Speed Up!

I took full advantage of a beautiful day last weekend to take in the sights and sounds, feel the warm sun on my face and take a nice long drive to relax and unwind. I did this, in part, knowing the same scenario could not play out this coming weekend.

You see, it’s the end of the month, and that can only mean one thing. It’s time for police everywhere to meet their quotas and you, my friends, are the perfect marks to pump some much needed money into the coffers of your local law enforcement agencies.

Let’s just skip the niceties here, shall we? Everyone knows cops have a quota to meet and everyone knows that (most) cops don’t reach whatever pre-designated number that may be as the time to switch the calendar page draws nearer.

So what would you do in that situation? Well, you’d make sure every car that passes in front of you gets a ticket, that’s what! Once you factor in the folks who will contest the infraction (and, of course, lose in court) and those who just flat-out won’t pay, you’ll still be left with a large percentage of honest, tax-paying citizens whom you’ll be able to screw into funding your holiday office parties and weekends at the shooting range.

Look, my problem isn’t with the need for cash. I think we’re all in that boat about now. It’s not even with the sleazy tactics (as mentioned above) by which cops go about getting that cash. It’s the lies, the got-dang lies that have me seeing red!

Any line-towing officer will tell you traffic stops are all about ‘safety.’ Of course, they seem to forget about their quest for the public welfare when a fellow officer speeds past them doing 20 over the limit, or when they, themselves, are late for a dinner date with the wife, so decide to get a bit of a lead foot (and perhaps turn on the lights, if only to get there faster).

No one likes to get a speeding ticket. But wouldn’t it be nice if once, just once, instead of giving you some long spiel about safety, how “the road belongs to all of us,” etc. the cop actually let you know what was really going on?

OFFICER: “Do you know why I stopped you?”
YOU: “I was going 10 mph over the limit. I’m sorry.”
OFFICER: “Oh, I don’t care about that. We need money, see, and you’re going to give it to us.”

 Simple, straight to the point. They need money, we have it, and if we want to keep getting to work and to pick up the kids on time, we’ll pay the cash and be on our way. And if we don’t, our employers will find out soon enough, and then us ‘bad drivers’ will be out in the cold, searching for another job. There’s always some other sap who takes his lumps and pays out his hard earned money to keep his driving record clean. Your boss will just find another schlub to take your place. But that’s a topic for another day.

 If traffic citations and the process set up around them were about safety, everyone going five miles over the limit would be stopped. After all, they’re breaking the law, aren’t they? But the fact is stopping someone for going four or five miles an hour over the limit is not going to bring in a lot of cash. No agencies, no matter how unscrupulous, could warrant a charge of $75 per mile an hour over the limit.

Did you ever wonder why those “crotch-rocket” motorcycles never get stopped? It’s just not worth it, friends! By the time you get half the police force out, tracking down some speeding biker, you’re already spending more in trumped-up salaries than you’d ever get in citation funds. That is if you’re lucky enough to stop the guy. So cops just turn a blind eye.

I was stopped a light last month, wondering how the scene would play out once the signal turned ‘green.’ I was in the far left lane, there was a cop in the middle lane and next to him was a guy on a sports motorcycle.

Well, the light finally turned ‘green’ and the biker was out of sight in less than ten seconds, boy I’ll tell you what! He even turned to ‘nod’ at the cop before speeding off. And what did the officer do? Nothing. Just kept on driving like nothing had happened. So much for “safety…”

Just so you don’t think I’m talking out of my rear end, I should let you know I’ve actually brought these very ideas up to a friend who happens to be a police officer. He’s a nice guy. I love to hang out with him. Just not when he’s in uniform.

After about an hour tirade, he was still droning on about ‘safety’ this and ‘public welfare’ that- really towing the company line.

Unfortunately for him, and the thousands of officers who choose to continually hide behind this farce, the statistics don’t lie.

More traffic tickets are written in the last week of any given month than during any previous week of the month. Sometimes the last week of a month will bring in two or more times the average amount of citations issued in the first three (or four) weeks combined!

The last weekend of the month, again speaking purely on statistics, routinely features the most speeding ticket write-ups over a two day period than during any consecutive two day period in the entire month. And forget about holidays! Every holiday and long weekend is like Christmas for the police departments! That’s when they get the gift of money from you and me and Cousin Joe and everyone in between.

Just to recap, I’m not against cops. I’m not against rules and laws. I don’t have some pro-reckless driving agenda. I’m not even against the methods cops use to get their money. Everybody has bills to pay, after all.

I just wish we could be a little more transparent about things. Next time I get pulled over for speeding, instead of being told to “stay safe out there,” I’d love it if just once we could all be real about the situation. I’m waiting for that honest officer to tell me to keep speeding, because he’s got two kids in college.

Would I be happy about paying the ticket? Of course not. Would I respect him (or her) to all get-out for ‘laying it on the line’ and ‘keeping it real?’ You’re got-dang right I would.

You’re got-dang right I would.

by Peter P. Gaseoustania; Gaseoustania Tonight


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