Saturday, February 25, 2006

idiot has me stumped for a title

The following quote is from a letter to the Metro Pulse, our local alternative news weekly. It's a great little paper, if you live around here and need to know what bands are playing where. This letter though just really gave me a laugh, and not the good kind. This sample is the real clincher for me.

So here’s this little girl awash in this huge back seat. I say to her, “How old do you have to be before you can sit in the front seat?” She replies: “13.” “And how old are you?” “7.” So I say: “You’re relegated to the back seat for the next eight years?”

Never mind that his math is that far off. Never mind that he is ridiculing a law that is intended to protect children, those among us with often the least faculty to make the wisest of decisions. Also, never mind that he is taking the word of a child concerning the law and is misinformed.

  • Children age four (4) through age eight (8), and measuring less than five feet (5') in height, must be secured in a belt-positioning booster seat system, meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards in the rear seat, if available, or according to the child safety restraint system or vehicle manufacturer's instructions. (Note: If the child is not between age four (4) and age eight (8), but is less than five feet (5') in height, he/she must still use a seat belt system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.)
  • Children age nine (9) through age twelve (12), or any child through twelve (12) years of age, measuring five feet (5') or more in height, must be secured in a seat belt system. It is recommended that any such child be placed in the rear seat, if available. (Note: If the child is not between age nine (9) and age twelve (12), but is five feet (5') or more in height, he/she must still use a seat belt system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.)

His problem with all of this is that liberals are ruining life by making laws that force safety measures on people. He apparently bonded with family while riding in the front seat as a child, and he's uses that sad old arguement that what didn't kill him is certainly okay for the next generation.

He chides us for using studies about safety and airbags in order to push these laws on us. I wonder if he's ever lost a loved one, a very young one who couldn't decide how safe they wanted to be.

I too grew up riding in the front seat. I grew up thinking of seatbelts as those things you had to pull out whenever you lost something down the back seat. Honestly, I only saw the seatbelts in the back when I pulled them out, creased from being jammed down into the seat where they would be out of the way. When I found my quarter or my pencil, I stuffed them right back down. I certainly want my children in the safest place that I can find for them, and I don't really need the force of the law. The facts and the studies are really quite enough for me.

I do disagree to some extent with some laws that I see as overzealously enforcing safety, helmet laws for instance. If you have a motorcycle and choose not to wear a helmet, you should certainly be old enough to take that chance. That is in no way similar to riding in someone's lap, in the front seat of a car. In addition to the child's safety, the entire car is safer knowing that the child is fixed and immovable. For all the control we feel when driving, few other venues offer such small margins of error with such great opportunities to do great damage.

All that to say this. To the jackass that wrote that letter, put the girl where she is safe, in the back seat. Next, to make especially sure she is safe, ask someone else to drive, jackass! Not that this guy will see this, but here are some facts.

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