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It’s My Life

Growing up, I experienced countless heated family discussions — there are seven people in my immediate family, and we are neither like-minded nor meek when it comes to our opinions on virtually everything. One of the most ridiculous things I … Read More

By / April 19, 2007

Growing up, I experienced countless heated family discussions — there are seven people in my immediate family, and we are neither like-minded nor meek when it comes to our opinions on virtually everything. One of the most ridiculous things I remember arguing about, was whether or not it's constitutional to be forced by law to wear a seatbelt.

Brother 1: "The government has no right to make me wear a seat belt. They can make me stop at red lights, but if I choose to keep going through my windshield after my car stops because someone hits me, it's my own business."

Okay.

Mom: "You're gonna get yourself killed talking like that."

Brother 2: "He's just talking big. You know he only pretends to drive without his seatbelt, and then puts it on as soon as he turns the corner of the driveway. Tough guy."

Probably.

Father: "That's right. They cannot force me to wear a seatbelt. I didn't survive Vietnam to have to come home and wear a seatbelt."

What the hell does Vietnam have to do with whether or not seatbelt-wearing is constitutional?

Me (noticeably worked up, a bit agitated): "So you would rob your family of a father and brother, in the event of a car accident, all because you want to prove a point?"

Brother 1: "It's my life."

Okay, Bon Jovi.

Brother 3: "We talked about the constitution at school today."

Sister: "Well, it's not really consitutional. But do you know how many seatbelt injuries there are every year?"

Yet another argument that makes no sense, goes nowhere.

There's an op-ed in the New York Times today — about Gov. Jon Corzine's accident — that reminded me of this recurring family disagreement. I don't know how I feel about it, but I think seatbelts save lives. Saving lives is good. Losing lives is bad. I always wear my seatbelt, though sometimes I don't put it on until I am halfway down the road.

Whether you’re an ordinary citizen or the chief executive of a state, traffic laws cannot be considered optional — for your own safety and the safety of all those traveling around you

I don't really see how me wearing a seatbelt protects anyone but me, although if I care about my family and friends, I will wear one in order to avoid the possibility of them having to grieve for me.

I was recently pulled over, right before I put my seatbelt on. Didn't get a ticket, but I was chastised for not having my seatbelt on. I was irritated, because I noticed two motorcyclists speed by without wearing helmets. In Indiana, you have to buckle-up, but you don't have to protect your head when on a motorcycle. Go figure. I suppose there are more important things to argue about — like intermarriage and anti-Semitism.

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