More freedom, less government: An original American belief | SierraSun.com

More freedom, less government: An original American belief

Bob Sweigert

What a relief. The results of the Sierra Sun quick survey on the regulation of Donner Lake ice access indicate that objectivity is alive and well.Subjective reactions to lifes dangers have been pillaging our freedoms and raising costs for too long. As of Monday, only 96 people said ice access should be regulated, compared to a refreshing 294 declaring Skate at your own risk and another 38 rightly saying, No. Do not regulate ice access.That means over 75 percent got it right. You could say that those who got it wrong are saying that death itself should be regulated. That is an endearing sentiment, but a futile objective. Taxes are much easier to prevent.The most memorable experiences I had as a child were also the most dangerous. Before seat belts were required we were free to stand behind the front seat of grandpas car, gripping it tightly as we drove along the scary road south of Emerald Bay, in awe of the precipice on each side. Then somebody, somewhere, got thrown through a car windshield in an accident and, as we know, every time something bad happens we have to pass a law so it will never happen again. Then, golly gee, it happens again.Every summer dad took us to the Clements Stampede near Ione, Calif. known simply to us kids as the rodeo. We got to ride in the bed of the pick-up truck, with a bale of hay and the dog, having the time of our lives looking down at the asphalt whizzing by, spitting on the road between the tailgate and horse trailer, imagining what would happen if the tailgate fell open and we were that wad of spit splattering on the road. We learned more about life and safety doing that than if we had been secure in the cab.Chasing greased pigs at the rodeo was also dangerous. But there was something incredibly organic about it. This was our life. We loved it, and, yes, kids got hurt. I never caught a greased pig and I think the chase was eventually outlawed, depriving us of the immense butterflies in our stomachs we thrived on whenever rodeo time drew near, and, with the passing of laws, those once inalienable, and very educational times came to an end.Next, it appears that sentimental hysteria will win again. Seat belts may be required on all California school busses. I oppose the idea. It is, in my opinion, being done for no other reason than to placate the fears of mothers and make them feel better.I drove a school bus in Anchorage, Alaska and Spokane, Wash.. At times I had 66 kindergarten kids, three to a seat. If I had to put them all in seat belts we would have been late for school every time. If I had been run off the road into the river by a reckless driver, or stalled on the railroad tracks, at least I would have been free to get some kids out safely without seat belts. If they were all buckled up and I was disabled in the crash, the seat belts would have been a chief cause of a bus load of fatalities.There are strong arguments on both sides of this issue, but it will only be a matter of time before a terrible tragedy occurs, and we will all end up wondering how we could have been so foolish as to require seat belts on school busses.I hope I am wrong, but, based on statistics, it will happen.I do not hold these opinions because I am subjectively attached to the great memories of my childhood. I think this way because I believe that what is essential for progress is more freedom and less government. Its an original American belief.No one likes to lose a loved one, no matter what the circumstances are. But we cannot prevent death from happening, nor should we stop everyone else from being free to enjoy life, or impose unrealistic financial burdens on school transportation departments, just because we are afraid someone will die. No matter what we do, accidents will happen. Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, experienced ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years.