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JavamanX
05-18-2009, 08:27 AM
I decided to write this here in the off topic posting area because after reading Declines posting about seat belts and subsequent talk about insurance it got me thinking.

First off this is America and personal freedoms are cherished and any attempt to infringe on them, even when it makes sense, that act of infringement is fought vigorously mainly out of the whole principal that most people like to have the government leave them alone. So we will use seat belts as our argument here. It is proven that seat belts save lives. I don’t think any rational person could really say that seat belts do more harm than good. Does it make sense for Uncle Sam to declare it Law to have all of its citizens wear seat belts? Yes and no. I can see why most people would say “sure why not I mean it saves lives right?” Others would say it shouldn’t be law it should just be a guideline.

I can see both sides. And I agree with both.

One reason I think a lot of Americans teens all the way up to the elderly population fail to understand is how violent accidents can be. Here in the states national and local media rarely if ever show the actual carnage caused by gunshots, car wrecks, or industrial accidents. In Europe and elsewhere media is far more open. If there is a car wreck involving a minivan and a 18 wheeler chances are it’s not too hard to find pictures of the mutilated remains of the victims. Do I think that it is necessary to post pictures of said remains in the daily papers… No not really but here in the states the only people who really ever get exposed to such things are first responders, the witnesses of the accident, and persons in the military.

I think if more of the general populace could see what happens to the human body when ejected from a car, slid along some pavement, and stopped by some other common road object, they might start wearing the belt. I have seen the after effects of gunshots, suicide vests, (Thank you Iraq) and some really nasty wrecks (from online photos) and I can tell you I never want to be involved in any of those acts. I think American media has sheltered the average Joe from the real effects of things that can happen to you when involved in accidents like that.

Just to prove my point of how dangerous things can get my younger brother (he’s 21) REALLY REALLY wants a motorcycle. The guy is really responsible but to me it seems like a huge risk at his age (this coming from a 25 year old LOL) I’ve just seen some really bad accidents and how it, if it doesn’t kill you, really mess you up for life. (A family friend still walks with a limp from a MC accident) So I printed up some pictures offline of some heinous motorcycle wrecks and gave it to him. I made him look at every one of them. Even my brother who has a strong stomach got nauseous looking at it. It didn’t change his mind at all about wanting to get a motorcycle and I never thought it would. I do hope though, that when he does get one and is riding it he will think twice about doing something stupid when he thinks back about a visual of some nasty wreck and its effects. That’s all I can hope for.

Decline also mentioned insurance premiums.

I will use smoking as my example.

Here is my personal belief: It is widely WIDELY known that smoking cigarettes has some serious health effects and Smoking cigarettes is your right if you choose to pay for them and do it. However if a smoker is paying the same insurance premium that I am it tends to piss me off. I think that it can reasonably be shown that most Americans know, even those that smoke, know that cigarettes are bad for them. If a smoker chooses to keep smoking I feel that because they are taking that risk they should pay for taking that risk. Same thing applies to not wear a seat belt. If you choose to take that risk you should have to pay extra for it instead of letting the insurance companies spread load it across us all.

Why people start smoking these days I will never know. I’ve never touched a cig in my life so maybe I can’t understand the nicotine addiction but to me it seems like a huge cost for so little benefit. A 20-30 minute “high” at how much per pack? Not to mention the scientifically proven fact that smoking leads to some horrendous health side effects. To me it’s an insane choice then again that’s my opinion and only that… an opinion.

I guess it all ties into my belief that the whole should not have to pay extra for the few that knowingly screw themselves. Same goes for social welfare. I don’t want to get rid of all social welfare programs, in fact I champion them if they are implemented correctly but when the program gets off course and people start to leach off the system then you have to ask yourself what the hell is going on here……


These are all opinions and are meant to offend no one. It’s just something I wanted to get off my chest.

Sgt T
05-18-2009, 11:30 AM
Good post.

While I am a fiscal conservative I tend to be more Libertarian in my politics. I believe people should be allowed to do pretty much whatever they want as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of another to do what they want. Let those who take the risk pay the price for that risk.

Unfortunately it doesn't work out that way. The reason the government gets involved in some of these issues is because the government has a vested interest in the safety of the people. (Also, The dead don't pay taxes) Because some people are too stupid to take care of themselve the government steps in.

Educational efforts would probably be better than new laws which restrict freedom, but the government likes to make laws. It's the carrot or the stick method. The government likes the stick. The government, which is no longer "of the people, by the people, and for the people" is an entity unto itself. I believe that most politicians "know" they are much smarter than the citizens they serve. And being smarter, it is their duty to tell us how to live. It is the "nanny state" mentality.

You also have a whole class of people who feel the government owes them something, or that it is free money, and that they should be taken care of from cradle to grave. As long as they are fat, dumb and happy, they don't care. If they were to have to take responsibility for themselves they wouldn't know what to do.

JavamanX, you have the advantage over almost all Americans. Because you chose to serve your country and go into harms way, you have a greater appreciation of life and death and personal responsibility. Just like the "greatest generation" who won WWII you know what it means to be alive and to actually live, not just exist. You have direct experience with Choice=Consequence. At 25 years of age you have lived more than people decades your senior.

PS: Don't worry about your opinion "offending" anyone. I offend people all the time, truth has that effect on people.

Decline
05-18-2009, 07:08 PM
wow JavamanX, you could have started 3 or 4 good threads out of all that:D

really good post!

I agree that people dont understand just how nasty wrecks can be. i think all the advertising about car crash ratings make people think that they are driving armored trucks with bubble wrap upolstry. No amount of airbags and crush zones will erase the brutal force of 70mph speeds.

I drive an 18 wheeler for a living and i am stunned by the number of people who cut me off and wedge theirselves between me and the car in front of me only to stab the brakes and hit an off ramp. what if the car in front has a blow-out? that has been known to happen! Where are they going in such a rush?

that said i do feel like if someone wants to do something that may be hazardous to theirself they should be free to do so as long as it doesnt hurt someone else.

As for smoking, my youngest brother started smoking about a year ago. I cannot fathom why a person would do that. Just the cost alone seems like it would be enough to make you think twice. :confused:

vthompson
05-19-2009, 07:36 PM
Good post JavamanX, very well said.

Rossi
05-19-2009, 11:21 PM
Interesting post.

I can speak about motorcycles. Missouri, after decades of requiring helmets, is on the verge of regaining their freedom to choose. Kansas has never had a helmet law. Regardless, I choose to wear one. I have been up close and personal with the road.

I took a 65-mile per hour go-down back in '96. I had a helmet on, but no problem there....three cracked ribs and a little road-rash, and I walked away.

On the other hand, my riding partner and his wife had a 5-mile per hour go-down in a little patch of sand in Missouri. They were helmeted, and they both walked away BUT....his wife's helmet was cracked front to back. A very very sobering effect, and he keeps that helmet in his garage as a reminder.

I am ambivalent on the helmet law. My knee-jerk is always on the side of freedom to choose, but such laws as the seat belt ones do make obvious sense. Let's go one step further....is freedom of choice valid if you want to text-message while driving?

Rossi

Thunder
05-20-2009, 06:02 AM
A: Not Wearing a seat belt does/can infringe on the rights of others. Namely taking action or inaction which results in death or injury can/will make it impossible for you to meet contractual obligations.

aka You can not make your house payment if you are dead.
Nor can you pay for your life insurance.

I personally believe that entire line of logic is a crock, but will acknowledge that there is some validity in some systems to it. I will then point out that death is assured so no matter when it happens the above condition will be true at some point.

"A Non Aggression pact is just a promise to sneak attack Them later." ~Me.


B: Inbalance of Perception.
Showing the results of tragedy would help some. But not all. There exists the meme "It is possible to survive this." After all the survivors tell us they survived. Oddly enough the dead are silent on the issue of exactly what is survivable.

"Humans have a strength that can not be measured" ~John Connor
"Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting" ~Daniel 5:27

C: Smoking gives an instant calming/relaxing effect. Which can be very useful for my coworkers at times. Course it has the nasty side effect of unrelaxing them as it wears off... Still It's effects can be useful, for example in combat where being calm can allow you to react correctly and thus stay alive, Or at least avoid that nervous breakdown.

D: Smoking vs Seat Belts. I can prove that you smoke. I can not prove that you wear your seat belt. If I could you have bigger things to worry about.

E: "Who is John Galt?"
The problem with Social Safety nets is they encourage a lack of personal safety nets. Why should I save 10,000 dollars for just in case when I can rely on the system to support me instead. Why should I save for retirement when the system will support me instead. Why should I earn a living when the system will support me...

Insurance is just another fear mongering safety net. It only works when More money goes into the program then goes out.

“Expenditure rises to meet income.” ~C. Northcote Parkinson

aka Funny how it costs 8,000 dollars to use that 900,000 dollar CT scanner.
Or if it was a Conveyor pizza oven in a restaurant, Would you like to buy a $100 dollar pizza?

Now I need to go buy some Nuclear War insurance. I'm sure I'll survive to collect. Just have to stay calm.