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Seat Belt Laws Save Lives, Kill Liberties
boblonsberry.com ^ | 1/27/03 | Bob Lonsberry

Posted on 01/27/2003 12:21:52 PM PST by shortstop

What do you think of seatbelt laws?

Are they a good idea, or a bad idea?

You know the ones I mean. They vary from state to state, but they’re basically alike. If you’re driving a car, and you don’t have a seat belt on, you can get a ticket.

Sometimes it’s just the driver, sometimes it’s everyone in the car.

You’ve heard the sob stories. They roll out some state trooper, or a paramedic, and have him tell you a heartbreaking story about how many accident scenes he’s been to, and how it breaks his heart to see the carnage, and how seatbelts are the only hope we have.

And we see how much the state loves us, passing laws to protect us, shielding us from our own stupidity.

And we’re grateful.

We see seatbelt laws as a sign of social progress, as proof we’re an enlightened society.

But are we right?

Are seatbelt laws a good idea?

The answer to that, surprisingly, has nothing to do with seatbelts.

Because there’s no question about that. If you don’t use a seatbelt, you are an idiot. The benefit and protection that come from seatbelts cannot be denied.

Buckle your seatbelt. Don’t start the car until you have, and until everyone else has as well.

But that’s not the point.

Seatbelt laws aren’t about seatbelts, they are about freedom. And the role of government.

The question isn’t, “Should you wear a seatbelt?” It is, “Can government force you to wear a seatbelt?’

And, in spite of what the state legislatures have done, the answer to the second question, in America, is clear. The answer is, “No.”

We are a free people. Our government, as envisioned in our founding documents, is small and weak. It is not meant to make every decision or to legislate in every area. It is not meant to run our lives.

And yet we have come to let it.

Piece by piece, inch by inch, American freedom has dwindled and dwindled.

We are the victims of tyranny in the name of compassion.

Slavery in the guise of protection.

Each benefit of government has come at the cost of a corresponding liberty.

We are safer, but we are less free.

And we have been robbed.

Because freedom is better than safety. Liberty more important than life, and self-reliance of greater worth than governmental paternalism.

We are a nation built on the belief that all power resides with the people. Government can only exercise the power it has been granted by the people. In America, the power of government was meant to be severely limited. In America, the government is to be the servant, not the master. In America, people are believed to be the best off when they are the most free, when they run their own lives and make their own decisions.

But our government treats us like children. It takes our liberty from us with hardly a second thought. It expands its power over us without restraint. It mandates by force of law in matters that are and should be entirely personal and private.

Like seatbelts.

Sure, the government says it is acting for our best good.

But, shouldn’t we decide as free individuals what is in our best good?

Doesn’t government’s desire to protect us from harm unavoidably separate us from God-given liberty?

Of course it does.

And yet we have taken it like sheep.

We have thanked and re-elected those legislators who have orchestrated our bondage. We have cooperated with the squandering of our national birthright. What others fought and died for, we have flushed down the toilet. Because we haven’t been smart enough to remember what this country is all about.

Freedom.

And every policy or decision of the government must pass a simple test: Does it diminish our individual liberty?

If it does, it must not be allowed. If it does, it is inherently unconstitutional. If it does, it is dangerously and unacceptably un-American.

We must be able to distinguish between what counts and what does not. We must not be confused by irrelevance. Like those sob stories the cops and insurance people tell about seatbelts.

They are beside the point.

Seatbelt laws aren’t about seatbelts.

They are about law, and the proper role of law.

And whether or not you wear a seatbelt is your business. It is not the government’s business. You are free to be stupid, and the government has no right to outlaw stupidity.

Seatbelt laws are velvet chains. We’re told they are for our own good, but they are nothing more than government oppression. They are Big Brother pretending to be our mommy.

And one more example of how we have come to accept what earlier generations of Americans would have fought to the death to resist.

   


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: aaaaaairball; aaaaairball; aaaairball; aaairball; copernicus5; lonsberry; seatbeltlaws; snnnnnnore; zzzzzzzzz
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1 posted on 01/27/2003 12:21:52 PM PST by shortstop
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To: shortstop
Why the heck didn't I need a dang bicycle helmet when I was a kid, yet my parents never got accused of child neglect for not making me wear them?? The amount of laws is ridiculous. It's all about the government taking away our parental rights and stepping in to parent our children for us
2 posted on 01/27/2003 12:25:17 PM PST by BSunday
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To: shortstop
I don't want to pay cash (taking care of the family, paying for medical care and extensive physical therapy, etc.) for someone else's stupidity in not wearing a seatbelt - and

because you want to drive on the highway the community has funded, you have to play by the community rules.

Build a private road and drive like a jackass all you want.
3 posted on 01/27/2003 12:27:39 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: shortstop
Stupid law. It's just another way for the police to "introduce" themselves to you...oh, and generate some revenue at the same time. Of course, wearing one will increase your chances of survival, but so will keeping your shoe laces tied while walking down the stairs. Do we NEED a law for that, too?
4 posted on 01/27/2003 12:28:55 PM PST by Puppage
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To: shortstop
WONDEFUL post! *PING!*
5 posted on 01/27/2003 12:29:16 PM PST by Marie
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To: shortstop
It's the American Way.
6 posted on 01/27/2003 12:30:47 PM PST by Wolfie (Mind your own business? Heck, Americans wouldn't dream of it...)
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To: shortstop
I have a home in the Dominican Republic and they just recently instituted seat belt laws for drivers. They're not heavily enforced as they don't have the personnel. They also outlawed drivers using cell phones. The irony is, you can drink and drive. As long as I have my seat belt on and am not talking on the phone, I can chug away and the cop on the corner won't even bat an eye.
7 posted on 01/27/2003 12:31:37 PM PST by NYDave
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To: shortstop
In your world, we would need to have higher insurance rates for people who like the freedom of not wearing a seatbelt and who thus have bigger payouts when an accident does occur.
The rest of us should not have to pay for your freedom to live dangerously .
8 posted on 01/27/2003 12:33:08 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: shortstop
Driving a car is a privilege afforded you by the state, not a God-given right. If it was we'd have every mentally ill moron tailgating us at 80mph. (Hey wait, we have that now!)

But the point is they can require you to wear a seat belt if in our representational form of government our elected officials have passed a law so stating. Geesh! Libertarians get so bent-out-of-shape over such silly laws. Just buckle up and try to have a nice day.

9 posted on 01/27/2003 12:36:36 PM PST by Doc Savage
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To: shortstop
If you don't wear one you're a damn fool. Nevertheless, in a free country one has the right to be a damn fool. It should not be the governments business.
10 posted on 01/27/2003 12:37:05 PM PST by sheik yerbouty
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To: Puppage
Gray Davis' Caliban will soon pass one!
11 posted on 01/27/2003 12:38:09 PM PST by sheik yerbouty
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To: shortstop
The real problem is that we haven't allowed insurance companies to discriminate in their pricing. In a just society, if you want to drive without seatbelts, bareback in a bath-house, or go bungee jumping, you can PAY for the risk that the activity will result in injury. As it is, the State forces the insurers not to discriminate so all those people pay the same medical insurance rates. We have thus politically removed one of insurance's primary roles in a free market: motivating the adoption of low risk behavior while fairly allocating capital to deal with a problem should high risk behavior lead to mishap.

When we socialize medicine so that the taxpayer picks up the tab if the insurer won't pay, the public has a claim on regulating risky behavior. We have thus ceded the freedom to do as we please becuause it is no longer possible to account for risk.

12 posted on 01/27/2003 12:38:20 PM PST by Carry_Okie (Because there are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: shortstop
Laws that outlaw stupidity hurt us all. Not wearing seatbelts in cars, or riding any two wheeled vehicle w/o a helmit is stupid. The government has no business legislating common sense.
13 posted on 01/27/2003 12:38:57 PM PST by wjcsux
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To: Notwithstanding
The problem you have is with the socialist health care and welfare programs; not the seatbelt law. If someone wants to endanger their own lives, it is none of your business. By using these arguments, you open the door for the government to control all aspects of our lives in the name of "our own good". If a person is not free to make dumb decisions, they are not free. In Tennessee, they have started a program called "Click It or Ticket", it may be national, I'm not sure. I am also not sure if they are referring to our seat belts or our heels.
14 posted on 01/27/2003 12:39:09 PM PST by tnlibertarian
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To: Notwithstanding
I don't want to pay cash (taking care of the family, paying for medical care and extensive physical therapy, etc.) for someone else's stupidity in not wearing a seatbelt

That problem is entirely due to socialistic health care, and has nothing to do with seatbelt use.

And yet, you defend the seatbelt law while not attacking the underlying socialism that causes costs to be shifted to you.

Curious, and telling.

We all know that with freedom comes responsiblility. The idea behind socialism is that once you are not responsible for your own actions, others are. And those others are going to take your freedom in exchange.

And you bought their scam, hook like and sinker.

15 posted on 01/27/2003 12:39:19 PM PST by freeeee
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To: Notwithstanding
I'm sorry, you seem to have gotten lost.
16 posted on 01/27/2003 12:39:50 PM PST by The FRugitive
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To: shortstop
Because freedom is better than safety. Liberty more important than life, and self-reliance of greater worth than governmental paternalism.

Amen.

17 posted on 01/27/2003 12:40:52 PM PST by AUgrad (Warrrrrrrrrrrrrrr EAGLE!)
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To: shortstop
I never figured out why in FL you can ride a motorcycle and NOT wear a helmet, but you have to wear a seat belt in the car or you get a ticket. HUH?
18 posted on 01/27/2003 12:42:36 PM PST by OXENinFLA
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To: Notwithstanding
...community has funded, you have to play by the community rules....

Interesting choice of words. Ever notice how the word "community" forms the core of the word "communism?"

Be your own wet nurse if you like; I think I'll pass. Realize at the same time your loss of freedom allows your benevolent auto insurance company to beat the odds (debateably) and still charge confiscatory rates.

19 posted on 01/27/2003 12:43:03 PM PST by Agamemnon
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To: shortstop
And, in spite of what the state legislatures have done, the answer to the second question, in America, is clear. The answer is, “No.”

Really? Unless we're discussing one's very own private road, then the State may and must set limits and conditions upon the use of roads.

I-can-do-whatever-I-want-to-Neener-Neener Bump!

20 posted on 01/27/2003 12:43:06 PM PST by Chemist_Geek ("Drill, R&D, and conserve" should be our watchwords! Energy independence for America!)
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To: Carry_Okie
The real problem is that we haven't allowed insurance companies to discriminate in their pricing. In a just society, if you want to drive without seatbelts, bareback in a bath-house, or go bungee jumping, you can PAY for the risk that the activity will result in injury. As it is, the State forces the insurers not to discriminate so all those people pay the same medical insurance rates

GREAT point.

21 posted on 01/27/2003 12:43:26 PM PST by AUgrad (Warrrrrrrrrrrrrrr EAGLE!)
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To: shortstop
Very bad law. We do not need the government protecting us from ourselves.
22 posted on 01/27/2003 12:44:17 PM PST by TheCPA
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To: sheik yerbouty
I believe wearing seat belts saves lives. The government is only concerned with the revenue from the tickets - not our lives. I'd like for the gov. to butt-out.
23 posted on 01/27/2003 12:44:55 PM PST by pickyourpoison
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To: sheik yerbouty
If you don't wear one you're a damn fool.

Thank you. I still have a best friend because of a seatbelt. 70 MPH, drivers side front fender(his car) head on against driver's side fender(other car). He walked away with a bruise on his shoulder from the belt. He was driving Civic hatchback. Utterly totalled. Fortunately, no one killed. I haven't driven 10 feet without my belt on since.

24 posted on 01/27/2003 12:45:51 PM PST by mitchbert (Facts are stubborn things)
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To: Doc Savage
Just buckle up and try to have a nice day.

I do, but not because of some silly law.

25 posted on 01/27/2003 12:47:13 PM PST by cruiserman
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: Notwithstanding
The rest of us should not have to pay for your freedom to live dangerously.

Amen!
We can go after the motorcycles next. Then the smokers. Oh wait we are already doing that. Then the eaters of un-healthy foods. Then those that do not exercise at least 3 days a week for an hour at a time. Then those that don't get enough sleep. Then those that sit too close to the T.V. Then those that don't wear helmets in the tub. What a great country we will finally have!

27 posted on 01/27/2003 12:48:24 PM PST by Lost Highway
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To: Notwithstanding
I don't want to pay cash (taking care of the family, paying for medical care and extensive physical therapy, etc.) for someone else's stupidity in not wearing a seatbelt - and

We cannot solve one stupidity by having other stupidities.

Put the financial burden back on the individual, private organizations, and insurance companies.

Justifying laws that create monetary penalties, jail sentences, and/or property confiscation by saying that the costs of society are too large is definately the slippery slope. Where does it end?

Rush Limbaush's jokes seem to be prophetic: banning SUV's, tobacco, score keeping and competitive sports, ect. I'm frightened to see what he jokes about next.

FWIW, I've worn a seatbelt every time since helping prep a body for the morgue of a young man who did not wear a seatbelt. But mandate it? No.

28 posted on 01/27/2003 12:48:28 PM PST by Eagle Eye (And you shall know the STATE and the STATE will make you free.)
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To: Chemist_Geek
Unless we're discussing one's very own private road, then the State may and must set limits and conditions upon the use of roads.

You'd love NY State then. The Karl Marx brigade are usually the first in the country to find new rules to save us from ourselves. In fact we were the first ones to start seat belt laws. After all, the insurance companies donate lots of money to those campaign coffers, they have a right to be heard.

29 posted on 01/27/2003 12:49:31 PM PST by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: Agamemnon
Who paid for the road you upo to get to the grocery store?
Who paid for its maintenance?
Who paid for its policing?

The local (or state or national) citiznery. By using the road, you consent to the traffic laws on those roads.

If you drive on a race track on private property, feel free to be reckless.
30 posted on 01/27/2003 12:49:33 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: shortstop
If you’re driving a car, and you don’t have a seat belt on, you can get a ticket.

A moving violation in DC!

31 posted on 01/27/2003 12:49:50 PM PST by Clint N. Suhks
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To: shortstop
Shortstop, you've hit a homer here.

I would like to add that you don't even have the option anymore to BUY a vehicle without both a driver and passenger side airbag. I work for GM and here are some intersting tidbits for you.

When you buckle your seatbelt you improve your chances of surviving a front end collision by 65%.

When you buckle your seatbelt in a vehicle equipped with a driver's side airbag, you improve your chances of surviving a front end collision by another 5%.

When you buckle your seaatbelt in the passenger seat, your chances improve 50%

Adding a passenger side airbag has had a zero percent effect on survivability. In other words, the passenger side airbag is virtually worthless.(Understand we are talking about survivability, a case can be made for improvements in reducing injury, however, any improvement here must be weighed against the infant deaths caused by passenger side airbags.)

In other words our government has mandated things in the name of safety which don't make us any safer, just poorer, as these widgets add much to the price of the car AND insurance premiums.

We have thanked and re-elected those legislators who have orchestrated our bondage. We have cooperated with the squandering of our national birthright. What others fought and died for, we have flushed down the toilet. Because we haven’t been smart enough to remember what this country is all about.

I don't know how we get back to where we were, I agree that the comparatively minuscule improvement in safety has not been worth the now epidemic increase in the erosion of our freedoms.

32 posted on 01/27/2003 12:50:55 PM PST by wayoverontheright
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To: Doc Savage
Driving a car is a privilege afforded you by the state, not a God-given right.

Upon a time I would have bought that. However, look around outside: this country is not designed with human beings first and foremost, it is designed as a habitat for cars, and I really don't see this as particularly debatable (perhaps I'm wrong, but I'd like to see the proof). Once that happened, it became a right.

33 posted on 01/27/2003 12:52:24 PM PST by ECM
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To: Agamemnon
Who paid for the road you used to get to the grocery store?
34 posted on 01/27/2003 12:53:57 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: shortstop
I agree that people who do not choose to wear seatbelts should probably be able to... as long as they pay more in insurance rates.

Frankly, it's kind of pathetic that you even need a law like this instead of relying on people to care about their own self-preservation independently.

A great argument against socialized medicine, by the way. I don't want to pay for other peoples stupid health choices or be overregulated in this arena either. People should be able to smoke, eat cheeseburgers for every meal, and ride a motorcycle without a helmet, but I don't want to pay their medical bills.

35 posted on 01/27/2003 12:54:26 PM PST by TheFilter
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To: Notwithstanding
I did with my tax dollars and I say it's for him/her not to wear their seatbelt.
36 posted on 01/27/2003 12:56:20 PM PST by Lost Highway
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To: Chemist_Geek
Really? Unless we're discussing one's very own private road, then the State may and must set limits and conditions upon the use of roads.

Just like with private citizens, just because one has the right to power to do something doens't mean that they should do it.

I have the right to spend all my money on payday. Should I?

The government may enact specific seatbelt, cell phone, eating, drinking, and farding rules. Should they?

Just because they can doesn't mean they should.

37 posted on 01/27/2003 12:57:45 PM PST by Eagle Eye (If you are not part of the solution you are part of the precipitate.)
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To: shortstop
"in spite of what the state legislatures have done, the answer to the second question, in America, is clear. The answer is, “No.”

Right, and I am waiting to see what happens when somebody tells that to the cop who is issuing the ticket or the judge when it is taken to court.

"Government can only exercise the power it has been granted by the people. In America"

Funny, I don't recall voting for a seatbelt law. Come to think of it, I don't remember voting for a lot of liberty-robbing laws. I don't remember any of my representatives ever asking my opinion about it either.

38 posted on 01/27/2003 12:57:56 PM PST by sweetliberty (Go Al, go!)
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To: AUgrad
Well, since you liked that, I'll give you another.

The reason that the insurance companies have accepted socializing risk is that there is no longer any rational possibility in actuarially predicting a prospective settlement associated with a specific class of risks. Worse, if the capital is there to manage the risk the trial lawyers go after it like blood in the water.

This is a direct outcome of the degree to which the trial lawyers have ruined the court system in this country. To show you how far-reaching this becomes, consider how socializing risk through FAA regulations made it possible for airlines to operate with poor security and cheesy cockpit doors.
39 posted on 01/27/2003 12:58:45 PM PST by Carry_Okie (Because there are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: shortstop
What about the propaganda that it causes a financial burden on the state by the uninsured for hospital emergency room visits? Was it really a significant amount of money and has the debt to the state lessened since the advent of these laws?

If we’re going to regulate dangerous behavior we need to apply the same propaganda to every thing…wearing helmets for all ladders above two steps, outlaw sky diving, mandatory pads and helmet for skiing, ice skating, etc.

40 posted on 01/27/2003 12:59:54 PM PST by Clint N. Suhks
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To: shortstop
Fine. If people don't want to wear their seatbelts, go for it. However, let them pay for their medical bills out of theirs and their families' pockets. No insurance. No hospital "eating the costs". No government assistance. Etc....
41 posted on 01/27/2003 1:01:58 PM PST by oldvike
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To: TheFilter
A great argument against socialized medicine, by the way.

Can you actually believe that we have people who argue AGAINST individual freedom and responsibility for the citiznery because some abuse it and because we have some socialism in place?

'Wait, we can't ALLOW you to do that because it adds casts to our socialist system.'

42 posted on 01/27/2003 1:02:18 PM PST by Eagle Eye (And you shall know the STATE and the STATE shall make you free.)
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To: Lost Highway
Since there is no Constitutional right involved here, and because the roads governed by the laws are funded by the government of the people and by the people in a democratic system, it is a matter of majority rule.

SHOULD the gov't outlaw every vice and mandate every vitrue? Of course not.

CAN they? To the extent the constitution is not offended, of course they can.

Get involved and change the law - stop whining about a right that does not exist under our current Constitution.
43 posted on 01/27/2003 1:02:55 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: Puppage
"and generate some revenue at the same time"

We have a winner!!!

44 posted on 01/27/2003 1:03:09 PM PST by sweetliberty (Go Al, go!)
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To: BSunday
I have to chuckle when I see the ad on TV from DirecTV on the kid riding his bike without a helmet. The father calls out to his son who isn't wearing a helmet and does the usual speech along the lines of "haven't I told you to use a helmet when riding your bike, you could get hurt if you fall", then he proceeds to tell his kid to climb the ladder to the top of the house and take down the DirecTV dish. The kid procceds to look up at the roof and then looks at his bike. He has to be wondering, if he has to ride a bike with a helmet, but no helmet to climb on top of the house! How confusing can that be!
45 posted on 01/27/2003 1:04:31 PM PST by spokanite
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To: Lost Highway
Get involved and change the law - stop whining about a right that does not exist under our current Constitution.
46 posted on 01/27/2003 1:04:32 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: Doc Savage
"If it was we'd have every mentally ill moron tailgating us at 80mph"

You've evidently not driven some of the places I have.

47 posted on 01/27/2003 1:05:30 PM PST by sweetliberty (Go Al, go!)
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To: Lost Highway
Some laws I don't like.
If my distaste is strong enough, I work to change the law.
Whining is not working to change the law.
48 posted on 01/27/2003 1:11:04 PM PST by Notwithstanding (America: Home of Abortion on Demand - 42,000,000 Slaughtered)
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To: tnlibertarian
Hey! Y'all stole that from NC! Y'all make up your own name fer it, goldurn it! :}We have the same thing here...its just an excuse for the cops to stop people for no other reason maybe sniff the car, look at your dl and registration...make a lil money for Raleigh. Its a farce and I resent it. But, as I am sure you guys know in TN, once its passed, it would take an act of God to get it repealed.
49 posted on 01/27/2003 1:20:30 PM PST by Adder
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To: Notwithstanding
In your world, we would need to have higher insurance rates for people who like the freedom of not wearing a seatbelt and who thus have bigger payouts when an accident does occur.
The rest of us should not have to pay for your freedom to live dangerously .

I have no problem with insurance companies charging a higher premium for risk takers.

I do have a problem with insurance company lobbyists writing our laws.

I personally like the New Hampshire attitude, where signs on the roads entering the state say (approximately),"If you're under 18 buckle up. It's the law. If you're over 18, have a nice day."

50 posted on 01/27/2003 1:21:26 PM PST by metesky
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