosswalk”. Well, the other day, a car ahead of me pulled into the lane and I thought, “nuts, I’m gonna have to wait for the light”. I was shocked when he did exactly what I do. And I thought I was such a rebel…

I don’t stop at such lights any more, unless there is a safety reason like oncoming traffic or a pedestrian. I even did it in front of a cop one day – with no ill effects whatsoever.

I do think we are seeing more traffic anarchy.


8 posted on 05/31/2006 9:53:07 AM PDT by RobRoy
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To: from occupied ga

"If I don't wear a seatbelt I risk my own life, which is well within my rights."

Who gave you the right to raise insurance rates both for automobile drivers and for healthcare costs? When you crush your body in a mangled mess, do you honestly think it doesn't affect everyone else? I wish that weren't the case and that drivers were totally responsible for their own stupidity, but that's not reality.


9 posted on 05/31/2006 9:53:51 AM PDT by Kirkwood
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To: Perdogg

"In VA it's a secondary offense not to wear a seatbelt."

heh, heh. Yes, it was everywhere else...at first. :)


10 posted on 05/31/2006 9:54:21 AM PDT by RobRoy
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To: chrispycsuf
i think this is a great campaign...it keeps my car insurance down because my premiums go up every time a stupid person decides to drive down the road with out a seatbelt and hit another car and die.


You need to reread the part in the WW article about the problem being socialism.

Your government regulators are undoubtedly responsible for the fact that you are unable to find an insurance company that offers a steep discount to drivers who agree to forgo compensation for injuries occurring if unbelted (possibly including unbelted passengers.)

You don't need a police state to avoid getting screwed on your insurance by moronic unbelted free riders.
11 posted on 05/31/2006 9:54:43 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: B Knotts

this is directed by the dept. of transportation of each state to local agencies...this is their job..not immigration. no govt stays focused on one single issue. i think this is a good example of a govt enforcing its laws. they can apply this to immigration by following those laws. by the way...the reference that was made to john stuart mill is right on...except that not buckling up leads to harm of others, by way of higher premiums, and loss of loved ones...this was the sketchiness of mill's four freedoms.


12 posted on 05/31/2006 9:55:08 AM PDT by chrispycsuf (our troops need our support now more than ever)
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To: Kirkwood

Such an argument can be made for the regulation almost any human behavior: diet, smoking, hobbies, sports, etc.


13 posted on 05/31/2006 9:55:25 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: from occupied ga
The seatbelt law was passed here in Florida with the promise that it would have to always be a 'secondary offense'. In other words, the traffic stop would have to be based on some offense other than failure to use a seatbelt.

Next time the lawmakers make a promise, remember what they did to this one.

14 posted on 05/31/2006 9:56:10 AM PDT by capt. norm (Ben Franklin: "Does thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that's the stuff life is made of")
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To: from occupied ga

When they first started ticketing for seatbelts they said they would only do it when they already had stopped a driver for another offense. Now they are going nuclear. Much like when they first started smog control on cars it was fairly reasonable with cars over a certain age being exempt and a maximum on how much you could be forced to spend. Now that program is on steroids. The incrementalism of statists is very effective and chilling.


15 posted on 05/31/2006 9:56:15 AM PDT by Honestfreedom
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To: chrispycsuf

Any law that saves money is, by definition, a good law.

</sarcasm>

Actually, I logged over half a million miles without a seat belt. How many bungee jumps would one survive without a cord?


16 posted on 05/31/2006 9:56:15 AM PDT by RobRoy
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To: chrispycsuf

how we ever lived through life before seat belts is beyond me.we even rode in the back of pickups.yes we were daredevils.


17 posted on 05/31/2006 9:56:35 AM PDT by old gringo
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To: B Knotts
And, yes, government at all levels has an interesting set of priorities, does it not?

Hmmm. They want to:

  1. disarm me
  2. increase my taxes
  3. take away my choices in health care
  4. force me to pay for illegal aliens while denying the same benefits to me
  5. drive a smaller lighter more dangerous vehicle
  6. buy gas when it's not convient for me
  7. etc
Yep their priorities aren't for my benefit. And amazingly enough there are plenty of morons on this, a supposedly conservative forum, who haven't realized that the government isn't their friend.
18 posted on 05/31/2006 9:56:43 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your most dangerous enemy is your own government)
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To: from occupied ga

19 posted on 05/31/2006 9:57:32 AM PDT by elkfersupper
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To: dfwgator
You do not have the right to drive, it is a privilege, and to keep that privilege there are rules to follow.


You quote the big government socialists nicely.

I think that we have the right to transport ourselves freely at our own expense in our free nation. Subject to user fees for the shared expense of public roads, but if those who pay the fee have the right to use them.

"Privilege" is a cute word, but it is meaningless unless you tell us the principles under which the privilege can and can not be revoked. Once you do that, you have a "right", subject to responsibilities. Just like speech and bearing arms.
20 posted on 05/31/2006 9:57:57 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: chrispycsuf
These programs, while they may arguably be done to pursue a societal good, are little more than a racket: agencies get federal grants for participating in them, and they generally get a share of ticket revenue.

Regardless, the question stands: why seatbelts, and not risky diet, lack of exercise, smoking, sport activities, hobbies, etc.?

21 posted on 05/31/2006 9:58:53 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: Kirkwood
Who gave you the right to raise insurance rates both for automobile drivers and for healthcare costs?

This is not a problem associated with liberty.

This is a problem associated with socialism.

22 posted on 05/31/2006 9:59:24 AM PDT by elkfersupper
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To: RobRoy

It would be great if insurance companies would offer discounts for seat-belt wearers. If you sign up for the discount and you get in an accident when you aren't wearing a seatbelt, you get nothing. It would be like life-insurance discounts for non-smokers...

In MA there is a secondary offense law (you can't be stopped for not wearing a seatbelt, but a fine can be added on for not wearing one if you are stopped for something else). That makes a lot of sense, eh?

NH does not have a seatbelt law for those over 12.


23 posted on 05/31/2006 9:59:26 AM PDT by seamusnh
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To: Kirkwood

Who gave you the right to raise insurance rates both for automobile drivers and for healthcare costs?



You missed the point in the article about socialist health care cost issues.


24 posted on 05/31/2006 9:59:30 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Beelzebubba

how is government officials enforcing a law that is the most basic law on the books for car drivers bad...how does it lead to a police state....that makes no sense...maybe you need to review your definition of socialism. The dept of transportation is saving lives and i applaud them for it.


25 posted on 05/31/2006 9:59:58 AM PDT by chrispycsuf (our troops need our support now more than ever)
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To: Kirkwood
Who gave you the right to raise insurance rates both for automobile drivers and for healthcare costs

I believe Williams addressed this From the article:

'Lack of safety belt use is a growing public health issue that . . . also costs us all billions of dollars every year,' that's not a problem of liberty. It's a problem of socialism. No human should be coerced by the state to bear the medical expense, or any other expense, for his fellow man.
Socialism is the problem not seatbelt violators
26 posted on 05/31/2006 10:00:42 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your most dangerous enemy is your own government)
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To: dfwgator
You do not have the right to drive

Unfortunately, a rather common misconception.

You absolutely do have the right to drive.

27 posted on 05/31/2006 10:00:53 AM PDT by elkfersupper
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To: Kirkwood

>>Who gave you the right to raise insurance rates both for automobile drivers and for healthcare costs? When you crush your body in a mangled mess, do you honestly think it doesn't affect everyone else?<<

Ho hum. I think you need to re-read this from the beginning of the article:

>>As to your statement 'Lack of safety belt use is a growing public health issue that . . . also costs us all billions of dollars every year,' that's not a problem of liberty. It's a problem of socialism. No human should be coerced by the state to bear the medical expense, or any other expense, for his fellow man. In other words, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another is morally offensive."<<

You also say, "I wish that weren't the case and that drivers were totally responsible for their own stupidity, but that's not reality."

Well as the author points out, that argument could be made to force everyone into exercise programs, making salt illegal and controlling the lives of the obese.

Then there are the lives that would be saved if all risky recreational activities were abolished.

Like the author said, it is a steep and slippery slope.


28 posted on 05/31/2006 10:01:23 AM PDT by RobRoy
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To: from occupied ga

On an related issue but a different target.

I was in a park in Los Angeles on the holiday weekend getting ready to BBQ lunch for 17 people. LAPD officers were on foot patrol around the park and came up and told me I had 20 minutes to get my propane BBQ off of the property as propane BBQ's are now illegal to have in the park. They claim it is a fire hazard. This is a totally enclosed firebox we are talking about here. There were many people using charcoal BBQ'S with 2 foot flames leaping off of them, but those are OK,it is only propane that is illegal. Dumbest thing I have heard in a long time. 2 foot flames, OK
enclosed box not. Couldn't believe it.


29 posted on 05/31/2006 10:02:06 AM PDT by calljack (Sometimes your worst nightmare is just a start.)
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To: from occupied ga
When the "New" (early 90's? Late 80's?) seat belt law was being championed by Tallahassee for votes here in Florida, the ads boldly, specifically and emphatically stated that if Florida voters approved this new law, no one would ever be "stopped" for non-use of seat belts. Rather, they would be ticketed for this offense only upon being stopped for another offense.

How stupid, gullible and short sighted have we all become to have believed this crap. (I voted against it)

And here we are in 2006, ("We, the People..."), where the specifics of how and why the law was passed are tossed out like yesterdays garbage.
30 posted on 05/31/2006 10:02:10 AM PDT by JoeSixPack1
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To: Perdogg
In VA it's a secondary offense not to wear a seatbelt.

It always STARTS as a secondary offense, then the "do-gooders" make it a primary offense

31 posted on 05/31/2006 10:03:37 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your most dangerous enemy is your own government)
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To: capt. norm

"The seatbelt law was passed here in Florida with the promise that it would have to always be a 'secondary offense'. "

Yes, same here in Washington state. I think it is the same story in pretty much every state where the law has had a chance to "mature".


32 posted on 05/31/2006 10:03:48 AM PDT by RobRoy
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To: elkfersupper
You absolutely do have the right to drive.

So even if you are blind? Fail a driver's exam?

33 posted on 05/31/2006 10:04:09 AM PDT by dfwgator (Florida Gators - 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions)
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To: from occupied ga

"Each of us owns himself, and it follows that we should have the liberty to take risks with our own lives but not that of others."

That's a good pro-drug-use argument.


34 posted on 05/31/2006 10:04:15 AM PDT by canuck_conservative
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To: chrispycsuf

>>how is government officials enforcing a law that is the most basic law on the books for car drivers bad...

It's not about PUBLIC safety. Reread from the article:

"Each of us owns himself, and it follows that we should have the liberty to take risks with our own lives but not that of others. That means it's a legitimate use of state power to mandate that cars have working brakes because if my car has poorly functioning brakes, I risk the lives of others and I have no right to do so. If I don't wear a seatbelt I risk my own life, which is well within my rights."

>>how does it lead to a police state...

If you don't get the connection with cops in night vision gear pulling people over who are having no effect on PUBLIC safety, then I 'm not sure my explanations would help. Didn't you read the very brief article?:

"Government officials, if given power to control us, soon become zealots. Last year, Maryland state troopers were equipped with night vision goggles, similar to those used by our servicemen in Iraq, to catch night riders not wearing seatbelts. Maryland state troopers boasted that they bagged 44 drivers traveling unbuckled under the cover of darkness."


35 posted on 05/31/2006 10:04:40 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: from occupied ga

>>And amazingly enough there are plenty of morons on this, a supposedly conservative forum, who haven't realized that the government isn't their friend.<<

I've noticed that as well. It is curious.


36 posted on 05/31/2006 10:05:04 AM PDT by RobRoy
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To: from occupied ga

I'm betting he didn't get a reply.


37 posted on 05/31/2006 10:05:07 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: RobRoy

thats complete stupidity...im not worried about my driving, but rather the driving of others, such as the other poster about frequently running red lights....or the uninsured illegal immigrants ive been hit by twice out here in so cal. i wear the seat belt for my own protection. If this argument were held true, then assisted suicide should be allowed, but i think only oregon is stupid enough to allow that.


38 posted on 05/31/2006 10:05:17 AM PDT by chrispycsuf (our troops need our support now more than ever)
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To: from occupied ga

Move to New Hampshire, Walter. Live Free or Die!


39 posted on 05/31/2006 10:05:39 AM PDT by GraniteStateConservative (...He had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here...-- Worst.President.Ever.)
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To: chrispycsuf

The dept of transportation is saving lives and i applaud them for it.



Do you tolerate any government intrusion into private lives if it "saves lives"? Maybe you missed this part of the article, too:

"If we accept the notion that government ought to protect us from ourselves, we're on a steep slippery slope. Obesity is a major contributor to hypertension, coronary disease and diabetes, and leads not only to many premature deaths but billions of dollars in health care costs. Should government enforce, depending on a person's height, sex and age, a daily 1,400 to 2,000-calorie intake limit? There's absolutely no dietary reason to add salt to our meals. High salt consumption can lead to high blood pressure, which can then lead to stroke, heart attack, osteoporosis and asthma. Should government outlaw adding salt to meals? While you might think that these government mandates would never happen, be advised that there are busybody groups currently pushing for government mandates on how much and what we can eat."


40 posted on 05/31/2006 10:06:32 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: from occupied ga

you sound like such a libertarian..."its capitalism, stupid"


41 posted on 05/31/2006 10:06:49 AM PDT by chrispycsuf (our troops need our support now more than ever)
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To: Kirkwood
So have your insurance rates gone down with all the seat belt legislation? After all, we're all safer now, right?

When I started driving, a significant number of vehicles on the highway did not have seat belts. The dashboards were made of steel, no padding, no airbags, no crumple zones, bias ply tires, no antilock brakes, no traction control computers, some didn't even have collapsing steering columns.

If you did not get into a wreck, you did just fine.

All those gee-gaws are really nice, but they are no substitute for paying attention, and not driving like a bloody idiot.

42 posted on 05/31/2006 10:06:49 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: dfwgator
You do not have the right to drive, it is a privilege, and to keep that privilege there are rules to follow.

wow, that's a pretty socialist statement. i paid for my car, i own it, i have a right to use it. try inserting the word "shoot" (as in, shoot a gun) for drive and tell me where you stand. that's the equivalent. it's like saying, "you have a right to own a gun, but not shoot it."
43 posted on 05/31/2006 10:06:49 AM PDT by absolootezer0 ("My God, why have you forsaken us.. no wait, its the liberals that have forsaken you... my bad")
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To: chrispycsuf

"i think this is a great campaign...it keeps my car insurance down because my premiums go up every time a stupid person decides to drive down the road with out a seatbelt and hit another car and die. this has been around for about a year now in california and it has worked well. i have yet to get a ticket because im not stupid enough to drive without a seatbelt...its equivalent to bungee jumping without a cord...common sense people."

Most Communist Socialists do think it's a good idea.

Speaking of common sense, there's a book I recommend you read. It's called "Uncommon Sense" Probably written by a person you would loath.

His name was Thomas Paine.


44 posted on 05/31/2006 10:07:19 AM PDT by Leatherneck_MT (In a world where Carpenters come back from the dead, ALL things are possible.)
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To: from occupied ga

It's always about the money. Here in Nashville, our mayor openly admitted that he wants a 33% increase in revenues from traffic violations. And he's got the police chief, who's a political hack and a sap anyway, sending his cops out there to collect. I wonder if they even bother writing tickets to the illegals they stop? I mean, if they don't pay the fine, they're not going to bother to arrest them anyway since it's too much trouble and won't bring in any money. I don't know that "traffic anarchy" is the result of this kind of thing, but trying to pretend that I have "respect for the law" gets tougher by the minute.


45 posted on 05/31/2006 10:07:23 AM PDT by Emmett McCarthy
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To: dfwgator
You do not have the right to drive, it is a privilege, and to keep that privilege there are rules to follow.

So...where do YOU draw the line? When they tell you what kind of car you HAVE to drive? That you can only drive from point A to point B? That only a certain class of people can drive?

What is is, mr lemming?

46 posted on 05/31/2006 10:07:31 AM PDT by unixfox (The 13th Amendment Abolished Slavery, The 16th Amendment Reinstated It !)
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To: dfwgator
You do not have the right to drive, it is a privilege, and to keep that privilege there are rules to follow.

Privilege my a$$! You're a sheeple and you're full of it.

47 posted on 05/31/2006 10:07:40 AM PDT by DCPatriot ("It aint what you don't know that kills you. It's what you know that aint so" Theodore Sturgeon)
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To: old gringo

These seatbelt nazis are the types of people that think big government is always good for us.


48 posted on 05/31/2006 10:07:59 AM PDT by Luke21 (Democrats hate us, our heritage, and our religion. They think we belong in cages. Never forget.)
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To: absolootezer0

Nope the Second Amendment is pretty clear on guns, not so for cars, or horse-drawn carriages, if you want to go back that far.


49 posted on 05/31/2006 10:08:02 AM PDT by dfwgator (Florida Gators - 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions)
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To: seamusnh

TWICE! Two times, the voters in Mass. shot down seatbelt laws, byt the legislature pushed them through anyway.


50 posted on 05/31/2006 10:08:06 AM PDT by Toby06 (True conservatives vote based on their values, not for parties.)
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