One of the reasons so many traffic stops go “bad” is because there are so many pretexts for traffic stops. No harm done – but some law (that is, some authority) affronted. This triggers the Authoritarian Kabuki Show.
We fear being pulled over. They make a big whoop about pulling us over. Lights and sirens and riding our bumpers – all designed to disorient and terrify. We are forced off the road in a modern variation of the ancient “stand and deliver” routine that people used to have deal with in the era of horse travel through the woods.
We – if we don’t want to get shot – quickly pull over, put on our hazard lights, turn off our engine, turn on the dome light, put our hands on the wheel in a visible place and await our fate.
The armed government worker approaches – lately, hand on gun, having been PTSD’d into regarding every mom behind the wheel of every minivan as a “threat” to his “safety.” Or rather, a challenge to his Authority – which must not be brooked.
He demands ID, our “papers.” We hand them over. Hoping he’ll “give us a break.”
Better he left us alone to begin with.
If armed government workers weren’t constantly pulling people over for pretextual stops, simple math says there’d be fewer traffic stops and thus fewer gone bad. This sounds good – for all concerned.
Them as well as us.
If armed government workers concerned themselves with the demographic that warrants concern – i.e., criminals – as opposed to concerning themselves with penny-ante “violations” that (let’s be very honest) most of know exist solely as excuses to hassle and mulct people who aren’t harming anyone – it is probable the 95 percent of the population that isn’t criminal would harbor less resentment toward AGWs because AGWs wouldn’t constitute a daily threat to them.
It is literally not possible to drive to work anymore without committing at least one and probably several “violations.” Books have been written about this. There is always a reason – that is, a pretext – for an AGW to pull anyone over practically anytime he wants to.
This is unsettling. Especially now, as tens of millions of people have had their lives and livelihoods Corona’d. Hassling – and mulcting – unemployed and broke people over window tint, out-of-date inspection stickers, not “buckling up” and not quite stopping all the way at some deserted stop sign can set people off.
If AGWs stopped hassling people for pretextual non-legitimate reasons, there might even no longer be AGWs – i.e., nihilistic mercenaries who enforce the government’s edicts; i.e., the edicts of the handful of people who by dint of office or title are “the government.”
Some of the worst of these edicts are the most recent ones – but there are oldies and baddies, too.
Probably the number one worst is a two-fer.
Part one is the systematic and recent painting over of practically every previously legal passing zone. This is a trend many have noticed and commented upon. It is now common to find straight and clear stretches of road with ample time and sight-distance to pass – where it was legal to pass – but no longer is.
The reasons for this are several and probably include the usual dumbing-down; i.e., there was a wreck at that spot because some incompetent wasn’t able to pass safely – and now everyone must be presumed incompetent.
And pulled over if they refuse to be so presumed.
But why should this be? Who is harmed by a safe pass? If anything, a safely executed pass makes traffic flow more smoothly, which is objectively safer. This has been objectively demonstrated by numerous traffic studies. There is no data contradicting them. Allowing faster-moving traffic to pass decreases back-ups which reduces tension. It makes it possible for drivers to operate at different speeds without conflict. This is why in many European countries, everywhere is a passing zone. There are no double yellow lines. If it’s safe to pass, you pass.
This is taught.
The same with driving faster than the least-common-denominator. Which of course AGWs do all the time but for them it’s not a pretext for being pulled over – because who pulls over the ones who do the pulling over?
All of it is a form of Harrison Bergeroning – a reference to the short story by Kurt Vonnegut about a society in which people are punished for being more capable than the least-common-denominator.
They can get you for anything, anytime.
Another pull-over pretext is insisting on totemic obeisance to all stop signs and red lights all the time. Everyone not an imbecile understands that a stop sign or a red light indicates the need to exercise caution before proceeding. But that stopping completely or indefinitely when there is no reason to do so – other than mindless obeisance – is the definition of imbecilic.
And yet, people are punished for not being imbecilic.
For not quite stopping at a stop sign (because there’s no traffic and hence no reason to . . . other than mindless obeisance to a red metallic octagon. Traffic would flow more smoothly, less time (and gas) would be wasted if people were only expected to completely stop in the presence of another vehicle at the intersection. And only punished if they failed to exercise caution and practice competence and the result was harm done – as opposed to Authority affronted.
Same goes for the red light. Why should a driver be required to just sit there like a stunned rabbit if the intersection is clear and it’s safe to proceed?
Some localities are experimenting with flashing yellow lights instead. The idea being to slow but not necessarily stop traffic – in order to keep traffic moving. It seems like a good idea.
A really bad idea – inarguably so from the standpoint of morally justifiable actions by armed government workers – is this business of wig-wagging and sireening people for tinted windows or “loud” exhaust or not wearing a seatbelt. Even worse, the random stopping of people who are buckled-up, don’t have darkly tinted windows or loud exhaust. Who just happened to be driving – at the speed limit – on a particular stretch of road that AGWs decided to turn into an ad-hoc cattle chute/Fourth Amendment Free Zone.
Cumulatively, all these little things add up. People are fed up. They sometimes lose their cool and snap at their tormentors. Or their tormentor snaps at them – at the first hint of less-than-submissiveness. And then things get out of hand.
If they never began, they couldn’t get out of hand.
. . .
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos.
PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)
If you’d like an ear tag – custom made! – just ask and it will be delivered.
My latest eBook is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here. If that fails, email me at EPeters952@yahoo.com and I will send you a copy directly!