Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir

Saturday, November 29, 2014


It's that time again!

First - motorcycle helmets and seat belts.

Personally, I think that wearing PPE is a good idea, but it's also a personal choice. If you are working at a job, your employer has the right to insist you wear protective equipment suitable for the job at hand, as he is the one who suffers the lawsuits and lost productivity if you get hurt.

Once you are out of the workplace, you have a God-given right to act as stupidly as you wish as long as your stupidity does not harm others.

Some states have mandatory helmet laws, others don't. Wisconsin has a law requiring people under 18 to wear a helmet on a motorcycle, but I am free to risk breaking my head open if I so desire. That's the way it should be. Ill-Annoys, amazingly, has no requirement.

I have worn a helmet every time I go out on my bike. It has saved me injury on more than one occasion, and personally, I can't ride without one as my eyes can't take the wind any more.

Due to federal overreach, every state except New Hampshire has a "seat belt" law, wherein they can give you a ticket for not buckling up. Wisconsin has a $10 fine for non-compliance, and they can pull you over for non-compliance alone. In Ill-Annoys, it's $25. Some communities (Crystal Lake, IL) have spent stolen taxpayer money to erect signs reading "PRIMARY ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY:  SEAT BELT USE". The hell with robbers and rapists - gotta make sure little Johnnie Q Public is safely belted into his carriage...

My question - if personal safety is so important to the State that people need to be pulled over and fined for not wearing a seat belt in a car, why are motorcycles still legal?

I've not worn a seat belt now for over two years, as a wimpy sort of civil disobedience. Not once have I been cited, and I've passed dozens of police cars in my weekly commutes.

It's never about "safety", and always about control, until enough people threaten them with loss of their seat in the legislature - and then, the laws get repealed. Evidently bikers have louder voices than car drivers.

Next - littering - Ill-Annoys has enacted a Draconian law about littering - toss a butt out the car window and get caught, and it could cost you $1500. Almost makes me want to take up cigarettes and toss them. Last time I walked down an Ill-Annoys road, cigarette butts were the least of the litter I saw.

Which brings me to the next rant - recycling. Our service provides two wheeled bins - one marked "Recycling Only" and the other for routine garbage. Recycling is picked up every other week, and when it is, it is dumped into the same truck with that week's garbage. So why bother separating?

The majority of the litter on my road is from those trucks - the paper and plastic blows out when the trucks move. I wonder how Lady Bird Johnson is resting in her grave knowing that the roads are littered as much now as they were back in the sixties when the big push was to "Clean Up America", and the major offender is the very people who are supposed to be the janitors?

More garbage. Wisconsin has enacted a "no electronics in the trash" law with penalties for doing so. When the garbage was picked up by humans, the garbageman could see if someone was tossing a CRT or computer, and either leave a note - or as in Cary, IL, a ticket - or leave the trash sitting there. Now, with the automated trucks, electronic devices in the wheeled bins are invisible until the bin is dumped - and that is done out of sight of the operator, and it is then too late to do anything about it.

I'll shut up now. Got an unloader for my old air compressor to fabricate.

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