Reader Question: Can Sssssssaaaaafety be Dangerous?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Jacob writes: Many years ago a friend was traveling on the interstate in Kansas on a Sunday afternoon to attend meeting in Topeka the following day. Not too far out of Wichita on his way to Topeka in his Mercedes traveling with two associates he apparently hit a patch of black ice. All three persons in the car were killed. Accident investigators concluded the Mercedes was attempting to pass a car which was in the right hand lane when it hit a patch of black ice causing the Mercedes to slip and nudge the rear of the car in the right hand lane (or perhaps vice-versa). This triggered the air bags, “trapping” the driver (already trapped by the seatbelt) who could not remove his foot from the accelerator and could not control the steering wheel because of being trapped by the air bag as well as the seatbelt. The car accelerated across the medium strip and head on into tracker trailer truck.  Being “trapped” the driver lost his ability to regain control of the Mercedes and attempt to avoid the unfolding chain reaction of events.

My reply: This is another (of many) examples proving the point that sssssssssssaaaaaaaaaaafety systems aren’t a guarantee of immunity from harm and – in some cases – cause the harm.

It also raises the question I often ask: What gives any human being the moral right to decide (and enforce) questions of life and death for another human being? Even if seatbelts (or air bags and so on) “save lives” 99 percent of the time, no one has the moral right to subject another to the 1 percent chance that they might not.

In fact, no one has the right to impose seat belts and air bags and so on even if they “save lives” infallibly – 100 percent of the time. We are not pets or children or property. As free men and women, it is as much our right to decide whether to  buy and use seatbelts or air bags as it is (for now) to decide whether to exercise regularly – also 100 percent good for us.

Americans have been hypnotized and are in a kind of trance state. They don’t even think about – much less question – the idea of government (just other people with titles, badges and guns) forcing them to do – or not do – certain things, not because they are harming others but because they might harm themselves.

Once you do think about it a bit, the notion rouses contempt – over the effrontery of it. Who do these people – i.e., “the government” – think they are?  This question answers itself. They imagine themselves to be our betters – wiser than we and empowered by right of their superior knowledge to force us to obey.

I say the answer to that is a punch in the face, if need be.

. . .

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