Safety – Freedom (Part 2)
My second freedom post deals with how the government keeps us safe. By infringing on our freedoms, of course. Because government officials feel they are more intelligent than the general population, and therefore better able to choose for us what will make us safe. There are millions of little ones, like making it illegal to put gasoline in certain colored containers. But I’ll focus on the ones that have affected me personally.
Now, Liberals just love the environment, right? Not to generalize or anything, but aren’t conservatives usually considered the ones who don’t care about the environment, while liberals are trying to save this world from human destruction? It’s not really relevant. Once, I had a car. A lovely, little 1996 Honda Civic. I loved it! Not just because it was a Honda, and despite being 13 years old gave us almost no trouble. I loved it because it got 40 mpg, or more, regularly. Can you imagine? We paid about $3,000 for it, and it never once got below 35 mpg. Part of the reason, I imagine, was because it was tiny; a nice, light hatchback. It had three seat-belts in the back-seat, but couldn’t fit three adults. Or three car seats.
Oh, yes. Car seats. Did you know that I can’t make the choice to let my 4-year-old just use a set belt? (Here’s a summary of state child restraint laws.) In Illinois he won’t be able to ride without a booster seat until he’s 8. But, wait. That’s good, right? It’s safe. We can’t just let parents set their infants in back-seats with no restraints. Guess what? I care about my children more than the government does! A lot more. And I will do what I think is best for them. I will put my infant in a car seat, and when I think they are old enough and big enough I will let them use a seat belt. Do all parents do what is best for their children? No. Does that make it okay for the government to make intrusive laws dictating what parents have to do? No! Even if research proved that children in car seats and booster seats were safer in accidents (which hasn’t happened) it still would not be right. Individuals are better at making choices for themselves in their circumstances than the government is at making blanket mandates.
So, when we decided to have a third child, we had to buy a new car. We had to make sure it was wide enough to fit three car seats, which means it’s bigger overall, and has much lower gas mileage. It is so painful to fill up the car (at over $4 a gallon) and calculate my mpg to be about half of what I used to get. For no reason other than the fact that some bureaucrat believed some car seat lobbyist who said “for the safety of our children” we need to make laws requiring every child use car seats and booster seats.
There are also babysitting laws. As far as I can tell, Maryland and Illinois are the only states that have minimum babysitting age laws. The Illinois law reads:
“Any minor under the age of 14 years whose parent or other person responsible for the minor’s welfare leaves the minor without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare of that minor.”
If any child this age is left alone, the parent is guilty of child abuse under Illinois law. Well, that’s interesting. I guess that means I can’t hire a 13-year-old to watch my kids. Well, why not? Let’s say I know two teenagers; one is a 14-year-old only child, the other is a 13-year-old with five younger siblings. Am I in a better position to decide who is better qualified to watch my children than, once again, nameless, faceless government bureaucrats who don’t know anything about me and my life? Yes, I am. We live in a free country, and I should be able to choose who is qualified to watch my children or when they are old enough to take care of themselves and for how long.
And what kind of law is that?! I’ll be guilty of child abuse if I leave my child for an unreasonable amount of time. Who decides what ‘unreasonable’ means? I’ll bet it’s not me, the person who knows my children better than anyone else in the world. If it ever becomes an issue, I bet it will be some random social worker who doesn’t know my children at all, but maybe has a degree in Child Developement. And, ‘without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare’. I will never leave my children without regard for their health and safety, under any circumstances, ever. So, what does that mean? That any of the choices I could make for my children will automatically be legal, because I will always make them with regard to their health and safety? Yeah, I bet not. Which is why these laws shouldn’t exist in the first place! You can’t legislate good parenting. Bad parents will be bad parents, and good parents will be good parents. People like me, with regard for the law, will find themselves with undue burdens and stresses for fear of loosing their children, when they have no intention of ever doing anything to harm their children, but somehow find themselves guilty of leaving their children without ‘regard for their mental welfare’. Because you can’t define stuff like that!
I have to give a shout out to gun control, even though I’ve covered it extensively in other posts. I live in Chicago, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Nothing about them is consistent. Chicago now requires a five hour training course (which costs money, of course) before they will let you have a handgun permit. (Which is different from the FOID card and the actual gun registration, which also cost money.) Now, I can not find the quote, but the reason given for requiring the five hour training was to make sure that people who owned guns could use them responsibly. Makes sense, right? Mayor Daley actually said that people who use guns, like military personnel, receive training before using guns, so it’s reasonable for citizens to be required similar training. BUT, would military training, perhaps, count? No. My husband, a former Marine, received extensive training. On multiple guns. Much, much more than five hours. And probably much better training than that provided at the random Chicago approved gun training ranges. We could easily provide Chicago with documentation of this training, but it wouldn’t be accepted. There is also the fact that their approved training courses require range time with specified weapons. Handguns. Well, the gun we own is a shotgun, so wouldn’t it make sense if the range training, (which is for our safety, to make sure we know how to use the weapons before we’re permitted to own them) took place with our gun? No, the training has to be with a handgun. If the range time was done with a shotgun, it wouldn’t be approved and we wouldn’t get our Chicago gun-owners permit. Should I ever bring up the fact that the gun can’t leave my house? Literally; it’s illegal for me to take my gun into my garage or front porch. You know, since most muggings take place in my home. They justify that by saying that the McDonald vs. Chicago ruling stated the right to a gun was in order to protect your home. But, you are legally not allowed to use your gun in order to protect your property, you can only use it to protect your or your loved ones lives. If I shoot someone trying to destroy my home, I go to jail. But, I can’t take my gun with me to places where my life is more likely to be in danger.
Why is it so complicated? It’s a choice I want to make. I think that owning a gun will make me and my family safer. I know guns are dangerous, so I will take precautions I think are reasonable to make sure we’re safe. My owning a gun doesn’t cost taxpayers money. It doesn’t make my neighbor’s house less valuable. It doesn’t effect anyone in any way. Just me and my family. But I’m not allowed to choose for myself what to purchase and how to protect myself.
Posted on July 18, 2011, in Freedom and tagged Chicago Gunowner's Permit, child abuse, child restraint laws, child safety laws, FOID, freedom, gun safety laws, guns, individual freedom, personal choices, personal freedom, seat belt laws, why I'm Conservative. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.