03 June 2008

Dogs on Dixie

A couple weeks ago, I got pulled over by one rather large waste of money in a uniform. Speed traps are not only insulting to drivers. They also reduce the policemen working them to traffic machines. Were I not one of only five cars on Dixie Highway at the time, I might agree that they were doing something to benefit other drivers. Clearly, the event was more a fundraiser for the city than a declaration of road safety. Unfortunately for me, I was the guy paying more attention to the road and less attention to my speedometer; as a result, I am penalized for...accelerating to pass another car.

The police"man" stepped into the road to direct me over. In an alternate universe, I plowed straight through his ass. Luckily for him, I'm a safe driver in this one. As he cited me for "unlawful speeding," I complained to his partner in legal crime. The partner listening to my loose mouth claimed he's never been pulled over since becoming a policeman. Maybe he was telling the truth. Maybe he wasn't. Either way, he will probably never know how I felt in that moment. And he'll certainly never know what it's like to pay an exorbitant amount of money so Chief Hog can meet the monthly quota.

It's a funny thing about Dixie Hwy. Going north, the speed limit is 35. Going south, it's 40. Guess which way I was going. Yep, 52 in the 35. Like I said, I wasn't on constant speedometer watch (because I prefer to watch the road, you know, that direction my car is headed). I can't honestly say whether I hit 52 or not. I probably did. What I refuse to believe, however, is that 35 is a reasonable speed limit for Dixie Hwy. The wide, grassy median sports a north-south train track while industries and establishments line the road sides. Where's the residentiality that would warrant 35, or even 40mph going the other way?

Traffic cops know where to put the speed traps. They put them where the speed limit seems inappropriately under-set. Then they suck in their stomachs against the shaded side of a building and wait for the fastest of the few to come along. I was only trying to go somewhere and be productive. I'm not against policing Florida drivers. I'm just curious why the traffic police can't focus their authority on the drivers like the ones cutting me off with a fist in the air or the ones tailgating me with a phone in their ear? It is counter-logic to only penalize someone for driving over a certain speed. Seems to me, it's not necessarily how fast I drive; it's how I drive. I don't think radar guns can detect when I have both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.

Did you know it is illegal to refuse signing a traffic ticket? When the issuing cop handed me the ticket for my signature, I was fuming fucking mad, so I took the clipboard and drew a fast line as my signature. He informed me I was required by law to sign as it appears on my license. I told him it didn't matter if I did, like it doesn't really matter what you do on a credit card line. In excited motion, he opened my door and ordered me out of the car, threatening me with arrest. I think I actually saw semen seeping through his pants.

I knew anything that followed would not proceed my way if I got out of the car. Fighting hollow citations is far more effective than fighting power-hungry humans.The badge on his shirt gives him the power to do almost anything he wants. If he saw me as angry (which I was), he has the authority to tase me, shoot me, beat me, or do whatever he deems necessary. And then he'll charge me for "resisting arrest" and whatever official name they give "not signing a traffic citation." If I'm lucky he will forget about the "unlawful speeding" offense. I don't agree with this fact of law, but I recognize its unfortunate presence. so in an amazing moment of sudden humility, I told him, "Fine. Give it here. I'll sign your bullshit."

Most everyone I know is nice to the police who pull them over, but I'm telling you, you are making a mistake. Think about the long run. Any courtesy you show them only adds to the power they feel. And they are not just doing their jobs. I'm vomitingly tired of hearing that line. If someone doesn't want to feel the wrath of the people, then that person should not take a relatively comfy job in public service. They work for us, so they should be able to listen to our heart-felt criticism without retreating behind their authority.

Nuff said. Obviously this is a sore subject for me. I had to get the good news out about baby z before I could handle these emotions. In closing, I'd just like to say to traffic cops all over the land...

Get a job, buddy. What you're doing now is not work. It's robot-ing for an organization that steals the other kids' lunch money. Now, if you get out there and focus solely on dangerous drivers, then you will have earned my respect.

1 comment:

PantherSpoon said...

Your response is fairly typical of how I am sure most drivers feel. Good you got it out of your system somehow. Although you are breaking a very small law, it is still a law. I don't know how it is in Florida, but where I work, it is nearly impossible to cite someone for tailgating or following too closely. Keep in mind that we (police officers) would need to pull over the person who is being tailgated. Also the person would have to testify in court if necessary.
We here should do like they do in Europe. They have places where there is no speed limit (or pretty high) and places that if you go over the limit by just 1 mph you can be fined. It is dumb to have a "limit" that can routinely be broken.
Most police officers, at least the ones that I work with are not power hungry. I hope that ALL police officers understand that you treat someone right because it is the right thing to do. Someday you never know when you need a friend, be it in or out of the uniform.
Well, I think that is enough for now. Mike told me to read your post and I'm glad I did. Hope to talk to you soon. Can't wait to see your little boy/girl.