Opinion / We The People

Laws Upon Laws


I remember a conversation long ago with my parents when I was in my early twenties. We were discussing seat belt laws and bicycle helmet laws.

My feeling at the time was that of course those laws were a good thing. Even, perhaps they were a necessary thing. Why shouldn’t there be laws to protect people from harm that may come upon them if they didn’t use a safety belt while in the car, or if they didn’t wear a bicycle helmet while riding a bicycle?

Why wouldn’t my parents agree? It seemed like common sense that laws to protect people were needed. I asked my parents why they were opposed to those laws?

They said, “Why do we need laws for everything? It is common sense to use a safety belt while in a car, or to wear a bicycle helmet while bicycling. But in America we have the freedom to decide these things for ourselves.” They added that each day there are more and more laws being passed and that is chipping away at our personal freedom. 

Their answer sparked something in me. Yes, WHY did we need so many laws about every part of our life? The safety of our individual rights was at stake too. If we expected government to protect us every step of the way…what would that do to our individual freedom?

It seems like the conversation I had long ago with my parents needs to be had again, across the nation. Young people today have been convinced that laws upon laws will make everyone safer. If only that were true. Then everything would be so much easier and safer.

However, people do not always follow existing laws. Adding more laws upon the laws that are not currently enforced is not a solution. Many laws simply do not achieve the goal they were written to reach. We must ask ourselves, and ask the next generations…” Do we want to live in a country where there are so many laws, that the simple act of stepping out your front door may be breaking a law?”

Diana Erbio is a freelance writer and author of “Coming to America: A Girl Struggles to Find her Way in a New World”, along with her Blog Series, “Statues: The People They Salute”.

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