(Knee) Jerks and Helmet Use- Because freedom sometimes hurts

Posted by Wild Ride Radio Crew January 5, 2018 Comments are off

(Knee) Jerks and Helmet Use

Because freedom sometimes hurts

By Dallas Hageman, Wild Ride Radio Host | Photo by: Wild Ride Radio

This commentary was not what I originally intended to write this month but it has been nagging at the back of my mind for quite some time. Born from a recent article I read, the necessity to pen this post has grown so large in my mind that I fear if not written now, it will have to be published in book form by the end of the year, if given the opportunity to stew on it for greater lengths of time. So in the name of avoiding writing a novel rivaling the length of War and Peace I would like to address the knee jerk reactions that seem to be invading society. Reactions on everything from running a damn zoo to helmet use.

I am sure no doubt you have noticed- in this day and age of social media- everyone is given a voice. Even if that voice is pure unadulterated stupidity… Anymore, one doesn’t need to be an expert, or really know any part of what they are talking about, to lend their two cents on any issue… and I mean ANY issue. Coming to mind as I furiously type this on my computer is the recent debacle of the zoo keeper shooting a gorilla which was threatening the life of a child. Instead of any “normal thinking” society where people who know little to nothing of how to properly run a zoo would take it upon themselves to shutter their misinformed opinions on the matter and a step back, everyone and their mother’s cousin sister jumped in on the action. For a few weeks it seemed as though most people living within the confines of planet earth knew how to run a zoo, given the feedback and comments on social media.

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Coming to my mind is yet another example of the media propping a podium in front of individuals that may, or man not have enough background to lend a voice to a particular subject. This article which I had recently had the misfortune of reading referenced a grieving family who had lost their father due to a motorcycle accident.

(You can view article here, originally written for Lehighvalleylive.com by Tony Rhodin on October 25, 2017)

Now, before you send me hate filled emails and threaten to blow up my cats while calling me a racist, bigot, blah, blah, blah,- please know that I am not attacking this family. It sincerely sucks what happened to them and I would not wish it on my nastiest enemy. I personally have had friends and loved ones perish in crashes, some were wearing helmets and others not- both were terrible times and it is the worst type of grief to go through. Where I take issue is how this family is now handling their sorrow, and seem to be- intentionally or not- using a pulpit of grief to cultivate some meaning from a tragedy. This reaction to a catastrophe plays out not only in this instance but around the United States- a knee jerk reaction to an unavoidable problem.

The reason this particular story caught my eye was that the family mentioned seemed to not merely deal with their grief internally and move on, they are now attempting to impose their values and beliefs on the general public. See, here’s what’s happening: 1. Family loses their dad in a motorcycle accident 2. Family blames lack of helmet on dad’s death 3. Media picks up story and blames lack of helmets on death 4. Social media and other media fake outrages over lack of helmet laws 5. Family leads charge to mandate helmet laws in entire State. 6. Personal freedoms and State’s rights get overlooked in the name of “safety”. This family, at least from what I could garner from the article, blames lack of helmet laws on their father’s death, or bemoans the fact that there were no helmet laws in place before the tragic accident suffered by their father. Reading through, I wondered during the entirety of the piece if any blame would be placed on the driver, their father, the road conditions, etc. etc. but alas nothing of the sort was found, only the lack of helmet laws.

I would hope that explaining the absurdity of this article would need no clarification but when an entire country can become divided on what color a black and blue or white and gold dress is (black and blue by the way) I feel it necessary to expand on just why this particular family may want to think twice about their new found crusade and put the kibosh on imposing their belief of mandatory helmet laws on the general public. Here’s the problem, it seems as though any time there is a tragedy instead of people coping with it in a healthy and sometimes internal way, they seek to remedy the situation abroad. Take gun control for instance (*gasp*… are you really surprised I brought this up). Every time we get some lunatic with an AK-47 who is pissed life hasn’t gone their way and decides to shoot up a building, the gun grabbers emerge from their dark holes and feed off of people’s tears. Now, is it a really sad and awful thing every time a shooting happens? YES! Is it necessary to revoke the rights of every freaking citizen in the United States because of it? NO! That’s absurd. It’s like banning bleach for an entire population because some idiot decided to use it as mouthwash.

Reading on, what I found even more absurd in this article is that the family’s dad exercised his CHOICE to not wear a helmet, and this point for the most part in the article, seems mute. CHOICE… the very thing this family wants to take away from others. The dad seemed, for all intents and purposes, like a grown and well educated man. He made a CHOICE, even though exercising that choice meant consequences, he still had the opportunity to make it. A CHOICE millions of riders make on a daily basis. Now, the state where this all happened was Pennsylvania and in that state, their father was not required to wear a helmet. Forgive me if this appears a little sharp but it seems as though their dad understood more about personal freedoms than the rest of the family does. Again, does it suck what happened… yes, but that does not negate the fact that freedom still exists. Freedom sometimes comes at a cost and in life things happen that may or may not be pleasant.

This might not be the socially acceptable or agreeable stance to take and I know I will never be hired for a P.R. firm, but sometimes what is right and what is agreeable are two very, very different things. Life is dangerous and life is sometimes unkind. May I remind you that no one gets out alive (not even Mick Jagger 100 years from now). But that does not negate the fact that people, at least in this country for a while longer, have freedoms. Just because something bad happens to a segment of the population doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, it just means life sucks at times. I understand the guttural need to make a tragedy mean something and to not want your loved one’s memory fade to black, but when a crusade takes shape and begins attacking other’s freedoms, you lose your “social safety buffer” and enter into the world of reality and debate.

Now, for those of you currently screaming at the page asking me if I wear a helmet when riding, the answer is yes… but do you know why? Not because my state mandates it (they don’t) and not because I like the feeling of a bowling ball around my noggin, or the way my hair is unmanageable for two days after a ride… but because I think helmets DO make riding safer. I also think that riders should wear them, but I also think that it should BE THE RIDER’S CHOICE AND THEIR CHOICE ALONE. Do you know why… because I believe in freedom and people’s right to choose what they want their path in life to be. Does this make me an uncaring monster? Nope, just a rational human being not wishing to impose my wants and ideals on others.

Where I might differ a tad from some in the “no helmet crowd” is that I do realize freedom comes with personal responsibility. It should be your choice on whether or not to wear a helmet; however, if you chose not to wear a lid then it should be your responsibility to carry enough health insurance to cover you if you get smacked by a Mack truck and turn into a vegetable. Don’t expect society to foot the bill for your unconscious butt. That’s freedom, do your thing but don’t expect others to cover for you either. The point is, you be you and let others be others. I am truly heartbroken for this family, but my sadness ended when they began attempting to impose their will culled from a tragedy onto the responsible masses. We as a society need to understand this fact and accept that freedom sometimes hurts, and even kills… but that doesn’t mean people don’t deserve it; take it or leave it, you have to admit I gave you something to think about that’s WAY more entertaining than what is currently on Facebook.

Referenced Article: CLICK HERE

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