The World Needs Fewer Cops

About a year ago, I was pulled over and given what I consider to be a frivolous ticket. I managed to beat it in court, but it got me thinking about how many police we have dedicated to making sure nobody is doing anything “wrong” with their car or skateboarding where it is prohibited. It seems that the vast majority of the police force is out patrolling roads rather than actually helping the people who need it or stopping real crimes.

Speed limits have not substantively changed since the 1950’s despite the fact that our vehicles have improved immeasurably in terms of breaking and handling ability. Why is this? Just follow the money. Think of all the tickets that are written each day. Think about how much those tickets cost, and then consider the fact that only 3% of all citations are contested in courts. This pretty much just amounts to a huge tax that only a tiny fraction of Americans seem to question.

In fact, because of all the fear mongering out there, most citizens have been deluded into thinking we need even more cops to “protect our safety” by pulling over even more terrifying criminals who are endangering our society by driving with a headlight out, or going 5 mph over the speed limit. Can you detect my sarcasm? Good! To me, if our cops don’t have anything better to do than set up speed traps and give kids a hard time for riding their roller blades, we have far too many of them as it is.

After getting that ticket, and before I beat it in court, I wrote this letter to my Governor, local and state representatives. Not a single one of them wrote me back. I imagine that they have all joined in society’s collective fear, and just didn’t know what to think about a person who is asking for fewer, rather than more police.

I am writing this letter to ask that you please investigate any and all means to prevent drug trafficking within the state of Vermont. Drug abuse is a major problem, and controlling it will undoubtedly have a positive influence on the quality of life in this state.

Having said that, I am asking that you please evaluate alternative options to hiring more state troopers. The reasons I am asking this of you are two-fold. First, we find ourselves facing unprecedented budgetary challenges, and with each new officer costing tax payers roughly $70,000 for the first year alone, creating more police positions is simply not fiscally responsible at this time. Secondly, it frequently appears that the state police we do have often lack enough work to keep them busy. Countless examples exist of officers issuing frivolous tickets, or hassling folks who are doing nothing illegal, or even suspicious, but who don’t quite fit the mold.

I moved to Vermont from New Hampshire because I value my freedom, my individuality, and my right to be left in peace. Even though it is an unintended consequence of otherwise well-meaning initiatives, it is my experience that a larger police presence can’t help but run counter to these values we share as Vermonters.

Please don’t impose more financial obligations on an already over-taxed state. Please help preserve the sanctity we share as law-abiding citizens. Finally, please impose tough, no-nonsense sentencing standards upon those involved in the illicit drug trade, but don’t ask tax payers to fund a larger police presence that is likely to spend nearly all of it’s time patrolling roads, not removing the drugs from our streets.

Thank you very much for your time.

After thinking more about it, perhaps a better way to go about reducing the number of cops would be to lobby for higher salaries. If we demand that our police officers are paid more, the departments will be able to retain fewer of them… It would keep Mr. and Mrs. Paranoid feeling secure, and we could be more selective in the type of troopers we are hiring.

First 4 Internet and Sony – Big Brother is Watching

This clever fellow Mark Russinovich over at sysinternals.com has discovered that Sony has been selling CD’s that install a digital rights management rootkit on its unsuspecting customer’s computers. They seem to have contracted with a company called First 4 internet which produces the rootkit, and contracts it out to the recording industry.

I Googled the company name and came across this article, confirming the fact that they have deals with several record companies, including Sony, to implement Digital Rights Management (DRM) software for CDs.

I wonder if these slimy tactics will really prevent people from copying digital content, or turn former legitimate customers to piracy for fear of having malware and rootkits installed on their computers? I’m just glad I don’t use Windows.

World’s Angriest Woman


Crazy Lady Yelling at Skaters from Cliff Pearson on Vimeo.

There are a lot of angry people in the world, but I’m pretty sure that the lady in this video ranks pretty near the top by any measure. It’s a movie of a woman in a parking lot screaming at a group of skaters for no apparent reason. Or at least no apparent reason that makes sense to any sane person.

Exactly why she is so angry is unclear, however it would seem that she is convinced that the kids are not the innocent skaters they claim to be, but rather evil photographers who come around “every couple of years” and are out to get her. She nearly blows out her vocal cords as she threatens to call 911 and demands their names, cameras, film, and calling cards.

Again, it’s hard to say why she is so furious, but it is quite clear that she:

  • REALLY REALLY hates photographers
  • REALLY likes calling cards
  • Has absolutely NO understanding of the law
  • Hates “illegal photographs”
  • Likes the name “Norma kay”
  • Is “tired of being beat up by photographers”
  • Is OK with the idea that one of the skaters is actually named Jeffery Jefferys
  • Is convinced that having been yelled at is a good reason for someone to leave

The only thing Al could say is: “she’s so unreasonable”, which I think is the understatement of the year! Zach suggests that this story should be called “Finally Someone More Angry Than Me”. For my part, all I could do was cry laughing. I do, however think that this video belongs in Zach’s “World’s Big and Tall” series under “World’s Angriest Woman”.