Got a traffic ticket lately?
Have you noticed lately? Politicians are so desperate to get more of your money that they are turning cops into cash registers. They have tweaked the timing on the traffic lights so you can’t possibly make it through before it turns red. There used to be no problem at an intersection. If it changed to yellow after you entered, you could feel confident that there was time enough and even when it turned red it was OK so long as you entered on a yellow. Those days are long gone. Not only is the time too short for you to make it through on a yellow, the money changers have turned our crime fighters into cash cows. They must have some pretty hefty quotas because somehow they are always right there when you run that light.
It’s not chump change anymore
It’s not trivial money either. My son recently got a ticket which ran him over $600 before he was finished. This is for running a red light or to be more accurate for failing to go fast enough to get through the intersection on the almost non-existent yellow light. First there was the fine itself of about $300 or so – pure gravy for the city since the cops are already a sunk cost. Then the court gets involved to get your incident appropriately recorded. Of course, to keep the ticket off your record you have to sign up for one of the approved traffic schools. That takes another $200 or so. Then when you think you are done and you try to pay with a credit card online, they charge you another $18. There is so much wrong with this whole process, I don’t know where to start. Everybody knows about the legendary speed trap cities in the South where the cops would ticket travelers to fund city operations. You can understand that. Fleece the travelers and the locals will love you but when you fleece your own taxpayers just because they balk at raising taxes is a sure way to disaster.
Remember Andy Griffith?
Cops have always been good guys. They stand between you and criminals. They protect you from danger. We always tell our kids to look for a cop if they are in trouble. Anymore I don’t know about that. I can’t say that my son has the warm fuzzies for cops every since one chased him into our driveway and ticketed him after he unfastened his seat belt when he turned into our block. Now after his recent ticket, I don’t think his first thought is that the cops are my friend. I don’t think he is alone in that thought. I don’t have much respect for cops with a mission to collect my money either. That isn’t what I pay taxes for. It doesn’t make me feel secure that they are still spending any time stopping real crime. I am suspicious about their prime directive and I no longer trust them.
The breakdown of civilization
For me that is the problem with turning cops into cash cows because what make civil society work is the belief that wrong doing will be punished and that the cops will protect us. It is hard to hold that belief when all around we see that the cops see us as merely as sheep to be fleeced.