[NAMES CHANGED TO PROTECT THE THUGGISH AND POSSIBLY ME]
I got pulled over by a road pirate about three months ago. You know, the bullies that have brand new vehicles with flashing lights. They like to force you off to the side of the road and demand money from you. When I saw the vehicle up ahead it was making a u-turn from the shoulder on my side of the road. After we passed he made a second u-turn within the same quarter mile on a state highway at 5:45pm on a weekday. He caught up to me very quickly and tailgated me for about a half mile before turning on the lights.
When he came to the window he said, “The reason I pulled you over is because your tint looks a little dark.” I nodded my head since I had gotten a tint, fix-it ticket about two years previous. The first attempted shakedown happened approximately two months after my wife and I had paid a well known automotive aftermarket shop to apply a legal tint to our car. At that time we were doing a lot of traveling with our children who were just over a year old, and thought they could use a little extra shade.
Officer Farva first measured the front passenger window, then the rear passenger window. I distinctly remember him saying “forty-six, forty seven” when measuring both windows. He waddled back to the official extortion vehicle and emerged several minutes later.
The law says a window is illegally tinted if it “has a light transmittance of less than 50 percent plus or minus three percent in the visible light range.” He earlier told me the law says 50%, but I know forty seven is legal. So when he hands me a citation, I say “I don’t know how you can even write me a ticket. Isn’t there a tolerance range?” Then he says “Forty five, forty six, you have to draw the line somewhere.” Boy do I wish I had my phone recording for that one.
Farva goes on to say “I see it this way, you’ve had a couple warnings for tint and you haven’t done anything about it. If I give you a citation then maybe you will.” At that point I’m just shaking my head and probably look very angry. He asks if I have anymore questions and I say “I don’t suppose there’s any way I’ll talk you out of that ticket, so no.”
When I get home I tell my wife the story. She soon finds the fix-it ticket from two years ago. It is from the same guy. When he talked about other warnings, he was talking about one from himself and two attributed to a previous vehicle, from which, the tint was subsequently removed. Interestingly enough, the tint in my old car would have been legal if it was in a truck or SUV. The laws are different for these vehicles by some inane government logic.
I don’t hate cops. My uncle was a cop for years and is a great guy. They often arrive on accident scenes before the EMT’s, offering first aid and routing traffic to allow emergency vehicles through. Many of them are good people trying to do their best to serve the public. It’s not a job I would want to do and many of them are heroes in some instances. Maybe Officer Farva is even a decent guy around friends. The problem is that their incentive is all wrong. They are encouraged to blindly enforce laws instead of actually protecting citizens and their property. Does Officer Farva really think he’s keeping others safe by hassling me about window tint that is maybe 1% too dark? I’ve thought a lot about private defense contracting versus public police and logic dictates that if they were actually protecting and serving versus enforcing arbitrary laws, things would be a lot more peaceful.
A growing problem is that many new police are being hired from the ranks of returning soldiers. Great huh? A bunch of guys with post traumatic stress disorder, who are used to shooting everything that moves and pushing locals around with impunity, are put in charge of keeping the peace on our streets. Search around and you’ll find countless stories of innocent people killed in swat raids, others brutalized, pets killed as a matter of procedure. One of the best out there at exposing the boot on the throat of civil liberties is William Grigg at his blog Pro Libertate.
In addition, our local police departments have been arming up with military gear and training. One of the many drawbacks to living in an imperialist country is that the offense department has a bunch of extra equipment laying around to give to local PDs. In some cases they only have to fill out one sheet of paper to get an armored vehicle. We are now seeing a perfect display the result of police militarization in Ferguson, Missouri. Police were teargassing everything that moved, including people in their front yards and news crews. Michael Brown was certainly no angel, but did he deserve to die? Theft, vandalism and looting are despicable, but so is racism and police brutality. Hopefully this will be a spark to increase police accountability. I’m afraid it will lead to an increase in violence. Other government interventions that helped to create this crisis are LBJ’s Great Society, minimum wage laws, and the war on drugs.
Back to Officer Farva’s hypothesis about what action I would take based on the impetus of his citation. He misjudged me. I did not pay the fine and go away like a good citizen, but showed up for arraignment two months ago and plead not guilty. First I talked to the county attorney who advised me to pay the fine right there. I told her I was going to contest it and then explained my case.
I had spoken with Officer Farva’s boss about what kind of tint meters they used and got confirmation that it was a Laser Labs M100. It turns out that there is a plus or minus two percent accuracy on the meter, which means that they cannot say for certain if the window was forty five percent or 47 percent (which is legal).
Today was supposed to be my court date. Yesterday I got a letter from the county attorney. It was a copy of a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that there is “not a reasonable likelihood of conviction.” It’s good to know that ultimately someone there understands the value of time…well, their time anyway. So I was able to be a productive member of society instead of taking a half day of vacation…which is how they still got some revenue from me today…yay for constitutionally limited democratic republicanism.
Not that I really care for the Libertarian Party, but their symbol (a porcupine) is a great representation of people who suffer under too much government. Whether it is something as serious as the oppression inner cities deal with, or the minor issue of a highway cop with a hard on for tinted windows.