Oh goody, kids! The Post is here with another educational column by clever Richard Cohen (April 5). Let's see . . . he's writing about Mr. T's cartoon show because famous Mr. T is wearing a safety belt in his equally famous van, and the bad guys in the other car are wearing safety belts too.
And, golly gee, kids, did you get the message? Cohen says it's smart to buckle up 'cause it may protect your face from going through the mean windshield, but he's worried that there are many kids and many adults who will not buckle up and will go flying through the mean windshield. But if their cars had air bags they would not. I'm quoting him.
Now, of course, your dad could go out and buy an '86 Ford Tempo or Mercury Topaz with a driver-side airbag, or if he's rich enough he could buy a Mercedes with the same thig as standard equipment. But what about all your pals and the people in the millions of cars on the road right now that won't ever have air bags but do have safety belts? I guess Cohen isn't in favor of making them buckle up; he seems to be sneering at the states that are passing laws requiring drivers and front-seat passengers to buckle up. Cohen even has a funny name for that safety idea; he calls it the "Good Schnook Award." Ha ha ha!
Do you get the idea Cohen is trying so hard to be clever that he made the dumbest mistake of all? He seems to believe air bags are a 100 percent replacement for safety belts! Oh, sure, an air bag will keep you from flying through that mean windshield -- if you get hit in the front, nice and square, and if you have buckled up to keep your body from slipping to the floor. But what if your dad's car gets rammed from the side? Or the rear? Or your car first hits one thing up front and then bounces off into a tree? Your air bag wouldn't be of much help in those kinds of accidents -- but your safety belt would. I guess Cohen doesn't have time to check accident statistics.
So, kids, I've got a super idea! Why don't we let Cohen know that air bags are great supplemental protection but shouldn't be regarded as a total substitute for the safety belts? Do you suppose we could get Mr. T to tell Mr. C?