As a law enforcement officer I’m obligated to enforce all observed laws whether I agree with them or not. Take for example leaf blower laws that have been adopted by several eastern Massachusetts communities. This law obligates cops to stop residents and issue fines if they’re using a leaf blower that does not confine to the town’s requirements. Crazy, right? Nevertheless, that’s the job.
The other day I stopped a motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet. The mid-life, out-of-towner was nice enough, having his documents at the ready and calling me “sir”. But when I told him he’s required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle he responded, “why?” Now, I don’t believe he was being difficult, it was just an honest question from an honest man. Needless to say, I went into some laborious explanation about motorcycle accident statistics and how most result in some sort of brain injury, yadda, yadda.
When I returned to my cruiser I thought to myself, “why is there a helmet law?” The way I view it most public safety laws are designed to protect the unsuspecting victim from injury. Speeding for example protect the widow Jones when no-nothing Johnny plows into her with his Camaro. Serious offenses like murder, rape, robbery are all designed to protect the innocent. Even the ill-designed leaf-blower law was implemented to preserve quality of life in quieter, suburban neighborhoods.
But other than the operator of the motorcycle who chooses not to wear one, who does the helmet law protect? If motorcycle Willy loses control and meets a stone wall, is the fact he’s not wearing a helmet hurt anybody but Willy? Is the unsightliness of Willy’s hair enough to mandate a protective barrier between his skull and the pavement? Or, is the helmet law just another example of government knowing what’s best for its minions? Aren’t the serfs smart enough in Massachusetts to decide for themselves?
Some may argue consumption of controlled substance falls into this category as well, but I disagree. Drugs carry crime and other quality of life issues that affect the widow Jones. The helmet law is in a class all by itself, and frankly I’m tired of the government dictating what’s right for me. If Willy and I want our hair flowing in the wind just before impact, so be it!
Blog posts are written by Rob Disario and include opinion editorials about policing and private investigations. Other topics include tips and tricks to protect yourself, thoughts for today, new products and product reviews. Rob's opinions are his own which are protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States and do not reflect any other entity, affiliation or person.