Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Buckle up, buckle under, or buckle down...

There are a lot of things in our lives that I think are really good ideas. I try to keep my weight at a reasonable limit. I don't drink to much caffeine, and I don't drink any alcohol. I go to church just about every Sunday, and I kiss my wife every morning when I leave for work. Sometimes I even kiss her when I stay home.

Like I say, I think these are some pretty good ideas. I don't think they would make very good laws. I feel the same way about adults wearing seat belts. Good idea, bad law.

Back on July 1st, 2007, one of those really bad laws that required pick-up truck drivers to wear a seat belt took effect. The new law did allow a few exemptions, however. One of those exemptions was for "..a newspaper motor route carrier or newspaper bundle hauler who stops to make deliveries from a vehicle." Since I delivered Libertarian Party newspapers from time to time, I was glad to learn that at at least sometimes I wouldn't be committing a violation if I was driving without my seat belt fastened.

Last February, while I was heading out to deliver a few copies of the January edition of the LP News, a young Wayne County Sheriff's Deputy stopped me for not wearing my seat belt. When I explained the law to him, he told me he thought the law only applied to postal workers in government vehicles. He was wrong.

After four months and three trips to Richmond, I had my day in court. The prosecuting attorney said the motor route didn't start until I made my first delivery. I read the above exemption several times, but I couldn't find that clause in it anywhere. Unfortunately, the judge agreed with prosecutor, and just as unfortunately, they were both as wrong as the young officer. The judge told me to give the clerk $25.00.

Thomas Jefferson said that "It is the natural tendency for government to grow and liberty to yield." I suppose he was right. It's also the natural tendency for government to interpret laws to give the government more power, and to allow the citizens less freedom. Kind of makes you want to buckle down and fight a little harder.

I guess I'll be considered in violation a little more often than I used to consider myself in violation, but life goes on. And I've known for a long time that freedom isn't free.

Sometimes it costs $25.00



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty small fine. Kinda like that small tax on tea long ago.

Kevin Wickes

8:34 AM  

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