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Give Us A Break!

Bob Ingle, in today’s Asbury Park Press, comments on how the threat of police layoffs didn’t intimidate residents who voted down tax increases above the cap:

……..politicians have done police officers a big disservice by using them to increase revenue flow. When we see officers in the traditional “protect and serve” role, everyone loves the cops.

But when the only thing we see them doing is seat belt checks, holding up traffic to look for expired inspection stickers and dressing up as women at crosswalks to catch people buzzing through, they’re viewed like the tax collector.


People with integrity wouldn’t want to see a tax collector physically hurt, but they wouldn’t cry if a lot of them lost their jobs.

New Jersey state and local governments’ insatiable appetite for our money destroys the quality of life in many, many ways  but perhaps the most depressing is the way they have invented hundreds of “personal fouls” that normal honest and productive citizens “commit” every day but if you do it in front of a cop you are faced with a ticket that can cost you up to hundreds of dollars.  And when we see law enforcement resources being steered toward these “gotcha” kind of offenses it causes a general disrespect for the law and it’s enforcers.  It’s unfair to the police officers and really unfair to the victims.

Many of these “gotcha” offenses can result from doing the thing that in your judgement is the safest, the law be damned.  For example, the only thing more dangerous than driving 45 MPH (!) on the Driscoll Bridge (where the average speed is about 75 MPH) would be to actually jump off the bridge.  Stopping in certain cases for pedestrians in crosswalks (who sometimes don’t even want to cross the street, they are just standing there) can get you rear-ended.  Red light cameras are a particular problem in this respect because by the time you get the ticket in the mail weeks later you don’t remember the circumstances surrounding the event.  There are hundreds of these types of things from crackdowns related to cell phones, seat belts, inspection stickers, and speeding (where the limit is insanely low), to getting a ticket for failure to move to a different lane from the one next to where a cop has someone pulled over, which on the Turnpike and Parkway seems to be about every mile and a half.  Sometimes it would be dangerous to try to move into the next lane if it’s crowded.  And nine times out of ten the cop has someone pulled over for some BS reason anyway.  So who is creating the hazard?

Because the feds have ruined flying for me, all of my vacations since 2003 have been driving vacations.  Some have been quite far, more than 4000 miles round trip.  Let me tell you something brothers and sisters; in every one of those trips I saw more cops in the New Jersey legs of the trips than I saw in all the other states (and Canadian provences) combined!  This is not about keeping us safe.  It is about keeping us poor.  If my safety requires cops and cameras watching my every public move, ready to pounce for any of hundreds of possible slip-ups, I’d rather not be safe.

In the words of that famous tea-partying, right wing extremist Thomas Jefferson:

I prefer dangerous liberty to safe tyranny.


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