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Not all laws ensure freedom of choice

To the editor: Oh, the glorious feeling, being a free man in a free country! As long as I obey the laws and do nothing to harm my fellow citizens, I am left alone to pursue happiness as I see fit. I am free to climb a rock face with no safety harness. I am free to swim in the ocean with no lifeguard. Nobody tells me I can’t fly a plane without a parachute or go fly-fishing without a life vest. And nothing compares to the freedom I feel when I leave the gym after a heated workout, hop on my motorcycle, and drive the mile to my house with the warm air blow-drying my face and hair. Wait! I can’t do that. Our governor — who chooses to fly-fish without a life vest, shoot rapids without a helmet, and climb without a safety harness — doesn’t believe I should have the freedom to decide if andwhen it’s OK to ride my motorcycle without a helmet! Not only doesn’t he believe I shouldn’t have that freedom, he believes he has the moral authority to squelch it. In a letter to the (state) attorney general — after he last vetoed a repeal of the helmet law — he says that “motorcycle helmet laws save lives, prevent injuries, and save public dollars.” Mr. Kitzhaber, helmets worn by car drivers would also save lives. Skiers suffer head injuries that could be prevented by helmets. If people wouldn’t swim in the ocean, they wouldn’t be killed by rolling logs. And, if we took away the freedom to fly-fish without a vest or raft without a helmet, think of the money the state would save in its health plan. Wait, let’s take the reasoning a step further. Imagine we outlawed fatty foods. We could eliminate the biggest causes of serious health problems that easily! The state would save billions. Oregon would be a great place to live! Mr. Kitzhaber, give me back the dignity I deserve: the right to decide for myself when I should put something on my head. David Arndt Dallas, Ore.