file under: laws, california, michigan

On January 1, California enacted the toughest child safety helmet law in the nation. Helmets are now required headgear for anyone under age 18 while riding skateboards, in-line skates, scooters, or anything else with wheels.

anything else with wheels.

Any child caught violating the law will be fined $25. If the child doesn't have the money, the parent or legal guardian must pay. The bulk of the collected fees (72 percent) will go to fund safety education campaigns and purchase safety helmets for low-income children.

I'm 20, so this particular law doesn't apply to me, but why must my little brother fork over money for potentially injuring himself? That's what health insurance is for.

Common sense says that if you slide down a handrail standing on a piece of wood without wearing protection, you might get hurt. But you should still have the right to do so. You know what you're getting into, and if you get hurt, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Many Americans seem to think otherwise though.

If Americans really loved freedom, then we would start taking responsibility for our own actions. Tobacco companies don't give us cancer, we do. Fast food chains don't make us fat, we do. By not accepting the consequences of our actions, we, in turn, limit our freedom, forcing the government to pass silly preventative measures out of fear of being blamed for someone else's lack of common sense.

Michigan's House of Representatives recently voted 98 to 2 in favor of a bill that fines retailers for selling mature- or adult-only-rated games to minors. According to the bill, sale or rental of an M- or AO-rated game to anyone under 17 years of age can result in a misdemeanor punishable by a 90-day prison sentence, a $1,000 fine, or both. The bill will move into the Michigan Senate for a vote sometime this year.

Mind you, video game ratings are voluntarily suggested by the entertainment industry to cover its ass, as are movie ratings and the "parental advisory" sticker on music albums. These ratings are merely guides — they are not legitimate — but as long as a few continue to accuse art (with warnings!) of not raising their kids properly, marketers will have no choice but to accept them at face value, thus spoiling the fun for the whole.

And don't tell me that this is all "for the kids." Let me tell you something. KIDS ARE ASSHOLES. Get Jesus to suffer for their fuck-ups.

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