Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, March 14, 2015

To Serve And Protect

So, I got pulled over by a Westchester County policeman this morning.

I was taking a group of students and faculty to JFK, departing at 5:30AM, for a flight to the Dominican Republic where they volunteer at an orphanage.  As the red and blue lights flashed, all I could think was "No good deed goes unpunished..."

The cop had been travelling at about 50-52 MPH in a 55 zone on the Hutchinson Parkway.  A group of cars snaked past him at 55, myself included.  He pulled out behind me and followed me for a while.  I kept it - pretty sure - between 55 and 60.  As we got near the 684 connection, I sped up to 65 with the rest of the traffic, and he pulled me over.

I did my best, "Aw shucks, office, I sure am sorry" all the while being glad that I'm a middle aged white man.  He let me off with a warning, which is good, because my Commercial Driver's License might not have tolerated a speeding violation.

But what was amazing was how incredibly belligerent the officer was.  He was basically screaming at me, impugning my intelligence, questioning my driving skills.

I haven't been in an accident or had a speeding ticket since my 20s.  I can drive a little fast at times, I admit it.  I stay as much as possible within 10 miles of the speed limit, since that's the rule of thumb to avoid tickets.  I was easily within 10 MPH of the limit when he was behind me.

For this I got treated like I was child molester.  Maybe his plan was always to warn me, and therefore he went with the "scare" option.  If I'm being charitable, I can give him that.  I was driving a little too fast, it was raining.  He wanted to scare me.

However, if I'm being objective, he was just being a colossal dick.  He had the power to give me a ticket, I was rolling over on my metaphorical back like a puppy, so he screamed at me for a few minutes and then pulled off.

As I've said, I've gotten tickets before in my teens and twenties.  Invariably, I was going far too fast.  And in those incidents, including going 83 in a 55 when I was 17, the officer treated me better than this guy today.  And as I said, I'm a middle class, middle aged white guy driving a Suburban on the Hutch.

Cops have become a nation unto themselves.

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