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David Op’t Hof: Don’t tell me I have to wear a seat belt

I hope these excuses strike you as being as stupid as the objections to masks and vaccines.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A rally protesting government mask mandates at the State Capitol inSalt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.

I’m sick and tired of being told what to do, tired of being ordered around by a government that wants to take away my rights. It’s a free country, isn’t it? Freedom. That’s what the patriots fought for.

So why should I be told I have to wear a seat belt? Isn’t it my choice if I want to wear one or not? “My body, my choice,” as they say. If I want to get injured or killed in a traffic accident, that’s my business, not the government’s.

Besides, give credit to the doctors and nurses in the trauma unit. They know what they’re doing and can have you fixed up in no time. You might have to spend a few weeks or months recuperating but, in the end, you’ll come out fine.

Don’t give me any ridiculous slogans like “Seat belts save lives,” or “Click it or ticket.” I love that one. I bet somebody thought they were clever when they produced that nifty little couplet. I know the truth, and the truth makes me free. Free to decide if I want to wear a seat belt or not. It’s my car. It’s my life. That’s what I believe, and that’s what counts.

The truth is people drive every day and most people don’t die in car crashes. Most don’t even get in a car crash at all. And if they do, cars these days are super safe and are designed to crumple to absorb the impact, so it protects you if you do have a crash. Plus, air bags protect you from getting injured.

And don’t try and scare me with threats that I could get ejected from the car and go flying into a tree at 80 miles per hour. Or that I might have the car roll over me in a roll-over crash. That rarely happens.

Plus, what if I do get in a crash and the car catches on fire. What do I do then? I’m trapped by my seat belt in the burning vehicle and can’t get out. Meanwhile, the seat belt is melting to my body. Or what if I drive off the road into a river or lake? There I am, frantically trying to get out as the car fills with water and I can’t unbuckle my stupid seat belt. I’ll drown in less than a minute.

Seat belts are so stinking’ inconvenient. Before you can take off driving, you must take a couple of seconds to buckle up or a buzzer comes on to remind you. Why do I need some stupid buzzer buzzing at me when I’m in a hurry to get where I am going?

I plain object to the idea that I am told what to do by a government that wants only to control me and take away my free agency. They want to force me to do something that I just don’t want to do.

I’m being facetious. I believe in seat belts and wear mine every time I drive. I hope the excuses I listed above strike you as stupid.

Just like the excuses for not wearing masks, distancing and getting vaccinated to help stop the pandemic. Such simple solutions could make such a big difference if everybody did them. Instead, so many people refuse those easy fixes for ridiculous reasons.

Over 850,000 people have died already, with 2,611 Covid deaths reported on Jan. 14. That’s almost the number of Americans killed on 9/11! Why would you want to chance being one of them when you could prevent COVID-19 in the first place?

David Op't Hof

David Op’t Hof is a retired educator, writer and composer.

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