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We Oppose the Law not the Device

We do not oppose the devise or the use of the safety device called a seat belt. Our current seat belt bills in the house and senate do not mention one word about how good a seat belt is or how it would save your life, prevent an accident or injury, or reduce "social burden" or medical costs. We currently have a seat belt law that requires all citizens regardless of age to wear a seat belt; police officers are currently even empowered to stop and ticket anyone operating a motor vehicle if they observe anyone under the age of 18 not wearing a seat belt.

The enemies of Liberty apparently will not rest until the police are empowered to stop, detain, arrest, and fine or incarcerate anyone no matter their age or circumstances for simply not wearing a device. It does not take much of an imagination to realize that this power can be abused and used as a profiling tool; worst still the current version of the bill prohibits the collection of data that could be used to determine if a pattern of abuse exists.

Imagine you are seated in the audience of a public hearing listening to the enemies of Liberty arguing to mandate seat belt use for all adults coupled with primary enforcement. They bring up all the same old tired arguments about insurance, "public burden," accidents, injuries, and fatalities. That forcing everyone to wear a seat belt bill with threat of primary enforcement will solve every safety woe facing South Carolina. Yet they neglect the lack of secondary road maintenance that is the biggest killer of road users in South Carolina.

Notice not one word addresses the law, the question of arrest, incarceration, or fine. Seldom will the enemies of Liberty venture into the battlefield of law because they are woefully unprepared. They do not address why we should be arrested, incarcerated, or fined when we do not wear a seat belt. They only say that we might get into an accident, and we might be injured, and we might sustain greater injuries if we are not wearing the device, and we might not have sufficient medical coverage, and we might cost the taxpayers a little more money. It is interesting how we are not taxpayers when this argument comes up. The enemies of Liberty will argue anything but the law itself.

We choose to argue the law not the device; as we begin we remind the legislators of the old saying: "Figures don't lie, but liars can figure." We also remind them that our Highway Department and other opponents have a great deal of practice at figuring. We point out that not one word of testimony from our opponents addressed the issue we are here to address, the question of arrest, incarceration, or fine of adults who simply choose not to wear a seat belt when operating a motor vehicle. We also point out that on every level federal, state, and local laws recognize the principle of adult responsibility and in many instances specify a particular age when these responsibilities are incurred. The age of responsibility on the federal level is addressed in regards to service to country and other areas; to serve as president you must be 35, to serve as a senator you must be 30, and to serve as a member of the house you must be 25. The age of responsibility in South Carolina is also addressed; to drink or serve as a member of the house you must be 21, to serve as a state senator you must be 25, and to serve as governor you must be 30. Why is this one particular device so important that regardless of age and experience adults must be mandated under threat of arrest, incarceration, or fine to use it? Even if we believe that every word spoken by our opponents are 100% true is that sufficient warrant to punish adults that simply do not want to use this device ALL of the time?

So for the record: ABATE of South Carolina has no position on the device, wear it if you will or don't if you won't.

If you are still confused then think about it the next time you have a drink or smoke a cigarette. The law says that if you are under 21 and you have a drink or you are under 18 and smoke a cigarette then you can be arrested, incarcerated, or fined. The device is the alcohol or the cigarette. Try to come up with some good arguments as to why you as an adult should drink or smoke, then think about some reasons why you as an adult should be arrested if you do either or both. I doubt you can find any good reasons to drink or smoke but I would also suggest that you are unlikely come up with sound arguments as to why you should be arrested, incarcerated, or fined for using these devices. It is your prerogative to decide on what devices you should use or not use; you should only be threatened with punishment when you use devices against others.

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