Why no man is an island

A new state law on July 1 requires children (those under 18 years of age) to wear helmets when riding in off-road vehicles.

The law has some upset because it applies to actions on private property.

Hoosiers are an independent lot, but the uproar doesn’t seem rational or logical to me.

First, people are complaining about the law on the DNR Law Enforcement’s Facebook page. This strikes me as odd. Judging from the comments, many forget the difference between those that write the law (the legislative branch) and those that enforce the law (the judicial branch). People should be voicing their concerns to their representatives in the legislative branch. Complaining on Facebook is not going to be effective.

Second, people are complaining that the new law is big government intrusion/overreach and taking away their “rights.” It’s worth nothing these individuals don’t specify what right. The right to be stupid? Laws don’t stop at property lines. It’s trendy to be self-righteous libertarians and complain about government intrusion, but most of the ORV accidents involving children happen on private property. Perhaps harshness is warranted to demonstrate the fallacy. Want Jill or Johnny to ride without a helmet? Fine. Sign a waiver and forfeit all services you and your child would receive if – God forbid — there was an accident. No emergency responders. No health insurance or public assistance to pay for the medical costs. No changes in education to help with your child’s disabilities. No disability for your children. Be truly independent. Bottom line

  • Your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness doesn’t supersede that of your child or of other taxpayers.
  • Your actions on your own property can have negative impacts outside of your property. This is why laws extend to private property so people don’t murder, poach or pollute or harm others or themselves.

My take: Some of the comments being left are examples of why the law is needed. Common sense seems to have disappeared from many.

Yes, there is a discussion to have about government over-reach and the nanny state, slippery slope, yadda yadda yadda, but this particular situation isn’t the time.  When you place political ideology before the safety of your child, you look foolish and irresponsible. In the end, that’s why such laws exist.

By Scott Davis

Former newspaper journalist, now government webmaster. Life-long geek.