Want to understand how cops think? Or rather, how thought-less they are? Here’s a deconstruction of an interview (full text here) Yahoo conducted with ex-traffic op Mike Brucks:
Yahoo asked Brucks, “How much leeway do you give someone before writing them a speeding ticket?”
“The speed limit in Texas used to be 60 mph, [and] well, out on the clear road where there’s a lot of visibility I give people leeway. I wouldn’t write tickets until they got to 80 mph…..”
Ok. Hold onto that. Now check out Brucks’ next answer:
Yahoo asked him: “Are speed limits too low?”
“No, the traffic engineers, at least in Texas, are pretty good. It’s not that some parts of the highway are safer for speeding, it’s that drivers aren’t always paying attention. People die on lonely deserted stretches of road too. There are a lot of times drivers aren’t concentrating. They need to understand you’re going 100 feet per second on the highway. Above 75 mph things just happen so fast, [whether it's] a flat tire, a coyote, wind, dirt, or rocks. It’s not that much better now that cars are safer; reaction times are still the same.”
Well now, Officer Brucks – which is it? On the one hand, you said, “I wouldn’t write tickets until they got to 80 mph” in a 60 MPH zone – 20 MPH over the posted lawful maximum – and then you go on to make the universal statement that speed limits are not set too low, that “the traffic engineers… are pretty good.” Except, apparently, when they under-post the road by 20 MPH. In which case you cut people some slack – or so you say. No, wait. You actually say otherwise. That “…above 75 MPH, things just happen so fast” … ” even though that’s still 5 MPH below your own arbitrary determination of a reasonable speed (20 over, 80 MPH).
You’ve admitted – openly – that you yourself flout “the law”… sometimes, when it accords with your arbitrary judgment. The sick thing – which Officer Brucks and his ilk never see – is that their arbitrary judgments are no more or less right or wrong in an ethical sense than the judgments of ordinary people. Or the arbitrary edicts called “the law” (when “the law” is purely statutory; i.e. when there’s no actual harm involved in violating it).
But ordinary people don’t wear special costumes – and aren’t empowered with the authority to impose their Judge Dredd-esque arbitrary judgments on others at gunpoint.
Much less “earn” a living this way.
Officer Brucks is utterly unconscious to his own hypocrisy – and malevolence. He actually believes he is “keeping people safe” by waylaying them at gunpoint for non-crimes (because these “offenses” have no victims) purely on the basis of his own arrogant, arbitrary determination as to what constitutes a “reasonable” speed. He arrogates to himself the authority to make the decision – as is typical of his caste.
But wait, there’s more.
Saith Officer Not-So-Friendly:
“When someone tells me that a family member has just been sent to the hospital and they’re on their way, how can I ticket them for that? I tell them that they’re not being safe, that they need to slow down and stay safe. That’s about it. ”
Well, perhaps Officer Sometimes Friendly. It all depends.
Apparently, it’s ok to “speed”… when Officer Brucks decides your excuse meets with his personally acceptable criteria. And here we thought safety was the criteria! Apparently, it is safe to “speed” … when a family member has just been sent to the hospital. This is good to know. Braking distances, tire adhesion, sight lines, driver skill… all the stuff Brucks and his kind love to trot out… ah, who cares? All that really matters is the inclination of Officer Brooks toward your personal story.
This guy bragged to Yahoo about having written no less than 40,000 tickets during his 22 year “career.” Work that out. At $150 per ticket (probably lowball given many traffic tickets routinely cost $200 or more once “court costs” and the various multiple additional “fees” and “surcharges” are tacked on) that comes to six million, six-hundred-thousand dollars’ worth of “revenue” extracted at gunpoint from the unfortunate citizens of El Paso, Texas – where he “served.” That’s just one cop. Extrapolate this to a department of costumed, badged enforcers – then a nation of them. Handing out pieces of payin’ paper they admit – though without realizing it – are trumped-up, bogus… based on little more than whatever a given cop happens to be in the mood for that day.
The day you happen to have the misfortune to be driving in his vicinity at a speed you believe to be perfectly reasonable.
But which he has summarily decided, isn’t.