Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The suburban traffic-ticket racket
Either easy money for the state through the fines or
A policeman named Officer Kanapsky made... $21,562 over his regular pay just by standing around in court. The more tickets he issued, especially for minor issues that outraged people are likely to challenge in court, the more money he made. You and I — his employers, so to speak — are paying a premium for his court time, which is why he spends his patrolling time trying to goad people into going to court. The policeman is being paid time and a half to waste our time and to cause our insurance rates to rise.
Makes me think Hans Monderman had a point. (Libertarian traffic engineering!) Of course the state won’t have it.
It strikes you immediately when you are stopped by a policeman that there is a huge disparity of power at work here. You are effectively captured by them. You must comply no matter what. They have the legal right to use any method to keep you quiet and docile and to punish you to the point of death if you resist.
Believe it or not I’ve had one — a grizzled ex-soldier type about a head taller and (at the time) two stone heavier than me — try to pick an argument with me.

(Not a city cop: they deal with real problems and I’ve always found them polite and helpful.)

I was reminded of that recently when I saw one of those trashy cop shows on the box. (A kind of schadenfreude entertainment and indoctrination all at once, and cheaper to make than hiring writers and actors.) Almost all the calls and overnight jailings were for things that shouldn’t be crimes such as drugs, drunkenness and prostitution; at least in one case the men and women in uniform were picking on somebody I suspect is mildly retarded (which is why she, smaller than me, was crying like a child). Yes, I feel so safe.
In real life, however, crime prevention is due to the private sector: locks, alarm systems, and the like.
From via LRC.

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