We are told – lectured – about the dangers of being an armed government worker (AGW). This is like the shark complaining about the danger posed by the scuba diver.
About 1,000 people are killed each year in this country by AGWs.
Almost 400 so far this year already.
Some of these departed under less-than-savory circumstances.
Contrast this body count with the 35 AGWs who’ve died – some from natural causes such as heart attack – in the “line of duty” (it’s just a job, actually; duty being some action one is morally obligated to perform, such as caring for ones children. Mulcting motorists for not wearing a seatbelt is a job – in the manner of a meter maid, except empowered with lethal enforcement powers) so far this year.
It is far more dangerous to deal with an AGW than to be an AGW – the ridiculous mewling about the “danger” faced by AGWs notwithstanding.
Therefore, the logical policy is to avoid dealing with them whenever possible – and to the extent feasible.
But how, exactly?
Chiefly, by not drawing their attention. Here’s how to do that:
Don’t obey the law
If you drive exactly the speed limit, you’re calling unwanted attention to yourself. Especially at night. Especially if you are the only car on the road.
Attention often leads to interaction.
This will strike the AGW as less “suspicious” than driving at – or below – the speed limit. Which almost no one does. Which is why the courts have ruled it is “suspicious” to drive at or below the PSL.
And “suspicion” has become the new probable cause – and thus a useful tool when the AGW can’t come up with any specific legal reason to Hut! Hut! Hut! you.
If the PSL is 35, then 37 is sound policy.
This is still technically “speeding,” of course and so technically illegal, but it is within the range of speedometer error and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to beat it in court, if it gets to that. Which it probably won’t – because it’s not likely you’ll be pulled over for 2-3 over.
Because that’s not “suspicious” . . . even though it is illegal.
If you live in a state that forbids the use of radar detectors or other tools of “evasion” – be sure to use them. The very fact that most people don’t use them – because they do obey the law – gives you the advantage because AGWs assume you’re not using them.
Just be discreet – and stay alert.
Both kinds of cars attract unwanted attention from AGWs – and for the same fundamental reason.
They are target-rich . . . targets.
As a guy who test-drives a different new car every week, I can personally attest that AGWs will draw a bead on the flashy car, irrespective of how it’s being driven. They will pick it – and so, you – out of a pack of cars and follow for as long as it takes for you to do something ticket-worthy.
And if you’ve already done it you’re certain to be today’s fish in the barrel.
A dead inspection sticker or slightly askew license plate is much more likely to be noticed by an AGW if the car in question is mottled, duct-taped or otherwise noticeably downtrodden. He will also be much more likely to “smell marijuana” when he approaches the car. It will not help if you look like you might actually have marijuana.
Or if the car is cluttered with trash. You might be “hiding” something.
Okay if I take a quick look for my safety and yours?
If you have a flashy – or ratty – car, be sure all your papers (and stickers) are in order; try to run with the pack – never lead it. Or trail it. Watch safari shows and you’ll see which antelope usually ends up being eaten by the lions.
Do what the other antelopes do.
Obey unwritten laws
Lots of examples here. For one, windows tinted to within a shade of what’s not legal. Guaranteed to draw attention – and hassles – from AGWs, even if the tint is on the right side of legal. This is automotively analogous to walking down the street with an AR-15 in a state where open carry is legal. It doesn’t matter. If an AGW sees it, he’ll more than likely make an issue out of it.
Because AGWs are “the law” – no matter what the law actually is.
Same goes for aftermarket exhaust systems. It might be 100 percent legal. But it’s still 100 percent likely you’ll draw the attention of “the law,” if it’s “too loud”… in the opinion of the AGW.
The best aftermarket systems these days are the ones which are normally as quiet as factory systems and get louder only when you floor it.
A car that makes a lot of noise all the time is just like chumming the waters – and then going for a swim.
But what about the inevitable?
At some point, dealing with an AGW will be unavoidable. We live in a police state, after all. One can hardly swing a dead cat by the tail without splattering an AGW with it. Even if you never do anything “suspicious,” you may have to prove you’ve done nothing illegal – as at a “safety” checkpoint.
The thing to do here is balance the importance of protecting your legal rights – and your dignity – without triggering the AGW’s authoritarian impulses.
So, roll down your window, provide your papers – but don’t answer his leading questions. All AGW questions are designed to lead you to giving an answer that will serve his purposes, not yours. “I’d rather not answer any questions” is all you should say – because you’re not required to say anything more.
But say it in an even-toned, businesslike manner.
Do not agree to do or allow anything you are not legally obliged to do or allow – such as consent to a search of your car or person. If the AGW insists, be clear – be vocal – that you haven’t consented. This may become important later, if the search leads to a charge. Probable cause is still technically a legal requirement prior to a nonconsensual search. If the search is done without probable cause – and without consent – any charges that ensue could be thrown out.
In general, the model to follow when you can’t avoid dealing with an AGW is the Ben Kenobi model from the original Star Wars movie.
The difference between the movie and our reality being the Imperial Stormtroopers were more reasonable than today’s AGWs.
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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