Breakin’ The Law….

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You can’t fight city hall, the saying goes – and it’s true. You’re at their mercy – and are forced to play by their rules. When you get a traffic ticket, for instance, you have to pretend to agree with the premise (i.e, that the law you were charged with violating is fundamentally legitimate) but you should be let off because of some extenuating factor, such as poor signage or your speedometer wasn’t reading accurately.  Your honor, I didn’t mean to speed… . It’s degrading to have to play out this pantomime but there’s not much choice because resistance – overt resistance – is futile.

However, evasion is still possible. And it can make you glad.

There is a stop sign at the terminus of a T intersection I know very well because every day I run that stop sign. Well, sort of. As I approach the T, I look left – you can see down the road a good half mile – and if no one’s coming, I make my right turn without coming to a complete stop beforehand, as required by “the law.” There’s no good reason to come to a complete stop – other than it being “the law.” And I do my best to evade and ignore “the law” when “the law” conflicts with reasonableness and common sense – and because I chafe at obeying anything “just because.” There is no reason to come to a complete stop; you lose momentum and that wastes gas – no small thing these days. If one can see that there’s no opposing traffic, why stop?

I know – because it’s “the law.”

Here’s another:

There is a traffic light at a certain intersection. If you sit at this intersection waiting for the green light to make a left turn you will wait a very long time. The bureaucrats who time this signal have it set so that it does not give the drivers waiting to go left a green light for 5 minutes, from one cycle to the next. And it often skips cycles – so that opposing traffic gets the green but you don’t. If you obey “the law,” you may be sitting there for as long as 10 minutes – staring at the empty road in either direction, servilely obeying a light.

Because it’s “the law.”

I routinely run this light – because I find the prospect of just sitting there for 5-10 minutes for absolutely no reason (other than “the law”) to be idiotic. My time – and the $4 per gallon gas in my tank – are valuable to me. Much more valuable than obeisance to “the law.” So, if my V1 radar detector (also against “the law”) and my eyes tell me there’s no cops and no traffic and it’s safe to proceed, I will proceed.

And boy does it feel good!

Not just the “getting away with it,” either. (Though that is enough all by itself. Each time you “get away with it,” you amortize the costs of the times you didn’t. So, for example, if I “speed” every day and get away with it, the occasional ticket I get works out to mere pennies per offense.)

But there is also the empowering satisfaction that comes of exercising one’s own judgment – and of exercising initiative – as opposed to the doughy, filmy-eyed passivity that “the law” demands.

Too bad so many Americans have forgotten what it feels like.

And I think that is precisely the point. “The law” wants doughy, filmy-eyed passivity. It persecutes the exercise of judgment – even when there’s no denying the objective rightness of the judgment exercised. For example, if a cop witnessed me “running the light” (or “failing to come to a complete stop” at that stop sign) a ticket – and fat fine – would be coming my way, irrespective of the fact that no harm was caused or even theoretically possible. My pointing out that no opposing traffic was around – that I’d looked first and proceeded with due caution – would cut no ice even if he knew all that to be true (having witnessed it himself). The only thing that matters is “the law.”

Which is why trampling such laws underfoot whenever possible is so important – in addition to being satisfying. It is – well, was – part of the American Way.

Those over a certain age will recall the National 55 MPH speed limit, in force for about 20 long years – from about 1974 to 1995. To their credit, most Americans thumbed their nose at this “law” whenever they could get away with it. It was a stupid law – an evil law, because it criminalized reasonable driving and became the pretext for stealing – yes, that’s the right word – millions of dollars annually from drivers in the form of “speeding” tickets and the subsequent ratcheting upward of their insurance premiums on the basis of these tickets. It was outrageous and contemptible – and for once, the American people stood up to it. By not paying attention to it. By ignoring “the law” – and driving at reasonable, safe speeds (speeds that are now also legal speeds once more, it’s worth pointing out).

Why shouldn’t the same go for other mule-headed laws such as the ones demanding full stops at stop signs in the middle of nowhere, when it’s clear there’s no reason (other than it being “the law”) to come to a complete stop?  Why should we sit like cattle at lights that never change (or which take forever to change) when there’s no reason (other than it being against “the law”) to look, then proceed?

If enough of us began to treat with similar contempt the other laws – the many laws – that plague us but which are just as silly as “Drive 55″ (or Prohibition) we could shame and ridicule these laws into the history books. The stumbling block is overcoming the passivity and submissiveness that is now the American archetype. We didn’t use to be this way – and we don’t have to be this way forever. You say you’re sick of the suffocating, controlling New World Order that’s congealing all around you? Defy it! Not with bullets – but with initiative and common sense.  And ridicule. These tools are still available to us.

If only enough of us were willing to pick them up… .

Throw it in the Woods? 

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  250 comments for “Breakin’ The Law….

  1. mikehell
    March 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    I ridicule cops, politicians, judges, bureaucrats and any one else or anything associated with the state. It’s the only weapon I got.

    • Renzo Daniele
      March 23, 2012 at 1:42 am

      I agree in part. The government does over regulate suto driving. On the other hand, in countries where there is little or no regulation the result is a lot of body bags and calls for the meat wagon. As for the author’s conscious decision to go through a stop sign at a tee intersection, consider this: the idiot who sees you do it will then decide it’s OK to go through ALL stop signs,even a busy, 4-way stop intersections. I know the author will say the idiot isn’t his responsibility and he’s right. On the other hand, when the idiot runs a stop sign and kills the author’s wife and kids I hope he won’t complain that the traffic laws aren’t strict enough.

      • Chris
        March 23, 2012 at 4:27 am

        What a ridiculous pseudo-reality. The idiot will do this without seeing it done by the author or anyone else because we have Hollywood movies to show us such illegal actions. The idea that his reasonable illegality makes for unreasonable illegality is laughable. The only person that “might” truly learn that all lights can and should be run after seeing him do it is his own child, and I can tell you the author will have taught him the reason behind the seeming madness.

        • March 23, 2012 at 10:02 am

          Chris,

          I can’t tell from your post whether you agree with the article … but, to be clear: I never advocated ignoring all laws, just because they’re laws. I advocate ignoring stupid laws – stupid, because there’s no objective reason to obey them. The stop sign down the road from me, for example. I can see down the road to the left for half a mile. If no traffic is coming from my left, there is no reason (in terms of safety) to come to a complete stop before turning right onto this road. Do you disagree?

          Now, if one comes to a stop sign and there is traffic, or you can’t tell whether traffic is coming (or how fast it is coming) then of course you ought to obey the sign/signal. But then, you’re really obeying common sense – just as in my other example above.

        • Randy
          May 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm

          We have ‘Left On Green Arrow Only’ intersections here. This serves a useful purpose for four to five hours, twice a day. The rest of the time it’s a BIG gas waster. Most of those intersections have ‘traffic cameras’ that ‘nail’ you, even at 2:00 AM, when you can see two miles in each directon from the light. Can you spell REVENUE SOURCE??

          • dom
            May 7, 2012 at 9:30 pm

            Oh yeah.. Add it to the list brother!

      • D Bro
        March 23, 2012 at 4:54 am

        I float all the stop signs I can. There is a world of difference between running a stop sign at 10 to 30 mph.
        I do it without damage to one’s property, that is the difference. This idiot you refer to doesn’t respect life and he or she is responsible for damages he or she does. I am sorry the world is full of inconsiderate idiots but I, you, and the rest of the world should not suffer because of this.

        • dom
          March 23, 2012 at 5:03 am

          There are a few stop signs I go though on a daily basis and know the roads they’re on well. Anyhow, I think I’ve stopped at them just a hand full of times in the past five years (since I’ve lived here). Even have a few lights I’ll stop at then just run (sometimes I don’t even stop). Means nothing to me and I don’t feel anything from it. Just trying to drive.

        • March 23, 2012 at 9:55 am

          I tried to make it as clear as possible in the article that provided one can see clearly and there is no opposing traffic in sight, then it’s perfectly reasonable to proceed without coming to a complete stop. I would never advocate just blasting through a stop sign or light when one could not be sure other traffic wasn’t coming.

      • UncleSim
        March 23, 2012 at 5:17 am

        Actually, in several European countries that have loosened their driving restrictions and intersection controls, drivers have become even more careful, and accidents have decreased. There are also far fewer accidents on Germany’s unlimited-speed autobahns than US interstates per mile driven.

        Idiots are quickly weeded out in life/death situations, and the few that aren’t do an adequate job of educating those who can be educated about the dangers of idiocy.

        If you ride a motorcycle, you’ll soon realize that you actually are responsible for avoiding the idiots too. If bikers can learn to deal with it, so can you.

        • March 23, 2012 at 9:49 am

          Yep. I accept the truth of this based on the logic of it as well as my personal experience (as a rider and a driver).

          If you encourage and reward competence and initiative, you get more of it. And the reverse. The reason American drivers are so poor (in general) is because the system encourages poor driving. Passivity. Just put it in Drive and gape. Let the car do everything. Obey the Law at All Times. Never question any law because all laws are right and proper by dint of being laws.

      • March 23, 2012 at 10:19 am

        C’mon Renzo – Each of us is responsible for exercising our own judgment. I will not be bound – dumbed down – to the level of Clovers. This argument of yours is of a piece with the argument deployed by Clovers for “gun control.” Idiot Smith can’t handle a firearm safely/responsibly – so everyone should be debarred firearms in the interests of “safety.”

        Please.

  2. will
    March 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Very timely topic, just last Tues i was pulled over for doing just what was suggested in the article. I came to a T intersection with a stop sign I know very well. I was giong to go right and as I rolled up to it I looked left and there were no cars, this is in farm country in PA. I could literally and clearly see in excess of a half mile away so I didn’t even touch the brake because it was clear as long as a Bugatti Veryon wasn’t approaching at top speed I was fine. There was an unmarked car coming hte other way that I could see pulled a u-turn behind me (without turning his lights or turn signal on) and pulled me over about 1/4 mile down the road. He asked why I didnt’ stop, I said “because it was obviously clear.” He then lectured me about it because my 7 month old son was in the back seat and then instructed me that it was against the law and it was unsafe. I then asked “who was endangered?” He replied “everyone”, so I then asked if he meant “everyone in York or everyone in PA?”
    Needless to say he didn’t let me off with a warning, but I knew that before I was pulled over.
    Not only do they want the populace to be servile adn obedient they also want a police force that will simply “follow orders” and not be involved in making judgements.
    I know I did nothing wrong, other than not checking to make sure a cop wasn’t coming the other way. But that defeats the whole purpose of “law”. The law is to protect individual rights, if no rights were infringed upon (no victim) then how was a crime committed? The first book all police officers should read is Bastiat’s The Law.
    I haven’t received a ticket of any kind in nearly a decade and was appauled at the fact that the fine was $30, but the ticket itself with all the added “fees” came to $114.

    • March 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks, Will – and, I feel your pain. The same thing has happened to me and as you say, the infuriating thing is not so much being fleeced, it’s the noxious lecturing about “safety” by the costumed clown doing the fleecing. I much prefer the Third World model – honest corruption. They just take your money. No lectures about “safety.” Just – give me your money.

      • Chris
        March 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm

        To paraphrase Morpheus,

        “What is SAFE? How do you define SAFE?”

        I believe that the modern popular concept of safety is purposefully left undefined by those who are its most fervent, vocal advocates.

        What people don’t seem to understand is that safety is an EMOTIONAL, RELATIVE, and HIGHLY SUBJECTIVE concept. It isn’t definable with hard lines and edges.

        For example, yes, I’m up on the roof without a fall harness, but no one’s shooting at me.

        Safety advocates are highly disingenuous; they don’t care about safety any more than I do, but they use safety as a tool to advance their own quest to aggrandize themselves illegitimately.

        If we, as a society, were to draw a line and say “all that is on this side of the line is safe, and all on that side is not safe,” the safety advocates could not use safety to their advantage by making the word mean whatever they want it to mean.

        They promote the idea that we can and should eliminate all risk to fearful parents, who, whipped into a frothing foam of anxiety, vote for and donate money to those who propose to keep their children safe, whatever that means and no matter the cost.

        Robert Heinlein described the way modern law treats people in the name of Safety and The Children as “like saying grown men must live on skim milk because the baby can’t have steak.”

        • That One Guy
          March 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm

          This article and this comment together surely have Clover swinging from the chandelier.

          This is a good thing.

          • March 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm

            Let’s hope so!

        • Tor Munkov
          March 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm

          Uncensored Froth Alert.

          I only have sisters and daughters. I don’t know how I’d feel if my brother Larry, felt compelled to check into Agent Smith’s hospital and emerge as my sister Lana Wachowski.

          There really is a matrix, and it has something to do with our immutable ego animalistic hardwired essence, manipulated by the Human Farmers of the one world Teletubby Planters Association.

          Just ask Larry nee Lana Wachowski about the matrix.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wachowskis

    • Allen
      March 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      The cops are just procedural robots-neither thinking nor acting without the indoctrinated tripe that emanates from their mouth.
      Hey, anyone who volunteers to put a target on their chest can’t be a Princeton graduate!

    • Larry
      March 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      The purpose for stopping and waiting until the light turns green is two-fold: (1) to promote the smooth flow of traffic and (2) to not endanger human life. When you MUST remain stopped at a light where there is zero traffic then the traffic light is breaking the law because at that time, it is stopping you for no reason and that is against the law.

      When we were children, our mothers taught us well. Our mothers taught us that when we came to a corner to stop, look both ways and when the road was clear and only when the road was clear were we to then cross the road. I don’t think any of us forgot that in our older age.

      I think a ticket for stopping then proceeding through a red light when no traffic (or people) is present could be fought on the grounds that when you are compelled to obey a mindless machine for no reason then that demand is illegal. Of course, most of us neither have the time or the resources to pursue this action.

      My two cents worth,
      -Larry

      • Noel
        March 23, 2012 at 3:08 am

        Excellent comment. Very good logical thinking.

      • freak
        March 23, 2012 at 3:41 am

        “The purpose for stopping and waiting until the light turns green is two-fold: (1) to promote the smooth flow of traffic and (2) to not endanger human life.”

        http://mises.org/daily/4745

        “Martin Cassini, a photographer and advocate for road deregulation, has produced a marvelous series of videos documenting the results of the Cabstand Junction Trial that started in September of 2009 in North Somerset, in Great Britain. The videos, which can be viewed on his website FitRoads.com and on YouTube, show the remarkable before and after results of the experiment.

        Without traffic lights regulating intersections, congestion has disappeared and accidents are virtually nonexistent. With the exception of a few who still assume right of way, drivers are courteous and give way to pedestrians and other drivers.”

        Care to rethink that statement?

        • dom
          March 23, 2012 at 3:54 am

          That is an amazing video!

        • freak
          March 28, 2012 at 3:26 am

          http://lewrockwell.com/berwick/berwick39.1.html

          I was recently accosted by a brainwashed statist in Toronto, Kanada, who seemed to think he had me cornered on the perfect argument for why we need government.

          “What about traffic lights!” he shouted, flailing his arms in the air.

          “What about them?” I responded.

          “We need traffic lights, you have to admit that!” he said, smuggly as though he had just completed a deft checkmate against Garry Kasparov.

          “I don’t know. I don’t know that we need traffic lights,” I responded, honestly. “I’ve been to many places where they don’t use them and things work fine… in fact, I prefer it. Nothing is so soul draining as sitting for minutes at a red light when there is no other traffic around for miles,” I continued.

          “Of course we need traffic lights!” he stammered, “And who is going to do it if government doesn’t!”

          Well, I have just returned from another fair sized city, Salta, Argentina, with a population of about half a million. There are hardly any traffic lights in the entire city. There are no stop signs. People just go when they can go and don’t when they cannot. And it works fine. I didn’t see any accidents, didn’t hear one car honk or see any signs of “road rage”. That road rage, by the way, is caused by the thousands of rules that the slaves are forced to adhere to… so when one slave doesn’t submit to one of the rules, the other slaves quickly attack them for being less subjucated than themselves.

          • March 28, 2012 at 10:05 am

            “….road rage, by the way, is caused by the thousands of rules that the slaves are forced to adhere to… so when one slave doesn’t submit to one of the rules, the other slaves quickly attack them for being less subjugated than themselves.”

            Very astute point –

            You’ll see the same thing at airports now, too.

            America is among the most controlled and scripted places on this earth.

  3. Randall Beck
    March 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I am also amazed at how many “sheeple” will stand at an intersection with no cars coming waiting to cross the street because the “orange hand” is telling them not to. They look at me like I’m from Mars when I step into the street in this circumstance.

    • Toldev
      March 22, 2012 at 3:15 am

      I have also noticed many people just walking out into the street when they get the white light. For that reason, I think the walk/don’t walk lights might cause more vehicle/pedestrian accidents than what they prevent.

      • March 22, 2012 at 9:00 am

        It’s one thing to have a signaled system for holding traffic so that pedestrians (especially those pedestrians who because of age or disability can’t move quickly) have an opportunity to cross a busy street. But it’s quite another to insist that everyone mindlessly obey a stupid light. Yet that’s just what “the law” does in fact demand.

        I’d be in jailor much worse if I had to deal with this stuff more often. Which is why we retreated to the very rural country, where there’s much less of it and to a great extent you can avoid most of what’s here (such as “buckle up for safety” laws).

        • Paul Mollon
          March 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm

          Funny thing about buckle up for safety laws. Back in the early 60′s when I purchased my first car, we had to purchase seat belts in the aftermarket and install them ourselves. Now, although I still believe they’re a worthwhile safety device, I’m always tempted to not do them up, just to flaunt the “authorities”. Of course “the law” is for my own good…who could doubt that our politicians, bureaucrats and cops work in selfless duty for “the good of us all”.

          • March 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm

            I refuse to buckle up on principle. Screw ‘em. This is one of my lines in the sand. The next one will be ObamaCare or gun confiscation. I have no desire to end up in a conflict, let alone jail. But each of us has a point at which we won’t take something anymore. Those are some of mine.

      • Rob
        March 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm

        Fuck yeah. When it turns white, there are more cars gunning for you. Right on red, etc…

      • Sarah W.
        March 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

        I ride my bike everywhere, and the two times I have almost been hit by a car where when I had the white pedestrian signal and forgot to look, and had cars turning left in front of me.

    • Bob Robertson
      March 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      My only run in with a cop in the last year was because I crossed the street when the light turned green (but not the cross-walk visual/audio signal).

      The cop was nearly apoplectic that I didn’t turn around or stop when he was yelling “Hey! You there! Stop! Hey!” etcetera, because there was no indication he was talking to me and stopping in the middle of the road would have been dangerous.

      So he assaulted me (in the middle of the road) by grabbing my arm, pulling me to face him, demanding to know if I was capable of hearing him. The arrest ensued, “detained” on the sidewalk for 10 minutes while this piss-ant punk called in to verify warrants for my arrest, making sure I was now on their list, and lectured me that the entire apparatus of the State exists solely “for [my] safety”.

      Finding that for some strange reason there were no warrants out for my incarceration, he “let me go”, with additional lectures about obeying “the law”, generously not issuing me the $75 moving violation ticket for walking across the street, ending with the words, “Be safe!”

      “No” I replied.

      “What?” was his remarkably astute response.

      “Better a dangerous liberty than a peaceful servitude” I informed him.

      “I don’t get it” he said, so I simply turned and walked away.

      No, I am utterly certain he doesn’t “get it”.

      • Andrew F.
        March 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm

        I had the exact same experience in L.A. many years ago. Asshole cop wanted to show his power over street-scum me.

        • dutch
          March 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm

          After more than 60 years on this planet, it is my considered opinion that most Cops wear body armor because they should.

          Piss-ant punks? You betcha. Power trips? You betcha. Corrupt pathological liars? Yup.

          How many times have any of you known a situation where one cop lied and the other swore to it? This is routine, and done to protect each other from the consequences of being a piss-ant punk. Most Cop shootings occur when the Officer is being an asshole to some guy that has had enough of being treated like one.

          Consider well that returning combat veterans gravitate toward the badge; Do you want some barely wrapped guy that just spent 6 or 12 or more months in the sandbox conducting house to house rousts of hostiles to be the guy in your mirror for speeding? I don’t think so.

          Protect and serve my ass. Protect each other with self-serving fabrications is more like the truth.

          Nothing bur Revenue agents for the REAL clowns downtown.

      • Tor Munkov
        March 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm

        I nominate you for EPAUTOS hero of the day. BADLTAPS is our new rallying cry. Dissenters, read on for your Shining New Reality…

        Newz from da future year 2017…

        During Obama’s third term, President O and Vice President Bloomberg passed the following law, 87% liked on Facebook.gov and thereby duly enacted:

        Protocol 41 Ambulation Permit

        Due to continued social decay within the UN Debtornet, it behooves us to move past the current monitoring system of force plates and motion capture device to more explicitly regulate human trafficing at an individual level.

        There are now 75 terrorist or anarchist detonation and property destruction events per second in the UN member states. There are over 500,000 illegal contraband transportation crimes committed by citizens carrying untaxed or illegal goods per minute. Therefore:

        All forms of burden bearing, running, jogging, skipping, hopping, cartwheeling, are hereby forbidden, unless special endorsement has been obtained by your local department of ambulation. Motion involving a high center of mass can be dangerous and unsafe to yourself and others.

        All forms of crawling and scurrying on all four limbs are still generally legal and allowed, unless you are required by law to wear a red placard.

        Legal pedestrians must be in compliance with all laws and statutes, and have a fully paid health card and state identification card on their person at all times.

        Anyone not approved must wear a yellow placard at all times, and use use only crawling and scurrying on four limbs to move. Any peace officer is allowed to electronically or physically detain a person to inspect the nuchal ligament at the back of their head for evidence of any type of illicit upright gait.

        Anyone not in compliance and fully paid, must wear a red placard and remain stationary, or pay a certified human trafficker to move them about. Repeat offenders mayl have their nuchal ligaments surgically immobilized or removed as court ordered.

        At all times, the head is to remain equidistant and parallel to the ground, and the hips are to follow a uniform sine curve during walking.

        Pedestrian Walking Protocols

        Birth – 17 years 5.4 km per hour
        18 – 54 years 5.0 km per hour
        55 – death 4.5 km per hour

        Legal Deviation Speed Limit 0.2 km per hour

        Handicap endorsement – anyone unable to comply with this schedule, is required to be certified and wear a handicap placard at all times while walking in public spaces, pavements, and in houses and yards with mortgages sold to federal agencies and underwriters.

        Jogger endorsement – pedestrian is certified, insured, and trained to move at a speed up to 6 km, for a time not to exceed 10 hours per day

        Health Star Jogger endorsement – pedestrian has doctor authorization of healthy lifestyle in addition to jogger qualifications, and allowed to move at a speed up to 8 km, for a time not to exceed 9 hours per day

        Runner endorsement – pedestrian meets all previous requirements and belongs to a local running association, and is allowed to move at a speed up to 12 km per hour, for a time not to exceed 8 hours per day.

        Marathoner endorsement – pedestrian meets all previous requirements and competes in a local marathon competition, and is allowed to move at speeds up to 14 km per hour.

        Miler endorsement – pedestrian meets all previous requirements and is a university certified runner of distances of one mile or more and is allowed to move at speeds up to 16 km per hour.

        Dasher endorsement – pedestrian meets all previous requirements and is union member of the National 100, 500, or 1000 yard Dash leagues and is allowed to move at speeds up to 18km per hour.

        It is estimated that terrorism and contraband trafficing will decrease significantly due to these simple rules of the roads and paths. We thank you for your patriotism and diligence.

  4. March 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I used to be in a profession where 50% of those involved ignored the law. Construction. When the real Estate market hit the cans all of that non-taxable income went away further depressing the real market for every consumable good. When the building and repair trades pick up again it will signal a new resurgence in consumer confidence because all of that non taxed income will be spent much more efficiently than an government could possible imagine.

  5. Matt
    March 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Your protest should be to refuse to pay the ticket, but do jail time instead. Paying the ticket feeds the beast, but going to jail takes money away from the beast making it less capable of similar future actions.

    I suspect this strategy works better in some states than others as I suspect some states aren’t as friendly or even allow that option. Most jails are already overcrowded so they credit quite a lot of money per day or hour of time stayed for the ticket.

    I learned of this accidentally when a friend was picked up on a bench warrant for outstanding tickets. The Houston police have an annual roundup and actually go to people’s last known addresses to arrest them for old ticket in order to get compliance with the beast. The Houston radio stations are complicit in this roundup telling people to pay their tickets or they may be arrested in the ticket roundup. In his case my friend didn’t have the funds so he served perhaps a day or less in jail for around $1,000 in fines. When the county let him out, the city wanted him for fines so he had to sit for a few hours there too. If my recollection is correct in 36 hours or less his fines were paid off for both the city and county. In most cases few people can earn $1,000 in 36 hours or less so not only is it a protest against the beast which weakens the beast (financially), it is also economically an intelligent move.

    • ExperienceVox
      March 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      1998, City of Houston offered no jail time for “voluntary” payment of 1,000,000 + unpaid tickets; at a nominal average fine + failure to appear + court cost = +/- $400: That’s FOUR-HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS ($400,000,000.00) OFF-BUDGET REVENUE – AND THAT’S ONLY UNPAID TICKETS!!! … Does spending $4,000,000 to $5,000,000 to get a 2-4-year, $200,000 to $300,000/year job make sense now?!?!

  6. joe1030
    March 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    You have to read what law has come to mean. They claim it is to protect us, wrong it is all about MONEY and POWER. They have to have jobs and funds to pay for law enforcement. Most of it is a complete waste, take SWAT teams which are a drain on all city budgets.

    • Chris
      March 20, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      Joe1030,

      Years and years ago, I worked at the gun counter of a sporting goods store and would actually read the government forms when there were no customers around to deal with.

      I always used to wonder about one of the questions that the buyer had to answer: “Are you a fugitive from justice?”

      And I used to think, does the form mean Justice or The Law?

      • March 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm

        “Are you a fugitive…”

        I’ve always wondered just how many people answer “yes” to that question. Seems silly to even ask, but then…

        Indeed, do as you will as long as you harm nobody.

  7. Nowherebeach
    March 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    In addition to ignoring the asinine 55mph speed limit, other traffic laws also change under the presssure of actual driving practices. “Right turn on red” became okay after countless people just started doing it.

    Another change is on the way in my area. Most people no longer wait their turn at 4-way stops if a car with legal priority signals an action that will not put the two of them in conflict. Thus, a car turning to the right will jump the Q if a car on his right is going streight or is turning to the left. Most cops just ignore the practice that is likely to be legal within a few years.

    • That One Guy
      March 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Hell I didn’t even know this was “illegull.” I’ve been doing it for years. Seemed like a common-sense way to speed up the flow. Guess that right there should have let me know it was verboten.

    • Bryan
      March 22, 2012 at 5:26 am

      I previously worked in the transportation industry analyzing and designing roadways. The “no turn on red” does have a purpose. If you’re in the northbound right turn lane and the westbound left turn lane is allowed to make u-turns, the “no turn on red” is needed to prevent both movements from occurring at the same time resulting in a collision.

      As for Eric’s traffic signal. There should be an analysis done on the signal to compute the appropriate cycle timing to maximize traffic flow. The signal could be set on a a strict cycle time or if it’s been updated, perhaps the sensor is not reading vehicles in the left turn lane. If it’s not working it will show that no vehicles are in queue and thus won’t allow the left turn lane cycle time. This obviously needs to be fixed.

      As for the traffic laws themselves, I agree that discretion should be utilized in their application. The preponderance for cops to give tickets just for the sake of revenue is ridiculous. If you’re clearly at an intersection with sufficient sight distance or on an open roadway where speeding just does not matter, there’s no viable reason for the issuance of traffic violations.

      • March 22, 2012 at 8:45 am

        That’s an entirely reasonable approach, Brian – I wish it were the rule rather than the exception!

        I suspect two factors are at play:

        First, regulations/laws based on the least common denominator. Instead of encouraging better driving, the system effectively rewards – and so encourages – passive, low-skilled driving. Which results in more dumbing down. Hit return, Repeat.

        Second, the profit/power motive. Much of traffic enforcement is about money – and the power that comes along with it. State/local government would lose a great deal of “revenue” if traffic law/enforcement were based on actually poor/dangerous driving vs. the myriad “technical fouls” that characterize the preponderance of “offenses.”

        • Bryan
          March 22, 2012 at 9:31 am

          Eric,

          I completely agree with you comments here. Now I can only speak of the region I worked in but what I’ve found is as such…

          Traffic flow and roadway design: Each jurisdiction has different guidelines and different method for analysis. Some are completely absurd and defy logic. Most are sensible and in all actuality, the local/state govt’s do try to design roadways to the best of their ability to optimize traffic flow. This was my responsibility. So all in all, they are trying to make the roads more efficient and safer (traffic signal warrants are conducted based on warrant criteria which takes into account previous accident data).

          Traffic signal modification: Jurisdictions are moving toward using synchronization for traffic flow. This synchronizes signals to allow for added cycle timing to major arterials in a conscious manner as to reduce stopping between intersections and improve traffic flow. A net positive.

          As you’ve alluded to, driving skill. This is more difficult to account for. Reaction time is generally figured to be around 0.5 to 4 seconds. Those are approximations and I don’t recall the exact numbers but it’s very close. Yes, 4 seconds accounts for grandma who shouldn’t have a license.

          Now these factors are just a fraction of what is used in determining roadway design. I have to analyze the roadway first, account for future conditions and then compute a level of service. If unsatisfactory, I have to look at right-of-way and roadway classifications and then propose mitigation measures to get the roadway to an acceptable level of service. Thee improvements must meet the roadway classifications as to not involve improvements that are not feasible. When all is said and done, these are the improvements that need to be made.

          Now, the gas tax was supposed to take care of this. It doesn’t. Developers, based on mathematical calculations I computed, then have to pay a fair share into the improvements to be made. So developers then pay for these roadway improvements to be made based on govt estimates.

          That briefly explains the process. As for law enforcement, yes the system rewards idiots that can’t drive. Those driving below the speed limit are more dangerous than those driving above it. The speed limit is to be set as such by the way: the 85th percentile speed of traffic flow. However, it can be easily manipulated. For instance, if you have a marked cop car on the side of the road taking speed surveys, people will slow down upon seeing it thus reducing speeds. Also, if you conduct the survey when speeds aren’t free flow (any congestion), speeds will be lower because of traffic conditions.

          As for the power/money motive, no argument here. It should be pretty obvious to anyone that it is how law enforcement works. Every time I see a cop sitting on the side of the road with his radar gun I can’t help but think to myself, “To protect and to serve, if that was true you should be trying to solve an actual crime, not passing out speeding tickets.”

          • March 22, 2012 at 9:48 am

            Yup – and here’s another:

            I’ve noticed (and written about) the disappearance of formerly legal passing zones in my area. They just paint ‘em over (double yellow) after repaving the road. There is no reason for this I can see other than the aforesaid ones: To create another ticketable “offense” for reasonable, safe driving. And to accommodate the people who probably should not be driving at all.

            It’s infuriating because they place good drivers in the position of having to choose between obeying a dumb law (such as not being able to legally pass an old coot doing 43 in a 55 – even though there’s no oncoming traffic – merely because DOT painted over what used to be a lawful passing zone) or ignoring the dumb law, passing the old coot and hoping no cop’s around to witness it.

            I got a V1 radar detector out of sheer frustration at being subject to ticketing at almost any time (because of the multitude of under-posted speed limits, dearth of legal passing zones, etc.). It was easily the best $400 I ever spent!

          • Bryan
            March 22, 2012 at 10:12 am

            I didn’t see an option to reply to your comment Eric so I just had to reply to my previous one.

            Yeah I agree with you. What I believe you are speaking of is a two lane undivided highway roadway. The ability to pass via the oncoming traffic lane is based on sight distance standards. Repavement of a roadway should not change this at all. So yes, it’s moreso a traffic trap than anything.

            I’m also interested in that V1 radar. I need to get ahold of that.

            What I see are two opposing forces. Those like me in my previous profession and law enforcement. We adhered to jurisdictional guidelines in an effort to make roadways safer as well as to increase traffic flow. Meaning, you can get from point A to point B quicker based on roadway levels of service.

            Then there’s law enforcement. Only looking to gain revenue based on laws they impose. Not our intention and just means for the state to impose power and gain revenue. So while there is a force for public benefit out there, there’s another force looking to gain profit off of minor infractions that in most cases have no bearing on actual “public safety”.

  8. Blake
    March 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    The other utterly ridiculous law is the left turn “green arrows” recently added to nearly every intersection. I partially understand why they were added. In busy intersections at rush hour, the left-turners get their own signal allowing the left turn lanes to clear.

    However, they’re really only needed, arguably, during rush hours. For the other 22 hours in the day, they are prohibiting perfectly safe left turns for the 90+% of the time they are red. The ones I’m particularly offended by (and make it a point to disobey) are the ones where the left turn is soild red for the left turn lane occupiers. They all seem to run for 24 hours as well. I guess 24 hours of “revenue” beats 2 any day for the armed tax feeders.

    Silly me – I thought we had technology capable of turning them off (or at least blinking red for God’s sake) for the other 22 hours.

    How many times I’ve been sitting behind a driver at 2:00 am who can’t turn left because his left turn light is red makes me want to scream, and I usually DO scream. No traffic at all for as far as the eye can see, through traffic lights are green, and here we sit, burning gas and time.

    • Bryan
      March 22, 2012 at 9:58 am

      You’re speaking of protected vs permitted phasing. In order to determine cycle phasing the rules are as such (at least in my jurisdictions): If the product of a left turn in vehicle movements and the opposing thru movements exceeds 100,000, protected phasing is required. This means dedicate left turn movements. In order to determine this, AM and PM peak hour counts are conducted. The AM peak hour is generally 6- 8 AM and the PM peak hour is 4-6 PM. Of this, counts are taken for each movement (12 movements in all for a 4 legged intersection, left, thru, and right, for each direction). Of that for each 2 hour count, each count is conducted in 15 minute intervals.

      The highest count for the consecutive 4 period interval (one hour combined) is used. Thus if 4:15 to 5:15 Pm exceeds any other one hour time frame, that count will be used. A PDF factor is then used (between 0-1) to increase the counts. This factor computes the deviation in 15 minute counts. Thus, a lower PDF factor means that traffic was not as uniform and will increase the traffic counts making conditions worse. A higher pdf factor (say 0.9-0.95) means that traffic was rather uniform during the counts.

      This is used in determining cycle phasing. We account for peak hours because those are the worst traffic conditions present during the typical day. To account for every hour would be really expensive in initial analysis as well as make it burdensome to change cycle timings and phasing during the course of a prototypical day.

      • March 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

        Bryan,

        Thanks again for taking the time to share your “insider” knowledge of procedure. One follow up:

        In my area at least, the in-ground sensors at most lights don’t register the presence of a motorcycle. This means a rider may sit through several cycles before a light changes – if he obeys “the law.” But who has the patience (or the time) to sit through multiple cycles? Hence, riders are effectively forced to violate “the law’ just to get where they’re going without it taking twice as long as it would if they were in a car.

        As I see it, there ought to be no chargeable offense for “running” such a light – unless the rider (or driver) does so in such a way as to objectively threaten the safety of other drivers. Real ones – actual flesh and blood drivers – not the abstractions posited by the system when you complain that no one was coming, the way was clear, etc. In other words, it ought to be a legally sound defense to require that the cop prove your actions were physically dangerous – not just a violation of “the law.” If you cut someone off, almost cause a wreck – etc. – then you deserve a ticket. But if on the other hand all you’ve done was ignore a red light – and executed the maneuver with due caution, competently, without creating an objective hazard or threat to real fellow motorists – then the charge ought to be dismissed out of hand.

        • Al Sledge
          March 22, 2012 at 11:44 am

          The motorcycle not tripping the light reminded me of a left turn signal with a sheriffs substation 100 feet away. At 5am I would pull up to the red light on my bike, wait 15 seconds, then run the light. Often there were cops at the shop and they only waved as I ran the light! of course that’s been twenty some years ago. Today I’d probably get life in Sing-Sing. Still I enjoy breakin da law today and (safe) speedin is a way of life with me.

        • Rick_in_VA
          April 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm

          As of 7/1/2011, HB 1981 became official. It modified 46.2-833 with an amendment which says that a driver of a bicycle, moped, or motorcycle could treat a traffic signal as a stop sign if they wait for two cycles of the light or two minutes, whichever is less, excercises due care as provided by law, treats it as a stop sign, and determines that it is safe to proceed.
          (This from the bill as passed)
          It’s a step in the right direction, I guess, but why not make it apply to all vehicles.
          BTW: I keep a copy in my wallet, just in case.

          • BrentP
            April 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm

            Illinois has no such law and I wouldn’t trust a cop to know it or care to read it. They, like the judges, claim to “know” the law. What they mean is they are the law, but I digress.

            When confronted with such a signal on my bicycle I will turn right on red. Sometimes this takes me down a road where bicyclists aren’t desired. One in particular is near the local police station. I take the arterial roads and go around the block to reach the same point I would have reached by the minor roads. Haven’t been pulled over for it yet. Last time was at the town festival when one of these clovers that works traffic for the cops wouldn’t let me walk across. So I got on the bike and became traffic, riding the arterial road. He couldn’t do squat about it. I went around the block and reached the same point before I would have gotten there had I waited the way the clover wanted.

  9. Craig
    March 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Eric, you are thinking too much for yourself. The State will now label you a terrorist and put you on a list.

    • March 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Oh heck, that happened a long time ago!

  10. That One Guy
    March 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    For the past two or three years I’ve been an unrepentant HOV lane violator. The hours of my life I’ve reclaimed must be approaching the century mark as I spend a lot of time on the highways. I’ve never been caught yet, but when I do the ticket won’t even approach the value of the time I’ve saved.

    I’ve also become emboldened by not being caught by what I thought was the ubiquitous eye of Mordor, and have diversified into turning against a red arrow. I did this a few weeks ago when no cars were coming for hundreds of yards and my buddy started screaming at me. It was startling and I jumped almost out of my seatbelt. “You just ran a red light!” I said “So what”? Then I told him his freakout in my car was more likely to cause an accident than me using my judgment and deciding what is “safe.” It gave him a definite moment of pause, but I don’t think I recruited a budding civil-disobedient.

    The worst thing I deal with by far is all of the Clovers who get angina over my deliberate flauting of the law. I’ve had people swerve at me and cut in front of me and slam on the brakes. I’ve looked at other cars on the road and seen people screaming at me through their windows.

    They literally hate me to the point they risk injury to me and themselves to display it. But it’s not about “breaking the law,” its because they know people like me and the others here doing the same things are free in ways they are unwilling or unable to be. These people really do hate us for our freedom, to borrow the neo-con phrase.

  11. March 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I admire your outright contempt for foolish laws. A few times in my thirty year driving career I have fallen prey to some of the most stupid cases of enforcing the law that I have ever seen. We need those 70′s hippies in the buses again in a big way. Even here in Canada now we are told that we MUST send our children every day to school or report to the school a good reason why they were not there. We are told that if we work another job because we can’t afford the cost of living or we wish to get ahead by our own sweat and blood that we now owe more income tax almost making the effort “not worth it”. We are told how to parent, or that we can no longer spank a child that in no uncertain terms needs it. We are told that insane people have as much rights as we do (I would say a hell of a lot more) and that we must tolerate them and that they are responsible for their own decisions (regardless of whether they are completely flawed or not). I could go on and on….anad when ever I tell others about my lack of caring for certain rules I am given the speech that “if we all did this then anarchy would rule” as if I had no ability to manage my own life or make good decisions on my own. It sickens me that YOU (as Americans because I always admired your freedom and strength) take this openly now and without any disagreement. When criminals are allowed to continue to bank and laws are being created by the day to supress you can you not see that it is a small step in a larger issue. As Canadians we have long since rolled over to the government. Very sad. Please remember a famous quote, “all that is required for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing”. I would take it one step further and say “if you don’t say something, it will just continue”.

  12. dave
    March 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    You make Mexico look really good. I live there most of the year and I can assure you that if nobody is coming you can ignore the lights. There are two problems. One is that pedestrians tend to ignore the law AND the cars, which can have fatal consequences. The other is that you need a lot of nerve to drive there. Once I discovered that I was driving the wrong way on a one-way street in a residential neighborhood. I could not turn around because there was too much traffic following me. I simply continued and turned at the next street that went the direction that I wanted to go.

    • Keith Hamburger
      March 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Except for that time I did that, actually accidentally, on a Sunday morning in downtown Merida. Right in front of los estados. It cost me a half hour. I played the dumb tourist who “no hablo Espanol”. (I actually didn’t even give them that much Spanish.) I could have payed he ridiculous sum of $100 if I though someone was getting too angry, but figured I would play it out. It was kinda fun. ;-D

  13. Tom
    March 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Yes there are moronic signs and lights. My problem is not only the fines, but the insurance companies, who will ultimately decide you are a “high risk” driver and raise your rates astronomically. So, athough I agree in principle, I will continue to be a “sheeple.” Feel sorry for me!

    • BrentP
      March 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      I don’t because of the compounding costs and that I seem to be unable to get away with it. The last ticket I got, a few years ago now, was when I accelerated to make a safe lane change before the lane I was in ended. Yep. I was supposed to just push my way in like a clover. Cop didn’t show at “court” thankfully.

      In the end all these laws are about the selective enforcement. Every so often though some Barney Fife or some cop needing to desperately make his performance objectives tickets a fine upstanding clover. Oh to hear those clovers scream. After all, the law isn’t meant to punish people like them!

      The one silver lining to this ever growing tyranny is that clover-americans will finally start to feel it good and hard.

      • Chris
        March 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm

        Barney Fife? I wish.

        Seems like half the cops in America think they’re R. Lee Ermey.

  14. Tor Munkov
    March 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Long view of Topic – breaking the law…

    …Actually, not all books are illegal in Bradbury’s America of the probably fairly near future. Or so, at least, it would appear. For when Guy Montag, the young fireman who is the main character of Fahrenheit 451, poses a question to his colleagues at the local firehouse — “In the old days, before homes were completely fireproofed,” he asks them, “didn’t firemen prevent fires rather than stoke them up and get them going?” — they answer him by consulting “their rule books, which also contained brief histories of the Firemen of America.”

    According to these rule books, the Firemen of America was “established [in] 1790, to burn English-influenced books in the Colonies.” The “First Fireman,” according to the rule books, was Benjamin Franklin…

    Ludwig Von Mises take on 451 F

    http://mises.org/daily/4650

    • That One Guy
      March 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      Tor-

      This book (and the movie, which always seems to get introduced for those who lack reading comprehension skills) was part of the curriculum in my junior high. You know, that place where they pick and choose the historical narrative they want the children to learn.

      The same teacher taught me that the Civil War was completely about slavery and nothing else, and that the Southern upper class used racism and xenophobia to goad the poor dumb crackers into fighting against Saint Lincoln, because nothing else explains why they would have fought against what was so obviously “their best interests.”

      Something tells me she didn’t appreciate the irony.

      • Tor Munkov
        March 20, 2012 at 9:38 pm

        Hey TOG,

        I was edumakated by nones and preests. The riskiest thing they offered was Vonnegut’s Cat Cradle, Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener, & the anarchist classic movie Nine 2 Five with Dolly Parton.

        This clip of Hilary Clintons Ad is unrelated…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPZM45Y2Ms8

        TOR

        • That One Guy
          March 20, 2012 at 10:38 pm

          I was edumakated by nones and preests.

          They’re all gone now; I graduated from the Vatican’s schools in 2000 after going K-12 and never had a teacher who wasn’t a “civilian.” My 11th-grade Scriptures teacher was an out-of-the-closet lesbian! Can you believe that? Things have surely changed. Of course this is the DPR-WAState so it could just be the influence of local attitudes.

          They also showed us the film The Killing Fields but made sure to leave out the part about collectivism just in case we might start adding up the body count of the various incarnations of socialism.

          At least in my state the only thing that seems to separate the parochial schools from the state institutions is they can talk about Jesus. Other than that it’s all the same citizen-of-the-world, social-justice, anti-capitalist nonsense.

          The world’s largest bureaucracy can’t be counted on to stray too far from the program, after all they want you to keep tithing. The specter of eternal damnation is not as effective as it once was, and they don’t have an army anymore.

          • Tor Munkov
            March 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm

            I’m checkin out that Warner Bros movie about the Khmers.

            Maybe the CIA has infiltrated the vatican.

            Not exactly sticking to the original mission of breaking bread and drinking wine and havin a chat together anymore.

            The only thing worse than living through a world wide depression is having to live through a world wide repression at the same time.

          • Tor Munkov
            March 30, 2012 at 11:59 pm

            Amazing movie. The school I went to, they all called each other sister and father, but dressed normal, and played Jefferson Airplane at church.

            Maybe they were off the Vatican grid. They even showed us the Nag Hammadi translations of the Gnostic Christians that prove the entire Old Testament constructed from Greek sourcesis mainly a compilation of secular Ancient stories with pseudonyms provided by their Greek authors.

            One “nun” said Jesus is an ancient Greek word meaning neither he nor she and that it is John the Baptist who was the real individual who lived all the stories created after 100 years after his death.

            I think the American and UN Khmers are still killing a million Africans a year due to their strict prohibition on DDT. Wouldn’t want an eggshell of a bird to be too thin.

            To be fair, if the kids of Mother Africa could just learn to embrace the Khmer way of wearing full body mosquito nets 24 hours a day, the Khmer plan would start working.

  15. Kerry
    March 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Well Marc, cheer up the State hasn’t succeeded in tranquilizing all of us in the US. In fact on any given drive to work or back home, I’d say about 75% of the people on the roads are breaking the law. The other 25% are Clovers who try to cut us off or otherwise slow us down. (They are probably government employees.) Obviously, in the Houston area, many government drones are necessary to propagate and enforce the multitudinous edicts which are put into place to regulate and control the population. I saw a post here yesterday, I believe, about a guy going to jail for having junk cars in his back yard. Well, I have been cited for having one which is registered to me. I asked the idiot who cited me how it could possibly be an abandoned vehicle when it was in the backyard of the owner. He said it doesn’t make any difference. I told him to go fuck himself. I may be the next in jail, but I doubt it. lmao

    • George
      March 22, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      “I’d say about 75% of the people on the roads are breaking the law. The other 25% are Clovers who try to cut us off or otherwise slow us down.”

      That reminds me of a soccer mom I found myself behind one afternoon, who was doing the slow crawl in the left lane. After having to slam on my brakes a couple of times as she let her speed drop even more (probably to antagonize me), I moved to the right lane and accelerated to pass her. Well, the gal had a fit and started blowing her horn at me and trying to race me, so that I couldn’t move back to the left lane after passing her. It was all in vain for her, because I had a sizable speed advantage by that point and she rather obviously had little experience in getting her minivan moving very fast. I just waved at her as I moved back to the left and left her blowing her horn.

      • March 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm

        Few things in this life are as savory as infuriating a Clover!

    • BrentP
      March 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Clovers break the law all the time. They believe in tool laws and that they are good people who will never be punished for breaking the laws they break. Just those other ‘bad people’ will be.

      Always enjoyable are the stories of some clovers who complain about drivers speeding on their block or in their neighborhood or whatever. Then the cops start ticketing the complaining clovers for speeding. It’s even better when they whine about how it should be those -other- drivers that get the tickets.

  16. Runner
    March 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I agree with the premise of this article. The only thing I would add is, as a runner who runs “facing traffic”, be careful on those right-hand turns without looking right first. Never know when somebody is approaching on foot from the right. Only takes one time for your 5 seconds saved to really hurt somebody.

  17. Jay Wocky
    March 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I hereby risk invoking the wrath and/or scorn of many who visit this site. I agree–in principle–with all points made about obvious circumstances that make obeying a traffic signal unnecessary and a waste of time. I also agree–in principle–with all points made against gratuitous traffic signals and laws that have nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with revenue and oppression. I, too, have disobeyed on occasion.

    Thereby disclaimed, I will reiterate a point that I made in another thread on this site. Both as a motorist and as a pedestrian, I have been struck several times by motorists who “didn’t see” me. (I know many more people who suffered the same fate for the same reason.) I am large and hard to miss. Whatever car I’m in is even larger and harder to miss if whatever nitwit is hitting or about to hit me bothers to look where he/she is going and in the directions of anyone or anything that might physically interfere with their intentions. Sometimes, the only thing leveraging my safety (and that of many others who have/will be similarly struck by similar nitwits) is some kind of traffic control device. Even other times (e.g. “right turn on red”), the signs–through no fault of their own–leverage the chances of a nitwit hitting someone else.

    All readers: read into this point whatever you wish and think of me whatever you will for making it. I believe that the more thoughtful among you will see at least some merit in what I am writing.

    I would add only the following. When you choose to disobey or disregard a traffic signal or control device, please make doubly–maybe triply–sure you can see where you’re going, and that there is no one or nothing between you and your immediate destination or at cross-purposes with it. Don’t join the ranks of nitwits who “didn’t see” what they hit. (And pedestrians: watch where you’re going; in car vs pedestrian, car always wins, no matter who is right.)

    And good luck in not getting caught. BTW, the chances of that rise in direct proportion to the level of sensory awareness one maintains as a driver.

    • That One Guy
      March 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      And good luck in not getting caught. BTW, the chances of that rise in direct proportion to the level of sensory awareness one maintains as a driver.

      You said as much in your comment, but I’ll reiterate it applies as well to the circumstances you describe. People who don’t see a person or vehicle are just as apt to miss a red light or stop sign. In my case, I was once hit while driving by a woman who’s comprehension of the yield sign facing her was disabled by her being on the cell phone.

      Once I avoided being pinned between a city bus and an F-150 while walking in a crosswalk with a walk signal only because I could see what was about to happen and stopped walking in the middle of the street to let the F-150 slide past me through the red light. Again, the driver wasn’t paying attention.

      My cousin wasn’t as lucky and was hit by a Civic in a similar situation. Knocked him straight out of his shoes and he flew 30 feet. Doctor told him if he’d been hit by a larger vehicle he would have been killed. The light was red and he had the walk signal. But he put too much faith in having the right-of-way.

      Point is, these are three situations where the traffic signals and signage did positively nothing to prevent these incidents. My city has been known previously as the run-down-in-the-crosswalk capital of the US, and we have no shortage of white stripes on the pavement, yellow signs and red lights.

      I don’t run reds or step out in the crosswalk without a through scan of my surroundings. And when I’m crossing the street I don’t do so without making eye contact with the drivers, regardless of who has the right-of-way. Jay gives good advice on this. The sad thing is it shouldn’t be necessary. It should just be what people do, but unfortunately too many of the Clovers around us are too caught up in their own worlds for us to assume we can put our own safety in their hands.

      • methylamine
        March 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

        And that’s precisely the reason I use my own judgement at lights, not “the law”–for both red and green lights!

        In other words, which do you trust more–the timing circuit in the light, or your own eyes and judgment?

        I choose the latter; it’s saved me from collisions with red-light runners, and it’s saved me hours of waiting for pointless red lights.

        And I do so love the shocked look on the pudgy little clover faces when I break The Law!

        • methylamine
          March 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm

          And sheesh, yes I do know how to spell “judgment”–and it’s not “judgement” as in the UK.

          • March 22, 2012 at 7:56 am

            British spelling allows either variant.

    • March 22, 2012 at 7:54 am

      Those are pretty much my own feelings. Driving in a way that you know is safe is much like how safe it is to look down the barrel of a gun you know isn’t loaded. The right place for “unnecessary” safety isn’t in the laws and regulations but in the habits, but it’s surprising how valuable it is even though you “know” it’s safe anyway.

  18. Jay Wocky
    March 20, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    “And when I’m crossing the street I don’t do so without making eye contact with the drivers..”

    Alas, more good points in your post, TOG. As reported in another thread: Once, while running, I stepped off a curb to cross the street in front of a small car fully stopped at a stop sign. I know that I had made eye contact with him. My 225# wound up caving in his entire windshield after rolling over his hood as he floorboarded it. I really don’t believe it was deliberate on his part. And I sure as hell had the right of way. Sometimes there is just no accounting for nitwittery.

    In this rare instance, the pedestrian sustained less damage than the vehicle. And I learned how stunt men perform a certain move.

    • That One Guy
      March 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      Damn Jay, that proves that all the vigilance in the world can’t save you from the in-a-hurry folks.

      The right-on-red crosswalks are the ones I fear the most. When I used to live within walking distance to my job I took advantage of every nice day I could and hoofed the three miles each way. There was one particularly nasty spot coming across the bridge to my old neighborhood where the I-need-to-get-home-now folks would turn without even looking, right across a crosswalk leading to a bus stop that was always full of people.

      This is where I learned to make eye contact. I had one or two near misses in this spot, but what really made it stick in my mind was driving one day and watching a lady have to dive back up on to the sidewalk to miss getting tagged by the car in front of me. The driver never once looked to his right until the last minute. He didn’t even stop and ask if she was alright, just kept right on going. She got up and kicked in his quarter panel as he peeled off though!

      Lovely community, huh? And this is supposed to be one of those leftist oh-so-caring cities.

      • Jay Wocky
        March 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

        “She got up and kicked in his quarter panel as he peeled off though!”

        Hooray for her. I did that once long ago, under similar circumstances, and wound up in court, facing a possible criminal record. The magistrate-proposed OOC settlement necessary to keep my slate clean set me back $500. My medieval moment definitely wasn’t worth the subsequent cost.

        • That One Guy
          March 20, 2012 at 10:41 pm

          Suppose that’s “justice” for you. I couldn’t believe the guy didn’t stop; he must not have noticed. That lady got away with one for sure.

  19. Brandonjin
    March 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Something weird happened over the past week. An intersection that once had a “No right on red” sign, no longer has the sign. So people have been turning right on red now. What do you think of this? seems like a step in the right direction so I’m scared.

    • Jay Wocky
      March 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      I perhaps used a deficient example earlier by suggesting that a sign is usually involved in permitting a right-on-red. Usually a sign will only prohibit this turn (although some signs will be posted permitting ROR for “curb lane only”). Whatever the case, I was once nearly hit–as a pedestrian–while crossing a street on the “walk” signal by a motorist who ran the red light while making a ROR from a curb lane whose green arrow had not yet lit up, and which did not actually permit a ROR. She laid rubber to avoid hitting me, and then yelled out her window “Right on red!”, as though I was violating her ROW. As I said, no accounting for nitwittery sometimes. In this case, compound nitwittery.

      • Brandonjin
        March 21, 2012 at 11:56 am

        Truly, a dumbass.

  20. Karl Artiomovas
    March 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Recommend you check out the following:
    defundanddisobey . com

    • Tor Munkov
      March 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Looks like the site has a ways to go, according to Alexa, but a good idea.

      Maybe better to do a block trade purchase of LGF Lions Gate Films. Get some skin in the game for Catching Fire Book 2.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQv87I_l4iU

      Film Adaption of Scholastic Press Series THE HUNGER GAMES…

      I think the kids are starting to catch on and tire of their diet of bread and high fructose sugar water. The parlor trick of offering the circuses for free in our homes with sponsors is wearing thin.

  21. Enjoy Every Sandwich
    March 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    You know how the car commercials have those captions that warn “professional driver, do not attempt” when the commercial shows the car cutting donuts and such like? I’ve noticed that they’re starting to show those captions when all the “professional driver” is doing is driving at moderate speed down an empty straight road.

    Using one’s judgement is REALLY going out of style!

  22. John Stevens
    March 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    At first I almost dismissed your article as so much anarchism, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way our system will ever have a chance of repair is through REBELLION! An armed rebellion would not only be horrific, but would unavoidably result in ignominious defeat. The kind of rebellion here proposed (taking the jail time instead of paying the fine would magnify the effect) uses the “law” (read: government intrusion and over-control) and its nature against it quite effectively, don’t you think?

    • That One Guy
      March 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      An armed rebellion would not only be horrific, but would unavoidably result in ignominious defeat.

      If you asked around the Sunni Triangle and Hindu Kush they’d probably disagree with you. I don’t harbor any illusions about the inherent goodness of the US military like so many seem to; that they’d lay down their arms before slaying their countrymen. The army as a whole has proven otherwise time and again.

      But without question there are still a number of men (and women) of some principle in our armed forces who would refuse. Even a small number of these could be enough to cause disruption in the cogs of the machine.

      The military has been fighting for ten years now and is used up and worn out. I doubt enough have the stomach to come home just to turn their weapons on their neighbors. The police on the other hand are a different story. Notice the efforts to get unmanned aircraft technology into the hands of these folks. They don’t need the technology and manpower to field a force of F-16s if they can hang Hellfire missiles on souped-up R/C aircraft.

      Legislation like PATRIOT Act and NDAA makes the prospect of MLK-style civil disobedience a little more dicey. The government can now declare you a terroist and hold you in a moldy cell without due process until Kingdom come if it chooses to do so. I’ve also been seeing a lot over the past couple days about a National Defense Resources Preparedness order by Obama that seems to authorize the government to seize control of the entire economy, “national security” of course being the excuse.

      Starting to smell more and more like martial law every day. Personally, I’m feeling less and less like I’d be willing to take my chances in this avenue. It’s getting easier for TPTB to disappear you.

      • BrentP
        March 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm

        It would be foolish to apply how violent resistance worked out overseas to how it would work out here.

        After all it is one thing to be foreign savage that refused to be civilized at the barrel of a gun it’s an entirely another thing to be a traitorous american who refuses to conform and be part of the collective and submit to authority.

        • That One Guy
          March 21, 2012 at 12:27 am

          That’s a good point Brent. Can’t argue with that. I’ve been found guilty of wishful thinking and foolish optimism before.

      • Rick_in_VA
        April 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm

        VA just passed a law in effect “nullifying” NDAA.

        There are already police forces using UAVs, and not just in the border areas.

        The FAA is in talks with various groups on the subject.

    • Toldev
      March 22, 2012 at 5:01 am

      I don’t think it is even necessary to go so far as to take jail time over the fine. When you get a ticket, the system really wants you to just mail the thing in with a check. However, you can plead not guilty and ask for continuance after continuance. Make the officer who wrote you the ticket show up to court several times. Granted this is as inconvenient to the motorist as it is to the officer. However, if even just 25% of motorists did this, the ticket revenue system would collapse.

      • Rick_in_VA
        April 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm

        Good idea, especially if you’re retired. Gives you something to do to pass the time.

  23. Ted
    March 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    For the most part, I agree with your arguments. However, everyone doesn’t have the same eagle eyes that you do. Not everyone has the same ability to react as quickly as you do. I saw someone roll a stop sign a few weeks ago while making a right turn at an incredibly open stretch of road. There was a car coming, but the person making the right turn had plenty of time to roll the stop sign and still make it. He might have even been able to stop and still proceed ahead of the vehicle. He chose to run the stop sign, but didn’t see the guy on the bicycle who was also going to make a run for the other side of the road. The bicyclist assumed the car would stop and narrowly missed being hit. There’s a light in the middle of town that takes forever to turn green, and everyone familiar with the light runs the yellow AND the red. I have had people honking their horns at me while I sat at the opposing green light waiting for Tom Slick to run through the intersection. The point I’m trying to make is that more and more people are taking your advice and ignoring the law, and we all need to remember to be defensive drivers. Stop signs and lights aren’t there just to be obeyed, they’re there to prevent accidents. It may very well be that obeying the law has the unintended consequence of turning some people into clovers so I would agree with your view that we need to look at whether we our slipping into passivity or submissiveness, but we should also take an honest appraisal of our abilities as well. If you missed the traffic cop, how do you know you wouldn’t have missed the guy on the bicycle? It’s easy to rationalize the price of a ticket out over a few years. It isn’t so easy to do that with a charge of involuntary manslaughter or vehicular homicide.

    • Tor Munkov
      March 20, 2012 at 11:19 pm

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZS_wjo378h4

      The man who has the greatest likelihood of hurting a pedestrian, is the man who trades in his own senses and reasoning for mechanical devices sold to a municipality cronies under false pretenses for crony corporate gain.

      Here in Somerset County England, is what happens at a busy intersection, sans the inky blink and clyde idiocy of transportation hypnosis devices…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZS_wjo378h4

      Its Clovers & Badgers who need to ride the bus and fema tubes, mmmkay!

      • Jay Wocky
        March 21, 2012 at 3:56 am

        “The man who has the greatest likelihood of hurting a pedestrian, is the man who trades in his own senses and reasoning for mechanical devices…”

        This goes without saying, and no one writing in this thread has proposed, or even hinted at, such an either-or scenario. (Until now, perhaps?)

        Tom, you suggest there is an actual choice possible here. Obviously, there is no realistic prospect of that, at least in the USA. No amount of disparagement or epithet-casting will change the status quo. Rather, it behooves us all to exercise our senses to the max–along with the best possible application of any technological devices, whether voluntarily acquired or imposed upon us–and drive with good judgment and, I might add, a generous measure of courtesy.

        • Gail
          March 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

          … it behooves us all to exercise our senses to the max–along with the best possible application of any technological devices, whether voluntarily acquired or imposed upon us– …”

          You mean like this one?

          From Activist Post: “A new bill in Connecticut has advanced the idea of embedded RFID chips in license plates.”

          http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/real-time-monitoring-of-all-vehicles.html

          • Jay Wocky
            March 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

            You apparently missed my point, Gail. A driver does not “exercise” (my word) a state-imposed RFID chip, nor does the latter have any property that contributes to driving skills and safety. Perhaps a better word on my part would have been “utilize.” E.g. at a traffic signal, one utilizes the light’s regulation of the intersection, along with one’s good driving judgment and courtesy, in order to safely get through. You might not like the first item. And you are free to disregard it. But doing so rashly might call into question the second and third items.

            Next time, try comparing another apple to my apple, instead of introducing an orange.

          • Gail
            March 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm

            I didn’t miss your point, Jay. I found your admonition to be a bit condescending and Cloverish, and my ref to the RFID — yet another intrusion we didn’t ask for –was meant to be sarcastic.

          • Jay Wocky
            March 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm

            When reasonable points, reasonably articulated are characterized as “condescending and Cloverish,” more is revealed about the characterizer than about the characterizee.

        • Tor Munkov
          March 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm

          I suggest what you say I suggest. I am behooved by those who force me to be hooved. I curtsy to those who hold court and extract courtesy. Courtesies payable in warbucks, sexmoneys, techdollars, perfectpounds, shinysilvers, glittergolds, mintgreens, crowns, lyras, reichmarks, roundyens, and lumpyuans.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IE17z3NvXo

          I celebrate myself, and sing myself, and what I assume you shall assume, for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you…creeds and schools in abeyance, retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten, I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard, nature without check with original energy.

      • Don
        March 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

        So true! How many times have you seen someone just start crossing the road because the light is green only to almost be run over by a car running the red light? Stupid is as stupid does.

      • March 22, 2012 at 8:01 am

        Now, now. There is no “Somerset County” in England. It’s Somerset, Somersetshire, or the County of Somerset (and even then, only because we are ignoring those damn fool “reforms” that tried to abolish it).

    • Rick_in_VA
      April 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      I learned a long time ago to wait a few seconds when my light turns green regardless of what I’m driving. The he!! with people behind me honking. This has saved my bacon a few times.

      • BrentP
        April 24, 2012 at 12:05 am

        They run the light because you wait.

        Was behind a guy who waited today. He waited for the first one so the second went. He waited for the second so the third went. Thankfully there wasn’t fourth. We could have been there a long time.

  24. Enjoy Every Sandwich
    March 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    You can’t fight city hall, but you can pee on the steps and run.–Gary North

  25. Don
    March 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    All common sense stuff. So when do we mount up and form the “Citizens Protection Authority” and start disarming these zombies everytime we find them criminally enforcing abusive laws against honest, hard working people? When do we start taking our roads back? Our communities back? Our lives back?

    The time for talk and half measures has long past.

    • Rick_in_VA
      April 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      Film them surreptitiously and post on the internet. Just don’t be seen.
      That can get you in more trouble than you want to handle. Read the news about people who have done it.

  26. Gary Olson
    March 22, 2012 at 1:15 am

    Seat belt laws — now there is a whole cloth sheeple fabrication and government financing scheme. Ask the young, fervent Law Engorgement Offal who you are hurting; and inform him your actions are not directly harming another person and you don’t understand the offense. The extrapolated justifications stretch mathematical probability to a degree where quantum relativity begins to apply.
    But what does an college educated physics major know about safety, probability, and statistics applied to financial liability?

    • March 22, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Hi Gary,

      Do that and you’re likely to get the Eichmann Response: I am just doing my job/following orders.

      The worst part is that so many of our “fellow” Americans agree – and support this sort of thing.

  27. Gonzalo B
    March 22, 2012 at 3:58 am

    I used to live in Falls Church, Va., a DC suburb that’s probably four square miles in size and is famous for having cops ready to ticket you hiding in every corner. Cops there are forced to meet a ticket quota that is tied to promotions so rest assured that the police doesn’t let anyone “break the law.” Officers who have questioned this policy have been fired. I was once ticketed for allegedly not making a full stop on a red light, stopped at a mere 10 feet from my home and issued a ticket for $165 ($65 of which was the “processing fee.”) I stupidly tried to dispute the ticket and even lost an entire morning in court to see if I could reason with the judge and the city attorney. There were about a hundred other drivers in my situation and the courtroom was packed. Virtually every cop in Falls Church was there to defend the tickets they’d issued (and bear in mind that this is a “city” of a mere 12k people.) My ticket was upheld by the judge who also admonished me for daring to question the validity of the fine and in spite of the fact that I had a clean driving record. At the time, I was thinking of buying a house in Falls Church but that experience turned me off and as soon as my rental lease was over I moved.

    I don’t want to live in a city that treats taxpayers as cash cows in such a blatant fashion. The problem is that most of DC and its surrounding areas are headed in this direction. There is a company called American Traffic Solutions (partially owned by Goldman Sachs) that operates most of the red light cameras in the area (as well as the U.S.) and it’s making a killing in traffic tickets as well as bringing in millions of dollars to DC’s coffers. I seriously believe there should be more resistance to this blatant theft but you’re bound to find more Americans who defend these measures because it makes them feel “safer” than people who question their validity.

    • March 22, 2012 at 8:53 am

      Hey Gonzalo,

      I know exactly what you mean; I grew up in that area (do you remember when Falls Church had Volvo cop cars?) and it’s just as you’ve written. But it’s to be expected given it’s Clover Central. Probably 80 percent of the people there are government “workers” of one sort or another.

      The DC area is hell on earth. An overcrowded, overpriced, ugly concatenation of busybody Clovers. If The Washington Post offered me a job for $1 million a year I would not accept it. $1 million in DC is not even all that much money – and no matter how much money you have, you still get to sit in gridlock on the GW Parkway, I-66/Dulles Toll Road, RT. 7, etc.

      Throw the whole damn place in the woods!

    • Rick_in_VA
      April 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      When I lived in Fairfax county as a teenager, I put signs up in the back door windows of my car which said “Watch your speed. Quota time.” This was usually the last week of each month. I got some dirty looks, but never got hassled about them. Of course, that was 40 some years ago. No telling now.

  28. michael neal
    March 22, 2012 at 4:25 am

    I knew that I wasn’t the only one who was doing this but it is good to know there are so many of us who have this same attitude toward stupid laws. It has always made me feel like an idiot to sit at a light for no reason than “it’s the law”. I believe that it is precisely because people are so dependent on someone or some device to make decisions for them that there are unnecessary accidents at intersections. If it were not for the traffic signals, for instance, one would be much more careful. Who wants to be in an accident or be killed when entering an intersection; I would venture to say, very few.

    • March 22, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Amen – and, there are!

      But we need more… more civil disobedience. More ridicule of stupid laws.

      The old standard – is anyone harmed? – needs to be resurrected. If no one is harmed, then there’s no “offense.”

      From traffic laws all the way up.

      • liberty4ev
        March 23, 2012 at 2:26 am

        Amen to you too eric! Civil disobedience FTW!! It’s empowering.

        • March 23, 2012 at 10:16 am

          If only more of us would do it – it’d reach a critical mass and we could do away with a lot of this crap. Prohibition provides an example; so also the 55 MPH highway limit.

  29. Poiter
    March 22, 2012 at 6:36 am

    My maxim in life has always been: Laws – they are for obedience by fools and for consideration by the wise!

    • March 22, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Mine has always been, if it’s wrong, don’t do it. If it’s merely illegal, only obey it if you have no choice.

  30. UnrepentantSpeeder
    March 22, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Nice choice on detectors, Eric.

    There’s only one – a V1 … everything else is just a plastic toy.

    • March 22, 2012 at 8:38 am

      Hi Unrepentant,

      Agreed! My V1 has made driving tolerable again.

  31. Doug
    March 22, 2012 at 7:02 am

    I was recently robbed by a red light camera for not coming to a complete stop when making a right. There wasn’t another car in sight.

    • BrentP
      March 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      I simply do not do RoR at RLC intersections. It annoys people behind me but I just point at the RLC sign.

      Not only have I seen RLCs flash people who made legal RoR there’s no effective way to prove your case if they decide to issue the ticket. There’s a still photo of your car in the intersection on a red signal. The judge I believe does not have to allow the video into court.

      There is an intersection approach that got RLC’d where most people turn right. Clearly installed to make RoR money. There’s a little sign explaining a legal RoR to encourage people to still do RoR. Reading that it became obvious to me that I was not the only one refusing to do RoR at RLC intersections and it was gumming up traffic flow. Nobody does RoR there anymore that I’ve seen.

      I have long believed obeying the law 100% would grind the system to halt. With RLCs and actions to prevent getting RLC tickets even more so. If only the clovers would do so…. but they can still go unpunished for most of their law breaking relying on social protection. After all, a cop is rarely going to bother with a fine upstanding clover driving an appliance for the same ticky-tacky things he’d ticket someone driving a performance car for.

      • March 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm

        There are ways to obscure your license plate… a little mud, a little poorly placed license plate frame/surround… you get the idea!

        • BrentP
          March 22, 2012 at 11:01 pm

          That would get me pulled over and ticketed. Now a clover can get away with a sun beaten license plate cover… I’ve seen tons of them. But covers were made illegal here and since I’m not a clover I’d get pulled over for it.

        • dom
          March 23, 2012 at 5:17 am

          All my plates have been treated with a special technique that eliminates almost all their reflective properties and makes them very hard to see. Been through multiple road blocks, shit I mean safety checks, with them like that.

          • Rick_in_VA
            April 23, 2012 at 10:24 pm

            Tell me more. What is it? Where can I get it?

    • methylamine
      March 23, 2012 at 5:08 am

      In some areas–like Houston, before we had the goddamned things torn down–red light tickets were unenforceable!

      They had no legal standing. They were civil, not criminal, penalties. They would send a notice; if ignored, they’d escalate with increasingly nasty notices threatening to damage your credit standing.

      However, they have no standing there, either; there’s no contract, so they can’t claim breach, and therefore can’t collect.

      I’d pile them up one after another by doing RoR at a well-known one near my work. I laughed maniacally every time their feeble little notices came, with their jingoistic legalese and badly-copied JPEG images of Houston Police…with an Arizona return address.

      God how I miss them.

      They tried at one point to block vehicle “registration” (i.e. paying to keep “your” property); but it never flew.

      Check carefully in your jurisdiction; they may have no standing and you can just ignore the bastards.

  32. Steven Lytle
    March 22, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I agree with the reasons for breaking stupid laws, but there are now cameras at intersections that catch people breaking laws. It’s getting harder to flout such laws.

    • March 22, 2012 at 8:37 am

      There are things that can be done about those cameras, too…

      • methylamine
        March 23, 2012 at 5:10 am

        I like the Brit’s technique–a flaming tire full of gasoline, like the South African “necklace”.

        Perhaps some thermite on the control box?

        Nah. Too risky. A nice .45 inch hole should suffice.

        • Chris
          March 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

          I heard of a guy who ran two red light cameras down with a 18 wheeler…….he was going to get done for speeding excessively ……so I guess his reasoning was why not take 2 out at once ?

  33. wtf
    March 22, 2012 at 9:41 am

    We’ve all heard the comment “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Well, actually it is. According to the constitution, you have to knowingly commit an offense. You have to know it is illegal before committing the act or you didn’t actually commit a crime. Good reason to look into the ye olde constitution. For what its worth nowadays

    • Gail
      March 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

      WTF, I think knowing an act is illegal before committing the act in order to be prosecuted is actually in common law, rather than being specifically addressed in the Constitution.

      A writer, Robert Zubrin, writes on this and then goes on to propose language for an amendment to the Constitution as, as he puts it, “a reassertion of the rights of free men as defined by English common law”.

      You can find the whole article here:
      http:pjmedia.com/blog/a-constitutional-amendment-to-enforce-the-protections-of-mens-rea/?singlepage=true

      • March 22, 2012 at 11:20 am

        My take on this:

        A single, simple standard ought to be the essential prerequisite before anything can be rightly characterized as “criminal” – harm done (or clear imminent harm) to a specific, actual victim (or victims). If it doesn’t rise to that standard, them it’s not a crime – and hence, should not be illegal.

        Thus, not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign when one can clearly see no other traffic is present shouldn’t be a chargeable offense. Neither should growing pot – or adding a bathroom to your home without a permission slip from the government. Etc.

        Our whole system is topsy-turvy. It has criminalized actions that have no victims – just tortured down-the-line generalizations about hypothetical ones. If you smoke pot then you support the dealer who might be a thug who might beat someone up. If you don;t obey the stop sign, even though no one else was around, then you’ve shown a lack of respect for the law and the law is for the general good, hence you are harming the general good – etc.

        When will some latter-day John Galt figure out a way to get us non-Clovers off this rock and onto a new one, where Clovers are not allowed?

        • Gail
          March 22, 2012 at 11:49 am

          It’s the Clovers-not-allowed part that is the challenge. They have a way of infiltrating, like mildew.

          Your speaking of Galt and a new rock reminded me of Doug Casey and Cafayate. He’s got a dyno-mite article in today’s LRC: “The Ascendance of Sociopaths in US Governance” — a real curtain-ripper.

          IMO, his theme sentence is this: ” … a certain class of people – sociopaths – are now fully in control of major American institutions. Their beliefs and attitudes are insinuated throughout the economic, political, intellectual and psychological/spiritual fabric of the US.”

          It’s Casey in full roar!

          • methylamine
            March 23, 2012 at 5:25 am

            Casey’s an astute observer.

            I’ve thought this for quite some time; that sociopaths are a different species of human, the 2% among us who are predators over the rest.

            When conditions are right, they come out in the open and take over government.

            What we have today is not government, it’s a criminal cabal of sociopaths.

            And history shows–they turn murderous quickly.

            In the last century, governments have killed more than 200,000,000 people–and that’s not including war.

            And yes–as Casey says, it can happen here.

          • March 23, 2012 at 9:44 am

            I’ve been reading the Political Ponerology book. One of the points the author makes that never occurred to me before but which makes damn solid sense is that when a country allows a sociopath to become its leader, when that leader, after having been revealed for what he is, isn’t repudiated, the country itself becomes sociopathic. Mean, callous – indifferent to suffering; amoral – the ends justify any means.

            Recall George W. Bush.

            And before him, Clinton.

            And look how far we have come…

        • Chris
          March 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm

          Just a few thoughts.

          If each and every citizen is presumed to know each and every statute, doesn’t it reason that there should be no need for lawyers?

          Doesn’t that assumption presuppose the patently absurd and grossly impractical notion that every citizen is to stay up late at night studying the law?

          Or is the concept of “ignorance of the law is no excuse” more properly understood as an arbitrary fabrication designed as an expedient for the state’s purposes of prosecution?

          What if the state made new laws in secret and deliberately didn’t make them known to the population? Would ignorance of the law still not be an affirmative defense?

          Besides, why is it MY responsibility to seek out something (the law) that is most likely not in my best interests?

          Isn’t it more properly the responsibility of those who wish to enforce the law to seek me out and make me obey it?

          And doesn’t the very existence of the legal profession imply the idea that the system doesn’t REALLY expect each citizen to know the law, because if he did, there would be no need for the legal profession in the first place?

          The concept of “Ignorance of the law is no excuse” seems to stem from an ancient belief that there are only two choices: anarchy or dictatorship.

    • Rick_in_VA
      April 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      Not so much anymore. They don’t give a “hoot” about the constitution. You’re talking “mens rea” (sp) which means intent. Far too many laws nowadays specifically avoid that in the wording. Then intent doesn’t matter.

  34. Matt
    March 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Hi Eric,
    Here in Korea we ignore traffic signals all the time. I live in a big city (about 4 million) but I’m on a rather remote edge of town. From 8 or 9 pm until about 6 or 7 am, there’s hardly a car on the road. So nearly all of us run red lights with absolute impunity. I’ve never seen a red light camera. I’ve run red lights in front of police and they do nothing because it is so socially acceptable here to do so.
    We also have several intersections in my area with no stop signs. What happens when a bunch of us get to the intersection? OK, there is a little moment of semi-chaos until someone decides he’s the prime mover, and then everyone takes turns going through. I’ve never seen an accident at an unmarked intersection.

    My only complaint driving here is there are way too many speed humps. Planners go to school in the USA, get all of these bad ideas from American schools and brings them back to Asia. Speed humps were obviously created by Clover or one of his close friends.

    • March 22, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Hi Matt –

      Thanks for telling us about the situation in Korea – where (again) you enjoy more real freedom than “free” (cough) Americans!

  35. steveb
    March 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    And how many still remember the hoary American tradition, still popular when I was a youth in the ’70s and ’80s, of flashing headlights at oncoming traffic to warn them of a speed trap? Nobody does that anymore, because, one supposes, we’ve grown accustomed to the servility demanded of us by our police state a-borning. Citizens that once sportingly warned each other to slow down (to 55) to avoid being ticketed now see nothing wrong with sobriety chechpoints, seatbelt violations, and all the rest. How we have allowed ourselves to be emasculated by the State!

    • Chris
      March 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      did you know its illegal to flash your headlights to warn on coming traffic of a speed trap ? at least its illegal here in Australia .

      • dom
        March 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm

        It’s illegal here in the USSA too!

        • Chris
          March 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm

          ok but DO YOU flash your headlights to warn others ? I sure do !

          • dom
            March 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm

            I try to every chance I get. My V1 makes my driving life beautiful too!

        • mithrandir
          March 23, 2012 at 6:03 am

          dom,

          It depends on the state.

          It is legal in NJ for one to flash lights to warn of a speed trap.

          (I think it should be legal in all states based on 1Amendment.)

    • March 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      It’s illegal here, too – but I do it anyway, if I am confident that I can get away with it.

  36. Chris
    March 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Eric et al

    As a Aussie, I have a rather sad piece of information for all my fellow Americans on here, the red light and speed cameras you guys have spreading over there like the plague is the brain child of a Australian company that developed and marketed the technology to the US socialists about 4 years ago , its a tiny micro chip processor that send the signal in a digital format to a central recording data center, see Australians can lead the world in innovation ……now lets see where is that bionic ray gun that destroys them all…….other than that I profusely apologize for this not proud achievement to the rest of the world !

  37. ExitTheMatrix
    March 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I failed to stop at a stop sign that was on an off ramp coming off of a major highway. That is an odd place for a stop sign, so I didn’t even think to stop. The cop was a real jerk, throwing his weight around with his machismo attitude. I thought people coming off of the highway were given the right-of-way because they are generally driving faster. Seems like common sense to me. Anyhow, nearly $300 later when we could barely put food on the table, we got it expunged. In addition, I have a huge Ron Paul decal on my back car window. The other day we passed by a cop shooting radar at passersby. He briefly took his hand off of the radar gun to give us a thumbs up, which we thought was pretty cool… then remembered that radar guns are, by nature, unconstitutional. LOL So, even the liberty-minded cops do unconstitutional things. They have to, to protect the bureaucracy and the brotherhood. Disgusting.

  38. March 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Hey Eric, just watch out for the radar-detector DETECTORS cop cars carry in Virginia.

    I spent quite a bit of time driving in Australia, and they do have one thing on us, BIG TIME: roundabouts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout

    I can think of no worse waste of fuel than forcing people to sit idling at a light waiting for it to change. The whole concept is just dumb.

    In traffic circles, at least forward progress can continue while approaching/proceeding; no arbitrary and artificial stopping is required.

    • March 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      So far, so good!

      My theory: The swine assume that because it’s “against the law” to have a radar detector – and most people are cattle who obey “the law” – they assume no one has a radar detector and hence, no need for the radar detector detector. I suspect a radar detector is more effective here int he PVR for precisely this reason – and less effective where they are legal, because cops assume many people have them.

    • methylamine
      March 23, 2012 at 5:28 am

      The Valentine is so well built, it doesn’t leak from its heterodyne circuits…so the radar detector detector can’t detect it.

      A thoroughly delectable device. I cherish mine.

      • dom
        March 23, 2012 at 5:33 am

        I’ve been rocking my V1 for a while now (thanks to ya’ll for the advice). It is without a doubt the most awesome automotive accessory I’ve ever purchased. I pass cops daily with it and never have an issue getting detected for my detector. And even if I do get busted for it I’ll put it away for a few minutes then put it back up on the windshield. I’ll take equipment tickets all day long, better than paying paper and a points demerit for speeding!

  39. Christopher
    March 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I have been pulled over more than my fair share for ususally obnoxious infractions with only two tickets given. I am happy to say I have encountered some level headed cops including my first encounter when I was a 16 year old with a fresh license, pulled over for running a stop in a remote area in the evening with no other cars visible (except the cop waiting in a nearby lot)

    When asked why I ran the stop (and literally instructed that if I had a good enough reason I’d be free to go) my reply was, ‘Its a poorly placed stop, at a time when no one was around so I kept going…I also didnt think anyone was looking’, he smiled and replied ‘no one except the cop’ and let me off.

    Moral of the story, most police officers are smart, reasonable human beings; humor them a little, don’t insult their intelligence, and more often than not youll be fine. The laws are for the sheep, show youre not a sheep and you wont be treated like one, just occasionally inconvenienced for a couple minutes but leave with a good story and the freedom to break a few more ‘laws’

  40. Fred
    March 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Why do we obey these and many other laws? Well as Judge Robert Bork, Circuit Judge for the US Court of Appeals has said, “As government regulations grow slowly, we become used to the harness. Habit is a powerful force, and we no longer feel as intensely as we once would have [the] constriction of our liberties that would have been utterly intolerable a mere half century ago.”

    And as Sam Cohen, the inventor of the neutron bomb, stated about gun control (but it applies equally to ALL control of us), “Teenagers are roaring through town at 90MPH, where the speed limit is 25. Your solution is to lower the speed limit to 20.”

  41. Don
    March 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    The last time I was stopped for a traffic violation, was many years ago when I was COASTING down a very steep long hill in rural Pennsylvania, in the middle of nowhere, and my coasting speed exceeded the posted 55MPH speed limit by 5 or 10 MPH. It was the middle of the afternoon on the 4th of July, my family and I were on our way to visit relatives for an afternoon picnic. Parked in the middle of nowhere at the bottom of that hill was a very young Pennsylvania State Policeman, who no doubt was the short man on their senority totem pole – hence he drew duty on the middle of that day. He pulled me over, and I got out of the car. We debated on the roadside for about 30 minutes why he should NOT give me that ticket, IMHO. All of my cordial reasoning aside, he ticketed me anyway. A week or two later I received a phone call from some higher up from his police barracks, who wanted to know how the ticketing officer had performed – had he been professional, etc? I told him that the young man was professional, and that my only complaint was that he had given me the ticket in spite of what I considered my thirty minutes of sound reasoning against being ticketed. The police officer caller abruptly responded, telling me that he “didn’t care about that”, and hung up.

    • Andrew F.
      March 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      Yeah, they don’t give a crap. A few winters back, while negotiating the start of a winter storm on the PA turnpike, I called the state police to inform them that two salt-laying trucks were stupidly driving side-by-side at about 15 mph– so no one could pass them. Hundreds of cars had to go 15 mph for miles, for no good reason. I explained that the two trucks should drive staggered, with one a half mile in front of the other, so drivers could pass them. The reaction? A bored “uh huh” followed by a click.

      • dom
        March 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

        That is interesting. Similar thing happened to me. We had some serious flooding in my town and some train tracks got undermined. I called the non-emergency police number and they gave me another number to call. Called the other number and they didn’t give a shit. Stopped by the police station and told the dickface working there. He didn’t care either! Doh

        • BrentP
          March 22, 2012 at 11:13 pm

          A customer of government is someone with influence (pays elected office holders etc). We are just victims of government.

  42. Henry Bowman
    March 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Mr. Peters,
    I tried to fight “city hall” by arguing exactly as you said we can’t. I contended that the “speeding” statute was illegitimate, the policeman bringing the charge was not harmed (no tort), the policeman, as a witness, was granted special favors by the court, and that the judge is a representative of the state which was brining the charge and could therefore not be impartial. It landed me with an arrest for “Disorderly Conduct.” They must have considered the arguements themselves to be disorderly, since I was calm and professional in my delivery. Resistance truly is futile. Best regards.

    • Don
      March 22, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Mr. Bowman, I am so sorry that you got the short end of the US justice system for resisting the State. As many more people resist, they will also unfortunately meet with a similar fate. However, that is no reason not to resist — and indeed, resistance is NOT futile. That is simply a propaganda lie that the State would have us believe. We need and must have many more Americans resist, and when that resistance reaches the tipping point, the government will not longer be able to disregard, punish, or diminish us. As JFK said, “If you make peaceful change impossible, you make violent revolution inevitable.” Each of us must refuse to be afraid of our government, regardless of the consequence, and we must resist to the point that our government is afraid of us.

      • Henry Bowman
        March 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm

        Don, I agree with you. I still resist as often as I can, I’ve just learned to choose my battles more carefully. It was a truly enlightening experience to have to state validate the fact that a “fair” trial is impossible. Before that incident I was still naively thought that you could work within the system to affect change. It is now painfully obvious to me that the system is designed for their authoritarian benefit and can never consitently be used to gain true liberty.

      • Rick_in_VA
        April 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm

        Who was it who said,
        “When the people fear the government, we have tyranny.
        When the government fears the people, we have liberty”?

    • March 22, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Terrible – but unfortunately, far from uncommon. The greatest affront one can commit in America (where at least we know we’re freeeee) is to challenge or even question the Authoritay of the state or its minions. Violent thugs get less grief from the system than people such as us – who just want to be left the hell alone!

  43. Andrew F.
    March 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I’ve been doing/saying this for decades. Eric, you and I must have the same father…. :-)

    Another example: to me, 4-way stop signs were DESIGNED to eliminate complete stops, because EVERYONE in all directions must slow down to a safe speed, and everyone can see it — which enables the first arrival to continue without a complete stop. No one (except the usual impaired) will mindlessly cruise through the intersection without looking because “I didn’t have a stop sign.” Everyone must slow down. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven through poorly traffic-engineered Hoboken, NJ and told my girlfriend that the place needs 4-way stops at EVERY intersection. Safety would be improved 1000%, AND traffic flow would be improved.

  44. Jeffrey Skinner
    March 22, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Remember: Local Cops Are Better Than Fed Cops.

    I had the audacity to honk at a cop!

    This is my letter to The New American Magazine:

    On a sunny October morning, a sheriff’s deputy
    pulled out in front of me. I reacted by jamming
    on my brakes while honking my horn.
    The deputy didn’t appreciate my response to
    her actions. She made a high-speed U-turn
    and chased after me. Once stopped, she approached
    me demanding my driver’s license.
    I respectfully asked why she wanted it. Our
    “conversation” ended with her handing me
    a citation for “Excessive use of horn.” Now
    many might agree that I had experienced
    another out-of-control police officer. Some
    might even argue that I had been unlawfully
    detained under the color of authority.
    But the story does not end there. You see
    the deputy, at my request, had called her supervisor
    — a sergeant who had well earned
    his three stripes. While the deputy was “busy”
    writing me up, the sergeant and I chatted
    about many things. After a review of his business
    card, I expressed my concern that it indicated
    that he was a part of Homeland Security.
    The sergeant encouraged me to do two things.
    First, to file a complaint against the deputy,
    and second, to fight the ticket.
    And the end result was that at the request
    of the lieutenant who handled my complaint,
    the sergeant took an entire morning to drive
    to the courtroom and appear before a hostile
    judge to request that the charge against me
    be dismissed. Los Angeles is a big place, but
    the sheriff’s department is still local. They
    obviously care about the actions of their
    deputies and the concerns of us citizens.
    Shortly after noon the sergeant came to my
    office to present me with the dismissal papers.

    After he explained his “battle” with the judge, I
    handed him a Support Your Local Police packet.
    A half hour later he left, but only after writing
    his personal cellphone number on his business
    card. Folks, I believe we may and must
    enthusiastically Support Our Local Police.
    Jeffrey S. Skinner
    Northridge, California

    • BrentP
      March 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      I had something similar happen to me. Except it was a local cop of the neighboring town and he was demonstrating either PTSD or roid rage and all I did was shrug as he cellphone to ear turned left right in front of me. And he wrote up a “warning” for not yielding even though I had come to an abrupt stop to avoid hitting his cruiser.

      • Dan M.
        March 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm

        I had a motorcycle cop rear end me once. It was his fault. I was stopped at a traffic light and he admitted to me that he was ogling at a young woman while riding.

        It was just a minor tap and there was no visible damage to my car, so I just told him to forget it. But he dutifully had to write up a report to account for the minor damage to the city’s bike. I had to show my license, registration and insurance info just as if I’d been stopped for a traffic violation. I also had to file an accident report with the DMV after getting a little love note from them a few weeks later explaining that my license would be suspended if I failed to do so.

        The incident itself was actually pretty funny, and the cop behaved pretty reasonably since he wasn’t in brownshirt mode when I dealt with him. But I shudder to think what would have happened to me if my tags had been expired or I didn’t have the proper insurance paperwork.

        • March 23, 2012 at 10:24 am

          Or – if the shoe had been on the other foot.

          Do you suppose, had you tapped a cop, that the cop would say “forget it”?

          I say it’d be a miracle on par with my rooster shitting cold coins. You’d have been cited for “failure to maintain control” at minimum and possibly “reckless driving.” Guaranteed.

          But a cop hits you after admitting he wasn’t paying attention – and he just motors on.

  45. Dave Webb
    March 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    The “law” is two lawyers and a judge. The two lawyers argue before the judge. Everyone gets paid, they go home and perhaps even have a family barbeque in the backyard afterwards or go to a bar and have a drink together.
    The only victim here is the defendent. He gets to pay whether the two lawyers get up and talk or not. The judge is paid regardless.
    Lawyers want to get paid for doing absolutely nothing. They have hired help to do the actual work. The only thing that they do is talk. For that they get premium hourly rates.
    Probably 98% of our Congress is made up of these lawyers. The game rules have always been THEIR game rules. For instance, standard rates for Probate in many cases dictated by state law.
    Title Searches that are mandatory at any closing. Insurance to make sure the hired help did their job.
    With all that in mind, you have the hired help that enforces the law. The local gestapo has a certain number of tickets to issue every month to prove that they are actually working. These guys are not exactly rocket scientists. They often have police science degrees. They often go through a police academy. But the freight that comes with the job isn’t worth it.
    What comes with the job? Well for a paltry salary they get to go out there and risk their lives against multi-million dollar druggies with high priced lawyers to defend them(get out of jail free cards), break up domestic fights that cause more police injuries than any other cause, and generally deal with an often violent public.
    No salary no matter how high is worth what they go through. That is what I meant by rocket science . . . Anyone with an ounce of brains would find a different way to make a living.
    Look at our history. Stole the land from the Indians. This country is populated by the 17th and 18th centuries population of criminals from Europe and elsewhere.
    Someone out there has the bright idea that America can be controlled. I got good news and bad news on that idea. Genetically, we are all criminals at heart. Some better than others. Traffic laws make criminals of everyone.
    Most of those criminals have guns. Gee, I sure want to control that bunch don’t you? Well that is what law enforcement does. It tries to bring order out of chaos. Then two lawyers get up before a judge and make a joke out of the entire process.
    There are actually categories of law breakers in this country. Go to any garage sale and I can show you copyright breakers. Go to any City highway and I will show you stupid traffic laws intended to bring in revenue by City theft of your wallet. The south is especially bad about that.
    Entire criminal organisations have been established on prostitution based crime. On gambling. On alcohol.
    Neither is it exclusive to the lower classes. How many corporations have hired leaders at millions of dollars in benefits. What have they done for those benefits? How many go to jail for fraud or worse?
    The unions have been accused of criminal activities. Yet the businesses are far worse. They skirt the law every day when they make a person between 40 and 50 reapply for their jobs. That is called Senior discrimination. The Unions defend those people. For that they want to be payed dues to keep in business. The labor laws in this country are a bad joke. Any Union official can tell you the labor board for years has been packed with business executives favoring business over unions.
    I say lots of luck, policeman. You are dealing with the biggest and best thieves the world has every seen.
    The traffic laws are just a small part of theft.

    • March 22, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      Crikey… I thought I was cynical!

    • Chris
      March 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      hey I like you !!!!…………:)

  46. Rob
    March 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    My last two stops, within about 3 months, “the light went off at the toll booth” because my Fastrak’s battery was dead, and “Unsafe Lane Change” – which I was goated into by his asshole partner. At least I wasn’t threatened as I was at my 3rd most recent where my crime was leaving a restaurant.

    I don’t have a front license plate which is an excuse to pull me over at any time, but fuck those mother fuckers…I’m not damaging my car, and making it look hideous for no good reason.

    And why do you have to register every year at the DMV??? If it’s for safety, a one time registration should be fine. I like Steve Jobs solution to not having a license plate. A new lease every 6 months.

  47. Ron
    March 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    One of my favorite examples is one time I was stuck behind a guy while waiting for a red light. About four cycles went through, letting traffic in other lanes go but the light remained red for our lane. The light was obviously malfunctioning.

    People stuck behind me were honking horns to “just go” when the lane was clear or else we’d still be there for hours. That guy ahead of me just could not do it…he could not bring himself to go through that red light even when the way was perfectly clear.

    Last I saw, everyone was driving around him as he sat there waiting. Probably waited there until the light got fixed.

    • Jeff
      March 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      We were at a “permanent” red light. So we slowly edged out, carefully looking both ways, carefully placing our vehicle in one lane at the time. But then there was the “blond” next to us who saw us move forward, so she just plows across the street to be hit by an on-coming car. After being hit she looks over at us like we were responsible.

      Bottomline is that too many people are aiming their cars instead of driving them!

      Oh, and don’t you love the idiots who “park” at a flashing red like.

      As Eric implies, we would be a whole lot better off without all the laws and signs and lights and just drove with awareness and smarts. There are two places where I have been where all those things mean very little but the traffic flows and there are few accidents. While many Americans would say the drivers are terrible in Trujillo, Peru and Chennai, India the fact is drivers there are incredible, zig zagging through traffic in the opposite direction on “one-way” streets and honking through “red” lights.

      • Rick_in_VA
        April 23, 2012 at 10:53 pm

        I hear Rome is like that, or a least used to be.

  48. Desertrat
    March 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Not that I’d ever break the law or advocate doing such, but in May, 1985, I in my IROC did the 77 miles from Alpine to Terlingua in 44 minutes.

    Seemed reasonable to me…

    And I can honestly say that I’ve never gone faster than 150 mph on a public highway. (Damned valves floated at 6,500.)

    • March 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      Excellent!

      I, myself, have never exceeded 180 MPH on a public road….

      • Rooney
        March 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm

        I once did downtown Dallas to Lake Dallas(more or less 35 miles)in 15 minutes. A friend was on his bike and I was on my Yamaha 650. At no time did I exceed 130.

      • dom
        March 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm

        I’ve never been over 142 MPH on a public road. Just so happens I got pulled over soon after reaching it. I ended up having to wait a few minutes on the side of the road waiting for the cop to catch up. I would like to see 180-200 MPH one day. Only way I’ll see that is on a rocket bike though.

        • March 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm

          A certain car which shall remain nameless hit 147 MPH in fourth gear at redline… two more to go….

          • Rick_in_VA
            April 23, 2012 at 10:58 pm

            Back in the 60s, right after the Washington beltway was finished, we would see who could run all the way around it the fastest. It was about 60 miles, as I recall. I think the record was ~35 minutes. It’s not the same now as it was back then.

  49. Brad Smith
    March 22, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Eric, you would love it in my hometown. Nobody and I mean nobody pays any attention to traffic laws except for during festival. That’s the only time of the year that we have a cop in town. Turn signals are not used unless you are actually signalling to someone. We still flash each other with our high beams to let them know their’s are still on. Seat belts are worn when you feel like it. Many an enjoyable day can still be had driving around with a beer between your legs or a night with a spotlight looking for deer. Not to shoot them just to watch them get stooped. We still have a quarter mile drag strip on the real road. Everyone I know calls this road quarter mile. We stop in the middle of the street to BS with each other right in town, people know how to go around us. Huge shocker, we don’t seem to run into each other.

    Alas, I don’t live in my hometown anymore but visiting is a pure joy. My big town with one whole stop light has about 20 cops. I can often see three or four just to run into town to buy something. Even still I have my own fun. I run a straight pipe on my car, I have gone over a decade without a drivers license, not because it was taken away but simply because I don’t feel like paying them to tell me I know how to drive. I have a crack in my windshield that has been there 10 years and isn’t going anywhere. I could go on and on.

    Thanks for the article.

    Ps. I once knew a lawyer who could get people off of tickets by forcing the court to prove a law was justified. For instance if they posted a 25 mile an hour sign three miles out of town. Although I doubt it would work anymore.

    • Dan M.
      March 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      There are still attorneys out there who specialize in traffic tickets. I’ve never used one, it seems to me that their retainer would be at least as much as the ticket itself.

      But it might be a good strategy if you get a lot of tickets.

      • March 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm

        It’s not the fine – it’s the points. The fine is a one-time hit. But the points they assign are on your DMV record for several years – and if your insurance co. “adjusts” your premium by 10 percent (or more) on the basis of this, then you can see how it’s money well-spent to get the lawyer.

        • Dan M.
          March 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm

          Yeah, I agree.. that would make it worthwhile. I’ve been pretty lucky in the ticket department over the years.

      • methylamine
        March 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm

        In Houston, it’s an excellent strategy! I suspect the same for other large metro areas.

        And it’s cheap–fifty bucks buys you a gig with Kubosh, one of the largest and best in town. I thought I’d get some B-side performer for such a low price; but I was happily surprised at how good they were. A Houston pig had nabbed me in a construction zone at the airport–that’s like one of those 3X Scrabble letters in pig-land.

        The lawyer asked me a few questions, and before I knew it the prosecutor was looking steamed and all three tickets–no front license, speeding in a construction zone, and expired inspection–were thrown out.

        Five hundred bucks worth of fines gone–because the original stop was void, hence all the “add-ons” were void. Why? Because they hadn’t posted the lower speed limit far enough from the construction zone.

        However if you or I argued the same point, they’d laugh in our faces and perhaps arrest us for “disorderly conduct” or my other favorite bullshit tyranny-charge, “resisting arrest”.

        I’ll be bringing my fifty dollar lawyer next time, too.

      • Jeff
        March 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm

        Never use an attorney from your own town! Hire one from the town a few miles away! The local attorneys are in cahoots with the judge and the court. The local guy will show up with ten to twenty citations two or three times each week – he wants to win on most of them – but does not need to win on all of them. So he will NOT plead your case. (Oh, by the way, he wins on most of them the same way others do – the cop doesn’t show up.)

        But the guy from the other town will be there just for you. He has no other agenda. He WILL FIGHT FOR YOU.

        Before my recent ticket was dismissed, we went to the courthouse twelve times to see “how it worked”. I HIGHLY recommend that each of the readers here do the same next time you have a few minutes. One thing you will find is that you CAN WIN YOUR CASE – if you prepare. Most people present a lame defense – and lose.

        One other thing we found was that the attorneys “traded” a point awarding offense for a non-point offense. Here in California the code has section 38300 which states it is unlawful to disobey a sign or signal. Well, that seems clear enough – BUT this section is part of Division 16.5 which is headed OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES. This section has nothing to do with street traffic.

        Now here’s the kicker: The fine is the same! but no points are put on your driver’s license. Judge after judge readily accepts this switch when the attorney emphasizes “Your honor, THE FINE IS THE SAME.” Obviously it is all about money!

  50. Dan M.
    March 22, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I go to work early, around 6:00 AM when there isn’t much traffic. At one particular intersection, where a relatively quiet street intersects with a six lane main thoroughfare, the traffic light can take several minutes to cycle.

    There’s not much traffic at 6:00 AM, so I usually just circumvent this light by driving one block over and making my left turn at a stop sign. Piece of cake, right? Well, one day a cop had been following me for a few blocks when I made my usual turnoff to avoid the light. He followed me. After I turned left onto the main road, he pulled me over to tell me that my license plate light was out.

    After the usual ten minutes of license, registration and insurance checks, I wasn’t ticketed. I was just given a “warning.” When I checked the light later, it was working fine. He didn’t bring it up when he had me pulled over, but I swear that this stupid son of a bitch actually stopped me because he was irritated that I had gone around a traffic light.

    • Rick_in_VA
      April 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      It’s actually illegal in Virginia to avoid a traffic light by going through a parking lot, or so, at least, I’ve been told.

      I have made u-turns to avoid a “safety check” which is also illegal. Haven’t been stopped yet, though.

  51. March 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Eric, I am from Brazil and I lived in the US in 2008.

    I bought a car, and I ignored all the time this “law” about complete stopping in stop sign.

    And then I began to notice other driver stopping at stop sign in the middle of nowhere, without motive.
    I Brazil we have stop sign, but not this stupid “law” of complete stopping.
    So I was informed about this “law” and the motive of other drivers were stopping at the sign.

    I continued to ignore this stupidity! Never got a ticket.

    And I was amazed how Americans are like cattle, obeying this ridiculous “law”!

  52. Michael Maier
    March 22, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I do this stuff all the time. I run red lights often because my motorcycle isn’t heavy enough (1000CC touring bike!) to trip the sensors. If it’s safe, I go even when I don’t get the light. I run stop signs in my neighborhood because there’s not another moving vehicle or pedestrian in sight.

    I don’t like my chances in court, but I’ve been at intersections where I will NEVER get the light unless someone pulls up behind me And – NOTE! – I have to pull into the intersection to get them to trip the sensor.

    Screw their stupid laws and their lights. Most should be on yellow/red blinkers after midnight (or before) anyway.

    • March 23, 2012 at 10:26 am

      I’ve read there are metal sensors rather than weight sensors at some lights – and since most bikes are made of alloys (mostly)… but yeah, me too!

      • Chris
        March 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm

        how many times a day do I see Cops stop in no standing zone ? or a bus set down zone ?…….if I had a buck for each time I saw the jerks do that……but if I did it ! ticket time !

        • March 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

          Or “speeding.”

          Probably most people here – everywhere – have witnessed this themselves. I’ve had cops fly past me doing easily 20 over the posted maximum. Not “on a call” – just driving (as on the Interstate, where I once paced a state cop running more than 80 for miles… statutory “reckless” driving in my state…..

          • Chris
            March 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

            you should try tailgating a cop going over the limit……only catch is if you slam into their rear when they stop all of a sudden

          • March 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

            The better policy is to Clover Cam ‘em!

      • Rick_in_VA
        April 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm

        I posted elsewhere on here about the new VA law, effective last July 1st, which lets bikes, mopeds, and motorcycles treat the lights as a stop sign, if they wait two cycles of the light, or two minutes, whichever is shorter, and go when clear. I keep a copy in my wallet.

  53. Desertrat
    March 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    About 3AM a Parisian taxi driver blew through a red light in traffic-free central Paris. His American passenger mildly questioned the action. The response was, “M’sieu, ze black box on ze post, she does not think.”

  54. Stan Storch
    March 23, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Just found your web site today. Great web site and great post!

    “Debt by a 1000 cuts” is the only post I’ve ever seen on the b.s. annual registration fee for a pretty decal you can stick on your b.s license plate. Thanks for ragging them out!

    Keep up the great work! I’ve BM’ed your site so now I can keep up.

    • March 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

      Thanks, Stan – good to have you with us!

  55. Desertrat
    March 23, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Eric, thinking about highway speeds and what we didn’t know about aerodynamics back there in the ’60s and ’70s, I’m amazed we lived through what we played with.

    ’60s Chevy sedans were called “Shakers” because the front end went to shaking when you got much above 90 or 95, for instance. I noticed that with my ’62 BelAir at 130, for sure. :-)

    Spoilers? Huh?

    “Brakes? Yeah, I heard of them…” (Worked great, around town.)

    Ehh…Memories. Dang, we had fun! Midnight drags on Woodward Avenue above 8-Mile Road were interesting, particularly when guys ran title-for-title. I still remember a ’62 Pontiac Bonneville surprising people. Yeah, a 421, but nobody expected there would be a 4-71 puffer on top.

  56. March 23, 2012 at 12:52 am

    I’m sure it is simply because I’m 26 and still plenty rebellious at heart, but asinine laws make me want to commit the act just that much more. I’ve been tempered as of late due to responsibility to the family, but the urge to just piss ‘them’ off is ever present. I suppose this rebellious nature is due to the sickening gut rot I get at the notion that I would act as I otherwise would, because of a law. Which of course is glaringly stupendous due to the fact that my purposeful violation of said laws is still an action that I would otherwise not perform. I imagine the only difference is because one action, the one ‘they’ want, leaves me dishearted and less of a person, and the other action, the ‘illegal’ one, bolsters my confidence as an individual.

    • March 23, 2012 at 10:20 am

      It’s not your age – it’s that you haven’t yet been beaten down into submission. Keep that spirit – the spirit of resistance to stupidity and to tyranny – alive, no matter what age!

  57. Ernie
    March 23, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Eric,
    Kudos again. A few observations:

    If you’ve got your unregistered Uzi on the seat, obey the traffic laws. If they still stop you, you know what you’re dealing with.

    Driving is a right and not a privilege- except metaphorically of course.

    Seat belts are proven killer which have never saved a single life.
    A 65 Riviera with the dual quad 425 makes magical sounds with all 8 barrels open. But over 125 or so it kind of floats…
    The law is often but the tyrant’s will- Tommy Jefferson

    • BrentP
      March 23, 2012 at 3:48 am

      These things amuse me. None of them work no matter how legally valid. They do not work because traffic court is lawless. They might work for a lawyer because he is a member of the club, but they will not likely work for a non-lawyer defending himself.

      • dom
        March 23, 2012 at 3:57 am

        Brent’s right. Judge don’t give a shit unless you’re a member and have paid to be in the club (got a lawyer).

        • methylamine
          March 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm

          Absolutely. See my lawyer story above.

          The Judge, the Cop, the Prosecutor–all work for the same entity, The State, and it’s a ravenous criminal cartel out to fuck you and steal your money.

          The State is a disease masquerading as its own cure–

          Robert Lefevre

  58. Tatiana Covington
    March 23, 2012 at 2:44 am

    You’re up against the laws of physics. KE = (M*V^2)/2.

    Don’t you know this?

    • methylamine
      March 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      Yes! I can even do the integral from momentum without a book…and understand that at 120 I have four times the KE as at 60. God bless Cool Carbon brake pads and BMW dinner-plate rotors.

      But you know what? That’s why I meticulously maintain my car, why I continuously improve my skills with track driving, why I never listen to my stereo or use my phone while driving, why no food or drink is allowed in my car, why I don’t have a DVD player or sat-nav.

      I’m in my car to DRIVE–quickly, well, with gusto and enjoyment, and infinitely more safely than 99% of the other “drivers” I’m forced to accompany.

      • dom
        March 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm

        We need to get you rigged up with a clover cam! I bet the footage you’d get would be awesome!

  59. Shelgeyr
    March 23, 2012 at 3:33 am

    By and large I agree with the premise, with one glaring exception – and it is why I teach my kids to sit at that traffic light or make the complete stop, even when they’re 100% certain to get away with it… And in my book traffic laws (I think, because I’m not doing a lot of deep introspection while typing this) are probably the exception when it comes to needlessly annoying or unreasonable laws that “must be obeyed”.

    The reason is this: Never break a good habit. (Other than in an emergency, of course, and I make certain to include that.)

    Humans screw up. We make mistakes.

    I know that when I’m driving – even when “hyper-alert”, I’m doing most of the “Point-A to Point-B”-ness on autopilot. Maybe it is just me, but I’m fairly certain that if I broke my good habit (which is “cursing the stupid traffic laws rather than break them”) when it is completely safe to do so, I’ll one day screw up and do so – out of the new habit – when it ISN’T safe to do so, resulting in anything from a ticket to wholesale slaughter.

    I was a wild youth, and got away with driving long distances at over 130mph on multiple occasions, and never got a ticket for doing over 70 back when the limit was 55. But that doesn’t mean it was WISE. I think it is wiser to not break good habits. They were hard enough to develop in the first place.

    • March 23, 2012 at 10:11 am

      The best habit of all is to exercise judgment – not to blindly obey “the law.” If the law makes sense – if there is traffic coming at an intersection – then of course it makes sense to stop. But if there is obviously no traffic? Why not proceed with caution?

      Oh. I forgot. It’s “the law.”

      • Shelgeyr
        March 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

        Eric, I like your article and love your attitude, but I’m not sure you completely understood my reasoning. My reason for “blindly” obeying the law isn’t because it’s “the law”, it’s because the potential consequences of making a bad judgement call on my part are (or rather “could be”) so extreme.

        I don’t have a history of making such screwups, and am an excellent driver (I hope you don’t hear that phrase in “Rainman’s” voice…), nor do I live a life beholden to or consumed by fear. But, (you just had to know a “but” was coming…) when I knowingly and purposefully violate other nonsensical non-traffic laws, because I’m using my better judgement, I’m comfortated by the knowledge that doing so doesn’t put me in a position of potentially causing two or more objects made out of high-velocity steal to interact in a fashion that makes nobody happy.

        Not so with traffic laws, and not – I should stress – because they’re “laws”. Again, maybe it is just ME, and I know (and respect) that you disagree, but I just simply think (for example) that it is always a good idea to stop at stop signs – the “always” part being the habit-enforcing part – regardless of whether or not you really need to stop for safety’s sake in any particular incident.

        I’m not disagreeing with you – at all – about whether or not it is unsafe to do so when the coast is plainly clear.

        • Shelgeyr
          March 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm

          Man! Did I really say “comfortated”? Sorry!

        • March 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm

          I hear you –

          But I maintain the best habit of all is to be int he habit of using your head; to evaluate a situation and respond in a common sense way. Too many people have been conditioned to be passive – to just obey. Not necessarily for any good reason – just because “it’s the law.” This, in my opinion, has helped dramatically erode what America was supposed to be about.

          To put a finer point on it, I’d argue that each of us should question every law – does it make sense? Is it right? Is it reasonable? And if the answer is no, then “then law” deserves our scorn as well as our disobedience.

          • Shelgeyr
            March 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm

            You said:
            “But I maintain the best habit of all is to be in the habit of using your head; to evaluate a situation and respond in a common sense way.”

            There’s really no way I can argue with that!

          • March 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm

            Roger that!

            Some people respond negatively to Libertarian arguments because they assume Libertarians are advocating recklessness (and so on) which of course, they’re not. Rather, they’re advocating the flip side of liberty – responsibility. A nation of passive, thoughtless people who need to be told what to do cannot be a free nation.

  60. Desertrat
    March 23, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Disagree about seatbelts. I was sure glad of mine when I ate the concrete wall at the old Tulsa sports car track.

    A non-crash benefit is the reduction of fatigue on long driving stints, particularly on back-country curving roads. The belt does the work of holding you in place, not your arms and shoulders.

    Statistically, belts increased the risk of a fatality in about eleven percent of wrecks, back before air bags.

    • March 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

      No one disputes the “safety” benefit of seatbelts – that’s not the issue. Eating vegetables is “safe,” too. Shall we also impose that at gunpoint? How about daily exercise?

      You see the point – I hope.

      My “safety” is none of your business – let alone the government’s.

      • Shelgeyr
        March 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

        On this topic I have to fully agree with you, Eric.

        It is *stupid* to not wear a seatbelt, but it shouldn’t be the law that you have to. (Caveat: I do, however, agree with having to belt children in, even though I’m not completely comfortable with the principle of the government forcing parents to do so.)

        I have a dent in my head from a car crash almost 30 years ago. I wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The crash was 100% not my fault (I was stopped, and waiting at a red light – one that I suspect Eric would agree had to be obeyed given it was a high-traffic area.) Sadly, the person roaring up behind me was not even looking forward apparently, and smashed into me from behind.

        So was the rather bad head injury I sustained his fault or mine? For insurance purposes, entirely his fault. In my book, both of our fault, because I should have been wearing a seatbelt.

        But it still shouldn’t be a law. Stupidity has its own natural penalties (believe me, I know). It doesn’t need the law’s help.

        • methylamine
          March 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm

          That’s an excellent point–stupidity has its own natural penalties. It doesn’t need the law’s help.

          The new Amerikan reflex to criminalize everything has zero effect on compliance; it merely serves to increase State power and income, and perversely INCREASES injury because people assume an external agent will keep them safe.

          Living “dangerously”–taking care of one’s own–leads to responsible behavior.

        • Rick_in_VA
          April 23, 2012 at 11:22 pm

          Same thing with helmet laws. Beyond the length of my driveway,I wouldn’t ride without one.
          Butt out, Big Brother.

  61. MetaCynic
    March 23, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Cities all over Europe are experimenting with eliminating all traffic controls and proving that no controls are not only much safer than what they used to have, but traffic moves more smoothly and urban environments are far more visually attractive without all the ugly signs and lights.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0%2C1518%2C448747%2C00.html

    Here’s a historic film of a streetcar trip down Market Street in San Francisco just days before the 1906 earthquake. Notice the complete absence of traffic controls, yet traffic of all kinds is flowing smoothly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnDjmNNC9So&feature=related

    This will never happen in the U.S. because lots of people (the traffic industrial complex) are making so much money from the present system of control that they constitute a powerful political force to keep and even expand the status quo, safety and efficiency be damned.

    If a police officer didn’t see you run a stop sign, did it really happen?

    • March 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Yup – I’ve read about it – and, you’re right, it’ll never happen here. Cloverism is too deeply embedded.

      America is arguably the least free country on Earth in terms of the regimentation and petty control-freakism.

  62. March 23, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Excellent article. In former times, people understood a very simple and important concept: “the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law.” Are stop signs and traffic lights useful? Yes. Should they be observed in heavy traffic situations for safety purposes? Yes. But if good judgement dictates they are not required at the moment it used to be understood that there was no reason to enforce the law at that moment. No harm no foul, so to speak. That was based in an understanding of the spirit of the law. The road is clear, no one is coming, there is no reason to observe the sign or the law because safety is not an issue, i.e., no need for the law in the moment. Common sense. Today, everything boils down to power and control which is rooted in the letter of the law.

  63. Chris
    March 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    knew a guy who got a power grinder and cut a camera down one night with his mates, got caught, because the car he was driving while it had the rear plate taken off to foil id, he forgot about the for sale sign in the back window……so the cops got him, not to mention cutting the power through the high volt cables that power the camera is dangerous!….. can’t say I blame the guy though

  64. James Hancock
    March 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    The best cops are the atomitons. The law is black and white. It is not subjective. The problem with Traffic laws right now is that they’re rediculous and everyone knows it, including the cops. The cops “using their judgement” simply eliminates people’s outrage and as a result the laws don’t get fixed.

    But cops that get to use judgement in enforcing laws is exactly the problem. They become judge, jury and executioner. That is, instead of a jury or judge determining guilt, the cop gets to. And since the vast majority of cops have never even read the criminal code let-alone understand it, the results are disasterous.

    Second The average person breaks 3 laws a day. Thus every one of us should be jail. The only thing stopping that from happening is cops exercising judgement, which goes to the larger issue that is just made obvious in the ridiculous traffic laws.

    The reason why we’re all breaking so many laws every day is BECAUSE the police are giving a get out of jail free card. Because the police use their judgement and most of them are at least marginally reasonable people the cases of people getting screwed over by the justice system by stupid laws are the exception to the rule.

    If however, police did their job and enforced the black and white laws in a black and white way, the courts would be overrun with cases. The system would become unworkable and the states and feds would have to quickly eliminate 99% of the laws and get back to “did you hurt anyone or their property? No? No crime.”

    Speed limits are a perfect example. I routinely do 15-20 MPH over the limit because the limit is stupid while driving a sports car. It’s like I’m standing still, and there is absolutely no risk compared to the average person and their untrained abilities and lack of awareness (I’ve also raced cars professionally and taken extensive training courses). At the same time when I drive my truck, I do 10-15 miles an hour over the limit. And if I’m driving my father in law’s dump truck, I drive a little below the limit because of the way it handles.

    The point is, that if I drive the limit with the dump truck I’m probably 5 or 6 times more likely to get into an accident than I am driving the sports car 20 MPH over.

    And that same 55 limit in the middle of a snow storm is a licence to die.

    Stupid law that doesn’t actually slow people down or prevent accidents (just ask Montana where average speeds went down when they had no limit, deaths stayed the same, road rage went way down, and number of accidents in general were down 10% and all of it went back up again when they put the limits back on).

    Same with stop signs. They should all be yields at most. But no, we have to tell people what to do, because in this country we assume that people are too stupid to take care of themselves. And when you make that assumption, guess what? You make it true.

    My personal favorite though is Vermont with secondary seat belt enforcement and a law that makes it illegal to have things stuck to your windshield at a level below the rear view mirror. (you can put your radar detector directly in front of your face as long as where it sticks to the window is above the bottom of the mirror though!) So what do they do? They randomly enforce it, because almost everyone has a GPS stuck their window. Why? To get people with no seat belts on because it’s a primary offence, so they can nail you for the seat belt violation at the same time.

    So cops, enforce these stupid laws 100% of the time. Spend your entire day enforcing every single stupid law on the books. If you want to do us all a favor and make sure that this country doesn’t become any more of a police state than it already is, don’t use your judgement, take the law literally and enforce it relentlessly.

    Barry the courts in stupid cases and cause a backlog a mile long and don’t let up until the stupid laws are repealed. Otherwise you’re a tyrant with the absolute power of judge, jury and executioner, AND just as importantly you’re letting our legislators away with writing bad, stupid laws.

  65. James Hancock
    March 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    And another note the best way to end these stupid laws is to enforce them relentlessly AND pass a law preventing plea bargains. If you get charged, you’re going to a verdict. Period. First it stops charge inflation so that the DAs charge people with the real crime, and second, it eliminates stupid laws in a hell of a hurry when they can’t just threaten people into a plea and actually have to argue and prove the case.

  66. Desertrat
    March 24, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Eric, I was responding to Ernie’s comment about seatbelts being “killers”, above. :-) Me, I despise this Nanny-state mandatory safety garbage.

    Because of some major surgery, I don’t wear my seatbelt. I guarantee you, however, that I generally drive far more circumspectly than in the Good Old Daze. Call it Jeff Cooper’s Condition Yellow, +. Doesn’t mean that I’m anywhere near being a rolling roadblock, however.

    • March 24, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Yup!

      My “safety” is my ability to drive well. Being alert, and competent, will “save” you far more so than being a passive, inept Clover all buckled-up…

  67. Ernie
    March 24, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Seatbelts are proven killers which have never saved a single life. I didn’t say they might not sometimes be a good idea- plenty of kooks (clovers?) will take that point and run with it.
    I wear one off road, in my Cessna, and on icy highways. But people have been documented being killed by them- burned, drowned, and fixtured up for a t bone crash like a walnut on a vice under a hammer. No life has ever been saved by one- if you know scientific proof you will understand this point. The exact same goes for helmets, nomex suits, and full roll cages.

    • March 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

      It’s important to not bite hook – to refuse to play the game by their rules. The “safety” value of seatbelts is not the issue. The issue is whether an individual’s personal safety is the business of government, enforceable at gunpoint. My position is that the only legitimate business of government is the keeping of the peace. Whether I smoke, eat bacon, exercise or not – or buckle up or not – is none of the government’s rightful business.

      • Don
        March 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm

        I agree with your position completely Eric. And regardless of the fact that we probably agree on most everything, because of your liberty-minded position – regardless of that Eric, we perhaps might also agree that the ONLY legitimate business of government is contained within Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution – and that all other actions and laws by our government are unconstitutional, null, and void.

        As has been stated by the US Supreme Court, “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted. Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it…. A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it is superseded thereby. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.”

        And for those who have studied such issues, and would tell me that our government has the power to do all kinds of things (ie whatever they want) under the Constitution’s “General Welfare” clause, let me remind you of what Thomas Jefferson stated in 1817, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those (powers) specifically enumerated.”

        • Rick_in_VA
          April 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm

          Amen. Now lets enforce it.

  68. clark
    March 24, 2012 at 3:44 am

    I had not thought of looking at it this way before, thanks for writing this one.

    “Each time you “get away with it,” you amortize the costs of the times you didn’t.”

    I keep thinking, it Only cost 38 Cents per violation.

    The coupon clipper in the family didn’t like this perspective, but I did. And when a cop pulls up behind me my wallet doesn’t reach up and squeeze my heart as powerfully as before.

    • March 24, 2012 at 10:03 am

      It helps make it more bearable, that’s for sure!

  69. Chris
    March 24, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Clark,

    Each time you “get away with it,” you amortize the costs of the times you didn’t.

    HELL YES!!!

    Now I’ve got a Rule #92!

  70. Rick_in_VA
    April 17, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    The powers-that-be have “allowed” those riding bicycles, scooters, and motorcycles to treat traffic lights which don’t know we’re there as stop signs; IF you sit through two complete cycles of the light, OR wait two minutes, whichever is less. Isn’t that nice of them? It took effect July 1st, 2011. It’s an amendment to 46.2-833. I would suggest that you carry a copy of this, since I doubt most police are aware of it.

  71. Steve
    April 23, 2012 at 11:48 am

    We all practice nullification–nullification of bad laws–every day, and it will only increase with the increasing criminalization of everything via legislation. It isn’t the exclusive province of a jury to ignore a bad law (“jury nullification”); we can all thumb our noses at stupid laws daily. I explain principles like this to my daughter all the time–I ask her, “See that stop sign? What if, hypothetically, we were driving through a town that was completely deserted and therefore there was zero chance that blowing that stop sign would result in an accident. Is it still ‘illegal’?” Now she knows that “legal” and “illegal” are just legal fictions or fake constructs–pretend concepts. She knows that while it might be “illegal” to blow that stop sign, it isn’t inherently bad or wrong.

    • April 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      Right on, Steve!

      Not only do we need to do this sort of thing ourselves, we need to encourage others to do so as well. To let them know it’s ok to ignore stupid laws – and to do everything possible to undermine the evil ones. There is a lot of social pressure to conform; people want to be seen as “responsible” and “doing the right thing” – which unfortunately, many people equate with obeying “the law.”

      We need to disabuse them of that – and get them using their minds again!

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