Thursday, February 09, 2006

Stealth Detterent

I want to ask everyone a question.

Is speeding against the law in order to increase public safety, or just as an incredibly efficient money spinner for the Police department?

I never used to be this cynical, but now I’m starting to lean towards the ‘money spinner’ idea.

While browsing the net this morning, I came upon an article that interested me greatly. Apparently, right here in South Carolina (Mount Pleasant to be exact), the Police have decided that unmarked cars aren’t enough.

The highway patrol now owns a pick-up truck, complete with baby seat, with the sole purpose of catching speeders.

I quote: “For many drivers, the first alert they get is when the blue lights flash.”

Ok, let me try and make sense of this:

--- --- --- --- ---

Once upon a time, cars where invented. People started to drive them too fast, and people got hurt.

“This can’t be allowed to happen!” Roared the King of the Road. “From this day forward, it shall be an offence unto me to drive too fast! People who do shall have to part with their hard earned doubloons, for people do not like to have their money taken from them!”

And so it was.

However, the King of the Road did not have in his employ enough Knights of the Road, and the peasantry realized that it was unlikely that they would get caught while driving too fast.

“Damn and Blast it!” Roared the King of the Road, again. “This will simply not do!”

And so the King hired artists to sit atop tall poles, and paint pictures of drivers that drove past them at too great a pace. He set his knights in strategic positions and had them lay in wait.

For a time, many of the peasantry got caught, and there was a great deluge of hard earned doubloons into the King’s coffers.

It appeared, however, that the peasantry was not slowing down, as they had brains enough to simply memorize where the pole-sitting artists where placed, and simply slow down as they passed them. The Knights where more difficult to avoid, but there still were not enough of them.

“Bugger it.” Said the Peasantry. “Screw those Knights! For they where not on my way to work yesterday, so chances are they will not be there today.”

And so, the doubloon deluge slowed down, and very few peasants got caught.

Back at the Kings Chamber, an argument was taking place:

“Sire!” Said Sir Commonsense. “This is not working! The people are still driving too fast! Perhaps, if we are so concerned about public safety, we should offer some form of incentive instead of punishment! Maybe a $100 tax break for drivers who receiveth not a ticket in the year, or perhaps government funded lower insurance rates for safe drivers! For, you see, the chances of getting caught speeding are too remote for many of the peasants to contemplate! They believe that the risk of running afoul of one of the Road Knights is simply too small to worry about!”

However, the King was too busy counting the mountains of doubloons that had arrived in his chamber.

“What we need,” said the King, “Is a few special Knights.”

“Ah, I see, Sire!” Said Sir Commonsense. “A few knights whose steeds are very visible and well marked. A knight you will see for miles. One, who by his very presence, will make every driver around him slow down, and thereby make driving much safer for all who are near him! A Master stroke, sire! The monies from your pole-sitting-artists could easily fund a few hundred of them!”

“Bugger that!” Exclaimed the King. “For how can we squeeze more money out of the little bastards if they see the Knight coming?”

Sir Commonsense visibly sagged.

“But surely the point of this is to protect and serve, My Leige? To make our roads safer? More knights on the road means less speeding and law-breaking in general, surely?”

“You’re missing the point, Sir Commonsense.” Said the King. “I want to put Knights out on the road that look just like the peasantry! For when the peasants do not know that a Knight is among them, they will speed, get caught, fined…and that memory and pain of the fine will act as a deterrent to stop them from speeding.”

“As opposed to the deterrent of seeing a bloody great police car in their rear view mirror?”

“That will stop them speeding, Sir Commonsense, but it will not allow us to ‘catch them in the act’, as it were, and punish them accordingly.”

“So, sire, what you’re saying is, rather than simply stop the crime from happening in the first place, you want to allow the peasantry to commit the crime, endanger themselves and others, so we can then swoop down and fine them?”


“So, Sire, in essence, your plan to stop speeding is to make sure the peasants speed, in the hope that punishing them for it, will stop them doing it?”

“I fail to see the problem you’re having grasping this simple concept, Commonsense.”

“Well, isn’t that a bit like burning down a populated building, to show the people in the building how dangerous fire is, to make sure they don’t accidentally set fire to the building they’re in…which is already on fire?”

“Exactly! Now, please leave, Sir Commonsense, I want to get into my new solid gold jacuzzi.”  


MC Etcher said...

Public safety. Money from tickets is just a bonus.

OzzyC said...

Awwwwww, did Paulius get busted for speeding?

Paulius said...

Actually, I didn't. I've never had a speeding ticket...and considering my drivers licence was only valid for 90 days in the USA, I haven't driven in well over a year.

I just found it a little suspicious that the police spend so much time and energy trying to catch speeders, instead of stopping them speed in the first place.