Pubdate: Tue, 05 Aug 2003
Source: Waukesha Freeman (WI)
Copyright: 2003 The Waukesha Freeman
Contact: (262) 542-8259
Author: Shane Steinfeld, Chairman Libertarian Party of Metro Milwaukee


Growing up is not as easy as it used to be. The whole process seems to
have become very clouded and confused, due in no small part to the
actions of our own government. I remember a few years ago reading
about an 11-year-old boy named Nathaniel who was tried for murder as
an adult, and convicted. By the decision of a judge, he grew up instantly.

Working from the other side is our state Legislature, which has taken
on the task of making decisions for us about how to live good, decent
lives. The Republicans tell us which things are "drugs," and which are
"adult substances." They try their best to tell us who we can't sleep
with, who we can't marry and who we can't tell. Just the same, the
Democrats push to pass laws to keep us from living lives too dangerous
for their taste. If they have their way we'll soon find that fatty
foods are strictly regulated, and diabetics are prevented from eating
sugary snacks by force of law.

In this spirit of legislated safety, we find Joel McNally's column,
"Motorcycle helmets are an intelligence test for bikers," which tells
us that we're fools for not passing mandatory helmet laws. However,
there are two sides to this issue. If there weren't, no one would be
calling for legislation. No one would need to.

Wearing a helmet does come with its own risks. Your ability to hear
and see what's going on around you is slightly reduced, which is why
you can be ticketed for wearing one while driving a car. Also, helmets
add mass to your head, which limits your ability to quickly turn your
neck and see to your side.

If you think this is nonsense, I have an idea: decide for yourself. Go
try one on. Put your face shield down. Make a decision. I did. And
knowing the risks involved, I weighed the options and decided that I'm
better off with my helmet on. When you're the one whose life is at
risk, it doesn't make sense to let Congress have power over your options.

There are varying degrees of danger that people choose to expose
themselves to every day. However, if the distinction between child and
adult doesn't involve the ability to interpret the facts, and decide
for yourself what level of risk you're comfortable with, then I'm not
sure what it is.

Shane Steinfeld, chairman, Libertarian Party of Metro Milwaukee
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin