Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wichita Speed Trap

Open Letter

There are several kinds of speed traps. The small town with a leg out to a piece of highway. The speed limit signs hidden behind shrubbery.

What I’m thinking about today is what happened to me the other morning in Wichita, Kansas. I entered a construction zone heading away from where I wanted to be heading, so I needed to make a left turn (or a U-turn, actually). Unfortunately, it was a large construction zone with “no left turn” signs everywhere, so I ended up making a right turn, then a U-turn further down the road, then through the intersection, and U-turn, and back to the red light, to make my final right, to head back out of the mess.

I made my right turn, from a stop, and went about 50 yards to where cops were pulling car after car over. They said I was doing 51 in a 35.

A few things about this. I went from a dead stop to 51 MPH in 50 yards in a loaded down 4-cylinder Toyota Highlander? Turns out, one can get some sort of deferment in Kansas from speeding tickets as long as one is not going more than 15 MPH over the speed limit.

That explains why I was going 16 MPH over the speed limit, I suppose.

Ah, you say, but it was a construction zone! One must be forced to drive safely in construction zones!

This little speed trap was set up at the very last cones, leading out of the construction zone and onto a highway on-ramp. I don’t even believe the cop ever actually pointed his radar gun at my car, they were so busy pulling people over. I call it more of a feeding-frenzy than law enforcement.

We’re supposed to respect the police (and teach our children that), and honor them for putting their lives on the line for the betterment of society. But what do we do with this kind of behavior? There were no police present in the actual construction zone, or leading IN to the construction zone, where their presence might have actually done some good. No, they were at the EXIT, at the end of the month, filling out ticket after ticket.

Of course every occupation has its own form of bureaucratic evil. The person at the desk who could help you, but legally doesn’t have to so you talk to the hand. The teacher. The real estate agent. The car salesman.

But there’s something very dispiriting when it’s a cop scamming for tickets. It is in no way helping the world be a better place. It eats at our respect for all public officials. All police. Society.

Now back to better things, as I fill out my check and then lick the envelope.

6 Comments:

At 7/29/2007 5:50 PM, Blogger Penultimatina said...

Better not pull that kind of a stunt in Cleveland (ha!).

Sara T. and I are going to your reading Saturday. Can't wait!

 
At 7/29/2007 5:56 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I'll drive slow. Maybe I should start now?

 
At 7/30/2007 6:53 AM, Blogger Penultimatina said...

Hey, nobody cares up here. Zoom zoom!

 
At 7/30/2007 8:31 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I simply must move back to Ohio.

 
At 8/04/2007 2:52 PM, Blogger Neil Kelly said...

There's lots of places to speed in the rural, rolling prairies of Indiana. Well, unless you have out-of-state plates. Then we'll take your money!

 
At 8/06/2007 5:35 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Neil,

Can I borrow yours?

 

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