Thingish Things

Live Free or Die

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jul• 04•11

The seat belt law drives me crazy. It bothers me more than any other law.  It is the simple audacity of its message:  Government can make me do whatever it wants. It can reach into my car and force me to do something that at the end of the day is optional.  Where in the Constitution does it say that government can do anything remotely likely that?  And if it can get away with forcing me to wear a seat belt, what can’t it get away with?

What bugs me even more about the law, though, is that I would wear a seat belt anyway, so I have no means of protest.  I know it makes sense to wear a seat belt, especially as a father, so I wear one.  My only recourse is to flip a middle finger remonstratively at “Buckle-Up; It’s-the-Law” signs on highways, which is downright pathetic.  If our forefathers had that kind of spirit, we’d all be bellowing “God Save the Queen” tonight.

Philip A. Contos, a 55-year old Empire State motorcycle rider didn’t go down so easily. He died today fighting another over-reaching New York State Law, the helmet law.  He joined 550 riders in a protest ride outside of Syracuse.  In a tragic irony, he lost control of his bike and died of injuries.  And, yes, those injuries were to his head.

Police spokesmen are seizing upon that irony to show how wrong Mr. Contos was to go helmetless and how right New York State is to require helmets on riders.  That is a  shame.  Because Mr. Contos died — on Independence Day — arguing a much larger and quintessentially American point:  Individuals are supposed to be in charge of their own destinies on these shores, not government.  It is what our revolution 235 years ago was all about. Mr. Contos, in death, needs to get credit for that.



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  1. William J Ryan says:

    Given our current social security situation we really do need to encourage early departure as a means toward fiscal solvency. Mr. Contos not only gave his life for freedom but he saved the USG and, by extension, all citizens an estimated 12 years of social security payments.

    Finally, these laws, cigarette taxes and clean needles at tattoo parlors have a negative impact on the gene pool and should be abolished in the interests of a stronger America!

  2. Your Friend says:

    Any document written more than 50 years ago is in need of major editing. You know what the nanny state is? People telling our wives and daughters when to have children. Where is that in your precious constitution?,16641,1101110704,00.html

  3. Me says:

    Next they’ll be telling us we can only drive on a specific side of the road!

  4. cede says:

    If you’re riding on a public road, which was paid for by taxpayer dollars, why shouldn’t the government have the right to make you wear a seat belt? But if you’re riding on a private road, I say have at it hoss and do as you like.

    And I’m a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian – but government put those roads there and government-paid emergency response workers are going to have to clean the brains off the road of anyone who gets in a crash w/o wearing their seat belt, which costs me money…

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