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An unnatural obsession
with safety equipment

Program length - 16:35


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Helmet Nazis and the Culture of Fear

by Karen De Coster

I despise the Safety Nazis and the culture of fear they have created. Wear a helmet. Don't go out when it's too hot. Don't leave your home when it's too cold, and if you do, heed the 1,001 warnings. Be afraid at all times. Run for cover. Lock your children in enormous safety devices called car seats. Buy a stroller built like an armored Volvo, complete with side air bags and ironclad sun protection. Stay inside if the wind blows or a snowflake falls. Is there a dark cloud or two in the sky? Close the schools. Call your doctor if you sneeze, and call your lawyer if you trip. Don't ever do anything that has the potential to cause injury. Red alerts, orange alerts, and now text alerts – they are all imbecile alerts that are geared toward emotionally crippling the masses.

The save-you-from-yourself nannies are an intrusive and irritating bunch. "Safety" has become a sick obsession in the modern American culture, and this fear mongering has long been promoted by an overreaching, paternal state that has churned out a nation of helpless idiots through the revolving doors of government schools and a politicized nanny state that holds people captive to their own bogus fears.

One of the most fashionable forms of lifestyle fascism in the American Folly Safety Parade is the sustained push for mandatory helmet laws and the crush of propaganda asserting that certified, bulletproof, and government-approved helmets are necessary for every activity from the baby crawling to biking along your neighborhood sidewalk.

As an avid cyclist, the folks I ride with are a mixed bunch. Very few are helmetless, many are helmet Nazis (they love preaching safety and the wearing of helmets to others while they wear shorts in 20-degree weather on their 50-lbs overweight, heart-attack-ready bodies), and some are helmet neutral - they don't think too much about your choices and why you make them. Most recently, I received the standard summary lecture from a very overweight, helmeted cyclist whose belly hung halfway between his seat and the ground, yet he gave me the snide lecture on no-helmet riding by summing it up as, "it's your noggin." Apparently, being without helmet for two hours is undertaking a risk while carrying around an obese, disease-ridden body for twenty years is no risk at all. It is astounding how folks will perceive peril and create their own twisted reality to suit their inclinations.

When I do the group rides, I usually wear a helmet unless it is so cold that I need to wear my warm, hippie beanie. Then I may go no-helmet, and immediately, the Nazis begin to buzz and give rise to the predictable comments...

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