It is increasingly tempting to just go for it.
Scratch that. It is increasingly reasonable to just go for it.
Traffic stops are not what they once were. The fines have become disproportionate, abusive – hundreds of dollars for crimes-agains-no-one such as “speeding” and not having various government stickers, all of them up to date.
Many people cannot afford to pay these fines – not to mention the additional fines they face in the form of higher car insurance premiums, which they’re forced to pay as much as any court-ordered fine.
These premiums are already so high – even before they go higher, based on the pretext of convictions for crimes-against-no-one such as “speeding” – that many people reasonably elect to chance not paying at all. For the same reason that many people elect not to pay for “health insurance” that is unaffordable.
But if they catch you going without . . . notwithstanding the fact that you haven’t harmed anyone, including yourself. . . .
Now the premiums will be even higher again; not uncommonly several thousand dollars per year. Who can afford this?
Yet, who can afford not to drive?
In some states, a driver can be arrested and taken to jail merely for exceeding a posted speed limit by more than 20 MPH. This might be reasonable if speed limits weren’t unreasonable. But when a speed limit is set at 35 MPH on a road where traffic casually and routinely flows at 45-50 MPH, driving 56 MPH is hardly excessive, let alone “reckless” – yet it is defined as such by statute in states like Virginia.
Where it is also “reckless” to drive faster than 80 MPH anywhere – even on an Interstate highway with a speed limit of 70 MPH.
A trip to jail can ensue if one pulls over, which is a very strong incentive not to. And even if you don’t get taken to jail, you will be taken to the cleaners. The total cost of a single speeding ticket, including the jack-up insurance premiums that will remain in force for several years at least, is typically around $500. A “reckless” driving conviction – 81 MPH on a 70 MPH Interstate – will cost the average victim several thousand dollars, all told.
For people whose livelihood depends on a “clean” driving record, the motivation to take a chance waxes. Increasingly, it is a question of what have I got to lose? Increasingly, the answer is – not much.
Unreasonable laws – and excessive punishments – tend to trigger such responses.
And there is the more serious risk that you’ll face more than just a financial wood shampoo given the Submit and Obey mentality of today’s Israeli occupation-style law enforcers. People who aren’t aware how radically things have changed over the past 10-15 years or so may not realize that an innocent action such as stepping out of the vehicle unbidden or reaching for a driver’s license can trigger the Officer Safety Reflex – and leave you on the ground, bleeding out.
Law enforcers have been trained to consider the least act of non-compliance, even if arising out of confusion, as “resisting” and to escalate the situation with belligerent commands and – not uncommonly – drawn guns. They have been specifically taught to fear us – or at least, to pretend that they do – even though it’s they who’ve got the guns and the body armor and the legal immunity from meaningful sanction if they shoot first and ask questions never.
This is a scenario many people legitimately fear and would rather not have to deal with – and so they drop the hammer rather than pull over. It is entirely understandable because it is not unreasonable – as it may have been once upon a time when laws and cops (as distinct from law enforcers) were more reasonable.
These thoughts ran through my head the other day when I was out riding a motorcycle – BMW’s motorcycle, the 2018 K 1600B (reviewed here, if interested).
I was less than five miles from my house, on the nearly empty rural highway that bisects the county I live in. The speed limit is a ridiculous 55 MPH. Except for glaucomic old people and the occasional farm tractor, most everyone else is driving at least 60 and usually closer to 65. A competent driver – or rider – can cruise at 70 without offending any law except the state’s.
On the straights – some of which are close to a mile long, with clear visibility from one end to the other – going faster is entirely reasonable. The ninnies who post speed limits insist we should slow down in the curves. Why not pick it up when the road straightens out?
Anyhow, there is just such a gorgeous straight stretch about five miles from my house and I was on a brand-new BMW bike with a luscious in-line six cylinder engine. 55 MPH on this bike is like expecting Usain Bolt to sit in a wheelchair like George Bush the elder. It’s absurd.
So I went faster, as per reasonableness.
A law enforcer appeared, coming at me in the opposing lane. I glanced at my speedo. 70-something. Shit!
I was only five miles from the safety of my house, of my garage. The law enforcer was in a Crown Vic and headed the wrong way. I was on a BMW bike with four times the power-to-weight ratio of his car, and was already running 70-something in the right direction. He would have to stop, turn around and come back. Build speed. Close the gap.
I thought about the hundreds of dollars I was probably going to have to fork over to the got-damned government (on top of all the other dollars I – like you – am compelled to fork over to the got-damned government).
My right wrist merely awaited the command from my brain.
But it was BMW’s bike – and if that law enforcer happened to have a plate reader in his car, I’d be canned meat. Not just hundreds of dollars would be out of my pocket. My gig as a car/bike journalist would likely be terminated, too.
And so I pulled over and waited for the enforcer.
He wrote me a 74 MPH ticket – but at least I didn’t get shot for “resisting.”
. . .
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