Brickbat: Unarmed


Steve Simonar lost both arms in a boating accident almost 20 years ago. He taught himself to drive a specially modified vehicle using only his feet. But he still can't buckle seat belt. And one Sasktatoon police officer wasn't going to cut him any slack. He gave Simonar a $175 ticket for driving without wearing a seat belt. Prosecutors later dropped that charge after Saskatchewan officials granted Simonar a medical exemption from wearing a seat belt. But Simonar says he still hasn't gotten an apology from the police.

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  1. I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street, I met a cop who stamped on my toes and laughed.

  2. “But Simonar says he still hasn’t gotten an apology from the police.”

    Yeah, I am still waiting for my apology from shreek for calling me a liar.

    *chirp chirp chirp chirp…..*

    1. Yeah I saw that, even though I usually try to skip the shriek threads. One more reason not to bother engaging with the obvious troll.

      1. Heh. I am joking of course. What shreek says or thinks means less than nothing to me. I just like pointing out his mendacity.

        1. You just responded to his call for proof, with proof, causing shrieky to run away. That fits with my paradigm of engaging the obvious troll.

  3. Simonar, an owner of a Saskatoon construction company, lost his arms in 1985 after he was electrocuted in a boating accident.

    How does one manage to lose both arms to electrocution without the current crossing the heart and fucking it up completely?

    1. Perhaps the pathway was not from one arm to another, but from some point of entry south of the heart and out both arms? Say he was standing in water that was electrified and then grabbed a ground with both hands? Electricity is like bullets in that it does weird things.

      Pure speculation. In any case, poor bastard, that is horrible.

    2. I have seen two electrocution deaths.

      One was a guy carrying an aluminum ladder that snagged a power line. I heard the buzz and saw the light peripherally. I looked out the window expecting to see a transformer going on the blink and instead was treated to the sight of the poor bastard’s femur exploding like a stick of dynamite. To make matters worse his 7 yo son saw the whole thing. When I got there he was sizzling and popping, completely cooked just like a pork roast.

      The second was a person hit by lightning. Amazingly there was nothing left of them but a small heap of ash. It looked like a small campfire that had burned out. Literally nothing left of them but ash.
      I was hiking and came upon a small group of people standing around. When I asked what had happened they told me and I thought the ash pile was the site of where the person had been standing. Then they explained that no, that was the site and the body.

      People often survive lightning strikes, but as a doc once told me, most of the time they wish they hadnt.

      1. Well….that’s certainly fucked up.

        1. That’s really fucked up. If I hadn’t been reading H&R for a long time and familiar with SB I’d call bullshit on the heap of ash story. Even so it’s stretching my credulity.

          I know that as a EE I had to take a few power classes and getting sued because someone offed themselves with a ladder or boat or whatever was a big part of the job–the other part being the complete lack of innovation in the US due to the gov monopoly structure.

      2. People often survive lightning strikes, but as a doc once told me, most of the time they wish they hadnt.

        My father survived a lightning strike in the 1990s, though the house took most of the hit. You can still see the burns around the nails in the soffit.

      3. I think the hikers were blowing smoke up your ass. There simply is not enough energy in a bolt of lightning to turn all the water in a human body into steam and the bones to ash. Just isn’t possible.

        1. Spontaneous human combustion seems like a real phenomenon with people turned into ash sometimes completely, or only the stump of their lower legs left from some photos. I wonder if the lightning had triggered that in the dude.

          1. But not in one instantaneous foop. Think about how much energy it takes to bring a pot of water to a boil, and how much more energy to boil it dry. Then think about how much water there is in a human body. Then think about how much energy it would take to turn all that water into steam. It doesn’t add up.

            1. This.

              And spontaneous human combustion can go fuck itself. Show me the science.

      4. This is morbid, but educational.

        1. What do you call 10000 volts on Chinese workers?

          1. ^^ 90’s era Pat Robertson.

  4. I’m guessing that if he wants to talk on the phone while he drives he uses a “hands free device”.

  5. Prosecutors later dropped that charge after Saskatchewan officials granted Simonar a medical exemption from wearing a seat belt.

    Is this not corrosive to the idea of the rule of law?

    I believe that if a rule is worth breaking or not enforcing in some circumstances, then it probably should never have been a rule in the first place. Conversely, if there is a rule it should be enforced. The more people get used to being able to skirt the rules and flout the law, the worse.

    The answer should not be for people to have to skirt the rules, but for the rules to be logical and just (and minimally invasive) in the first place.

    It goes along with Bryan Caplan’s observation that government doesn’t control you directly, but throught your trading partners in most cases. People who aren’t involved in a regulated business or who don’t do things that require a government license other than driving a car really don’t see firsthand the true effects of the regulations.

    1. Prosecutors and police have extensive discretion. It’s a basic reality of any legal system that has finite resources, though you can come up with other reasons for it.

      1. Such discretion causes imbalances in the “justice” system, like murders that go unsolved, or gang violence spiraling out of control, while officials selectively enforce only the safe, easy, profitable rules and leave the real crimes untouched.

      2. It’s a fine reason why victims should do all prosecuting, or their relatives etc. But mainly why government never should do the prosecuting. Agent problem, victimless crimes, corruption, etc.

    2. Is this not corrosive to the idea of the rule of law?

      I certainly think so. When who you are matters more than what you did, then there’s no such thing as rule of law.

    3. This is a good point, especially in light of how insanely paternalistic seat belt laws are. If ever there was a solution searching for a problem…

    4. Unless it’s part of the law. “Rule of law” 99% of the time refers to rule of positive law, and not too many realize the contradictory nature of it. Laws for the most part are arbitrarily narrow and specific, and riddled with exemptions. After all, you don’t automatically get a ticket whenever you speed, nor are manufacturers prohibited from building cars capable of speeding.

      Anyways, that’s the nature of positive law. In fact, positive law cannot be generalizable in order to be enforceable. Lots of things perfectly legal for the state would be criminal if done by individuals. That’s one very large exemption that’s built into the “rule of law”.

      Sheldon Richman wrote an article a couple months ago citing Hayek how real law cannot be invented. As such, real law (natural or non-positive law) would remove sovereign immunity and any other rules based on subjective values would contractually based, voluntarily agreed upon by individuals.

  6. No seatbelt? The guy might hurt himself.

  7. They are always looking for a goon in Saskatoon…

  8. He taught himself to drive a specially modified vehicle…

    Did he even have an instructor’s license at least?

  9. He taught himself to drive a specially modified vehicle using only his feet.

    Can’t he teach himself to buckle up in a specially modified vehicle using only his feet? Further, I’m shocked that, in this modern world, we do not yet have self-bucking car seats.

    Saskatchewan officials granted Simonar a medical exemption from wearing a seat belt.

    I suppose conjoined twins are also exempt? Officials had jolly well better grant obese people medical exemptions from wearing a seat belt.

    1. Or self-*buckling* seats, for that matter.

      1. We used to have those, but they were stupid.

  10. Do you suppose that were this to have happened in the US, he and others could bring a class action suit challenging the seatbelt laws as a violation of the ADA?
    Which would prevail, ‘public safety’ or ‘public accommodation of the differently abled’?

    1. In the US the cop would have shot the guy dead for back-talking, reported that the driver was reaching for a weapon, and gotten away with it.

      1. In the US the cop would have shot the guy dead for back-talking, reported that the driver was reaching for a weapon, and gotten away with it.

        Happens at least every third traffic stop.

        1. If a cop can run a guy over for not wearing his seat belt, killing him, and get away with it, why not shoot a guy with no arms?

          1. Sarcasmic,

            You make really good posts on police doing things that are really inexcusable and then you make a comment like the above. It detracts from your other posts. Do you really believe that a police officer could shoot an non-armed man and get away with it?

            1. Using boilerplate language like “totality of the circumstances” and “feared for his life,” yes.

  11. At least he can never be pulled over for texting and driving

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