Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Law Enforcement

Now today, spurred by a story in the Washington Post, I thought it appropriate to write about the police. The story is a man brought in $120 in pennies to pay for a speeding ticket and of course the judge made him stay until they were all counted and then released a statement to the press. "If the person is mad at the cop, why take it out on court administration?" Pearson asked. "They're punishing the wrong people."

Now this judge is somewhat right but mostly wrong. How he is right is that the cop gave the man the ticket and thats about where the cop is wrong. Pearson should have gotten the ticket in court and said it is unreasonable to ticket this man, the law itself is unreasonable and there is no reason to be fining this man. Now, this judge and every other judge in the country should be throwing out tickets left and right, especially considering the nature of the offense.

Now, as to speeding tickets and in general all "fines" are completely unreasonable. If the offense is truly as bad as fine advocates and police and government officials claim, then speeders and traffic offenders should face jail time. For example, uninsured motorists get jail time, so why not speeders? Uninsured motorists aren't in danger of killing anyone because they dont have insurance, but according to the "experts" speeders do.

Now in addition to the above, cops who are trying to catch people speeding cause more accidents than they would ever prevent. I cannot count the number of times I have seen people slam on their breaks because they saw a cop all the sudden only to have the car behind them have to swerve out of the way to avoid them, usually going off the road or hitting them and causing an accident. They cause congestion when they pull someone over (and the morons still slam on their brakes) as people stop to gawk at whats happening.

How does any of this help anyone? If my memory serves me correctly it was Montana who had no speeding rules until the federal highway funding was pulled for non-compliance with their mandatory 55 mph limits. They had one of the lowest crash rates in the nation. Now granted, their fatality rate was higher but your odds of hitting someone else were slim. Once speed limits were introduced those rates BOTH increased dramatically. Speeding tickets cost lives, they dont save them
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