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John Burns: an exercise in contradiction

Actually, the first problems solved in our freedom-loving constitutional republic (not democracy) were to get rid of most of the rules, and let people live their lives. There were vices akin to helmetless riding and smoking back then (even smoking itself, though the dangers were not fully known) but the first acts of government were NOT to outlaw them.

If we had kept government to playing by the rules as they were first laid down, we would not have the "socialist revenue collection system feeding a hungry plutocracy" that we have now (no argument there.)

My problem is this: why the implied dissaproval of our government in its current state, yet the simultaneous embrace of social-engineering laws (helmet laws, high cigarette taxes, etc....?) Do you want to be free or not? This is a philosophical argument: not a practical one. We've obviously been screwed out of a large portion, if not the bulk, of our important constitutional freedoms. They're gone, and without a massive awakening and spontaneous growth of backbones in this country, we're not going to get them back.
 

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Now, don't get me wrong: I wear my full-face helmet even when I buy cigarettes. But I'm not sure it's right to deride the "choice and freedom" argument by reminding us that we live in "a socialist revenue collection system feeding a hungry plutocracy." Think of it as The [Modified] Domino Theory. It's still alive and well in this country, isn't it? Maybe we should fight them here and now, or they'll ban anything that's dangerous on the grounds that it's costing everybody else the down payments for their SUVs. BTW, don't invoke the tired old "life ain't fair, so deal with it" argument. Say it anywhere else, but not in this country.
 

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John, John, so close but so far. You get an incomplete on this assignment because you did not fully develop your arguement.



After you put the paper back in the wordprocessor, explain to me why we don't require car people to wear helmets. If we are trying to save taxpayer dollars, think about all the brain damage that could be avoided if car people wore helmets.



There is more going on with the helmet issue and it could use some of your witty and obnoxious analysis.



 

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Democrats and Socialists......

The question isn't helmets so much, but when does all the "You are too stupid to make your own choices, so Daddy Government is going to do so" stop? When will they start regulating riding gear, because everyone knows that not wearing gear is stupid, right? Everyone has seen an idiot with a back protector and flip flops. So how long till they start demanding you wear some sort of air bag jump suit every time you ride? Or some sort of a safety cage is built onto the motorcycle? Democrats and Socialists never know when to stop. If a little is good to them, then a whole lot more is better.
And you know it will start in People's Republic of California. It always does.
 

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Regulations are good for you

There is a lot of pure BS going on about regulations being bad. Baloney.

For example there are 42 rules and regulations how a hamburger is made, and do you know what? Its bloody good you can buy a hamburger in the good old USA and know you are not chewing pigs insestines.

If you think anarchy would be better go live in a developing country. That really sucks. Stop whining, take the helmets and speed limits etc. its a small price to pay.

- cruiz-euro
 

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Helmet Laws

It would be my preference that our government adhere to more of a hands off approach to regulating our personal safety. Since when is it the government's responsibility to protect people from themselves?

OK. Now that the unrealistic utopia crap is out of the way let's talk about reality. Helmet laws are less about protecting people from themselves than about protecting society from idiots who do not want to wear helmets. As John points out in the article the financial burden of the surviving, but disabled, helmetless accident falls to the rest of society. Now I don't have any problem taking care of the less fortunate or disabled, but that responsibility to take care of those people also gives me the power to have a say in regulating their behavior in an effort to diminish their negative social and financial impact.

In other words...

You are free to do what you want up to the point where exercising that freedom starts to impinges my ability to be free.

It's a very simple statement, but it is at the very root of much of the misunderstanding in this debate and many others. Guns, Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, Speeding. I want to state again for the record that I do not oppose the use and enjoyment of any of the preceeding "vices". But, many of my fellow Americans seem unable to adhere to some basic common sense principles. Because of their actions they are interfering with my freedom, twice. First, they interfere with my freedom by exercising their "perceived freedom" in a way that endangers my life and well-being or costs me money. Second, they interfere with my freedom by creating a need to regulate their irresponsible behavior. I can't choose because they have forced our society (goverment) to choose for them in order to protect others.

You are free. Quite free. But your freedom is not absolute. Never has been. It stops when your actions begin to negatively impact those around you.
 

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We don't require car people to wear helmets, but we do require them to wear seat belts. However, (at least in Colorado) you cannot be stopped for failure to wear a seat belt. You can be fined if you are stopped for another traffic violation, and do not have your seat belt on. Seems like a reasonable helmet law as well. If you ride without your helmet, you better not get caught doing anything wrong.
 

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Re: Helmet Laws

"...Now I don't have any problem taking care of the less fortunate or disabled, but that responsibility to take care of those people also gives me the power to have a say in regulating their behavior in an effort to diminish their negative social and financial impact..."

This is the part that gives me the willies. But the argument is worth considering. You have a trustworthy name....
 

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Helmet laws are nothing less than the publics' way of persecuting all the evil, mean, daughter-stealing, hell-raising, grandma-scaring bikers who've just plain pissed-off John Q. Public for the last 50 years. Can you spell retribution?



Anything can be justified in the name of safety, and as Ben Franklin said - Anyone who gives up liberty in the name of security deserves neither. Helmet laws are only the beginning - guaranteed.
 

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I don't care if it's required or not, I always wear a helmet. And I'm glad its the law. Why? My best friend from College (years ago) took off one day on his bike without a helmet (it wasn't the law back then)... I haven't had a coherent conversation with him since then. Earlier this year I was rear-ended while on a local errand and I would be a slobbering demented fool or dead if it weren't for my helmet...



It's a good law and I'm glad it's on the books. If that makes me a socialist or whatever the bull***** label, too damn bad. Yeah I see guys out there with no helmet or some little cupcake thing on there heads, and the first thought that comes to mind? "Stupid"...



When I see a kid out there on a bicycle (they're required to wear helmets too around here) I'm glad to say something like "cool helmet..." and point to my helmet too, "I always wear mine when I'm out biking..." maybe I'll save some kid's life that way...
 

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Re: Helmet Laws

Come now, there's no need to be condescending. (Maybe you weren't. I can't tell.)

What if you could influence how your tax dollars were spent? All of that hard-earned money that's taken from you, wouldn't you like to have more say in how it's put to use?

Advocating helmet laws is no different. If we, society, have to pay for the consequences of helmetless accidents, we will naturally want some say in return for parting with our money.

Now if only taxes worked that way.

Personally, I think I side with JB: I wish people would just wear the damn things, so we wouldn't have to have overreaching laws.
 

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Using political power is a two-edged sword. When you allow the governemt to exceed its defined scope to achieve something you want you can bet the farm that that government will use that authority against you as well the first chance it gets.

The same arguments used to justify helmet laws, "the public good" are the exact arguments used to send the Jews to the death camps, to murder 20 million Ukrainians and to slaughter 1/3 of the population of Cambodia. Hyperbole perhaps, but still true.

If you don't fight for your freedom, you will lose it. The normal lot of mankind throughout history until just a few decades ago is slavery , feudalism, arbtrary justice, torture and death at the whim of the King or the Lord of the Manor. Any society has those who would love to return to that system. These days the watchwords of tyranny aren't "Juden" or "Comrade" they are "Evil SUV" and "Protect the Environment". Not that the environment shouldn't be protected, but because the envirowacks demand that every solution to pollution be a destruction of individual freedom.

And if you think it can't happen here you aren't paying attention to the recent developements since 9-11. The Feds have eliminated the restrictions against the use of the military as internal police. The Pres. can name anyone an "enemy combatant" at whim and such labelling removes all your constitutional rights. How many here want to join Ashcroft Brown Shirts?

So, continue sleepwalking. Join the smoking-nazis, the enviro-nazis and the rest. But don't expect anyone else to stand up for you when they ban your dangerous motorcycle "for the public good".
 

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Helmets or loud pipes are a sure fire way to stir up debate on any website. They are issues that the anti's use to divide (and eventually conquer) riders and our cause. I live in a state without helmet laws(NH) but always wear a full-face helmet. I also wear proper pants, armor, boots and earplugs which makes me sort of a nerd to most folks.

I wear this stuff for two main reasons. 1. I want to watch my grandchildren learn to ride someday. 2. Having put 50% of my riding time on dirtbikes, I've fallen enough to know it is not pleasant.

I am absolutely convinced that falls I've taken on the dirt would have killed or maimed the average person if taken on the street without protective gear.

Of couse every person is responsible for their own body and if it fails for any reason they are 100% responsible for fixing it. None of us should be extorted (taxed) into paying for others misfortune or stupidity. Go helmetless, smoke, drink, or do whatever you like with your body, it is still a free country(certain states excluded). But don't expect me to pay for your consequences.





 

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John, You remind me of my 70 year old father preaching the dangers of motorcycling to me while puffing on a Winston. I would bet that treating smoking related illnesses costs our society much more than helmet less riders do. I were a helmet all of the time but I do not want any level of government making me put it on. I do not think the government should be able tell you and my Dad that you cannot smoke. I do think laws "protecting" those under 21 (possibly too young and ignorant to know any better) are a good idea. To paraphrase Pursig - We do not need any more social programs or regulations , we just need individuals making quality decisions.



P.S. As a 43 year old trapped in a 25 year old body (from the neck down that is) the full coverage helmet does provide some stealthy benefits. I never get those looks while waiting for a light when I'm in my car.
 

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John, you're absolutely right. The AMA has its head totally stuffed on this issue, and at the same time wonders why it has trouble getting legislative support for other, more legitimate issues on its agenda. Duh!



Not wearing a helmet is stupid, and it's regrettable that the AMA can't see that. Motorcycling will never get the respect it deserves as a sport or form of recreation as long as its key representative organization persists in prioritizing its efforts in such nonsensical directions.
 

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Are you for real ? Retribution ? And helmet laws are the first step to loss of liberty ?



Sheesh. I'm sure you complain just as vociferously about all the other 1.7 million "laws" which curb our liberty. Do you wear your seatbelt in your car ? Whoa there fella ! You're throwing away your freedoms. I'm sure you'll make sure your kids are also jumping around the front seat of the car without seatbelts, lest they contribute to the opression by our government.



When I put on my helmet, I certainly don't feel like I'm being opressed by the public. I do, however, feel like I have a much better chance at surviving a crash without major head trauma.



Guarantee me that I won't in some way contribute financially to rescuing a guy who's turned his brain into mush due to lack of helmet use, and I'll never say another word about helmet laws.



All you people who scream loudest about the infringement on your liberties - just admit it: You want to look cool while riding around helmet-less. Deny it all you will......

 
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