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Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Cops - Saving the World One Monkey at a Time

Recently I got a speeding ticket. It happens. I can't complain - I've been speeding for 12 years and this is only my 2nd one. I'll continue to speed and I'll continue to get caught. So it goes. I could turn this blog into a diatribe against the absolute waste of resources that Big Brother expends in setting up speed traps to save us from ourselves and perpetuate its own pathetic existence, but I won't.

Instead, I'd like to pay homage to the select few of the 5-0 that really stand out for being shining exemplars of complete douchebaggery. For these men and women in blue who get off by lording their power over those they "serve," I'm sure there's a mall somewhere waiting for you upon retirement. I bet you're just itching to bring your fists of justice down on a group of loitering teens.

I had the honor of meeting one of force's finest when I got pulled over this last time. I have a wonderful radar/laser detector, but it can't protect against "instant on" zaps from speed guns. When my detector lit up, I knew I was caught. Game over. I pulled over, got out my license and insurance card, and was fully prepared to accept my fate. However, Mr. State Trooper wasn't content to just give me a ticket. He apparently had some deep-seated anti-simian prejudice because all he could focus on were the sweet innocent monkeys that graced my dash board and hung from my rear view mirror.

I was not aware of this until he told me, but apparently I couldn't see out of my windshield because of the primate obstructions. The copper wouldn't let me leave until he was able to sadistically revel in seeing the monkey carcasses strewn on my car's floor. (BTW, the above photo was of course taken BEFORE this incident because I would never ever think about putting the monkeys back up.) I guess the cop had some superhuman pupil power because the 8 different electronic devices attached to his dashboard and windshield must not have obstructed his line of sight.

I was bitter about the experience, but I wanted to know let the State know that I was so totally over it when I sent in my guilty plea.

Yeah, I know it's immature. The phrase "tilting at windmills" comes to mind. So does "prodding the bear." I guess I still have remnants leftover from my anti-establishment teenage angst days. But it felt pretty darn good. I say it's worth the bench warrant that is sure to come my way.


45 Comments
reera
I have been known to pay !@!@@@!parking tickets in pennies.
dannie   Thursday, May 1, 2008
SallyPants
Geez, Dannie, don't even get me started about parking tickets. The downtown areas in Bloomington-Normal actively advertise to bring people there. But their parking restrictions and ticket-happy police only serve to drive people away.

When Andrew and I moved out of our old place, which was in downtown Bloomington, we had the trailer parked outside the apartment. It was Saturday morning and the other 20+ parking spots on the street were empty. We were loading up the trailer and the parking cop came by and gave up a ticket because we had been in the same spot for over 90 minutes. We calmly explained that we were in the process of moving, and seeing how ALL of the other spaces were available, could she pretty please have mercy on us. But I think not having mercy is a qualification for the job and we got the stinking ticket.
SallyPants   Thursday, May 1, 2008
billpearch
A few weeks ago, I received a lovely photo of my rear license plate from the Illinois Department of Transportation. I have an i-Pass, but several months ago, I had to take my car in for maintenance so I borrowed my wife's car and moved the i-Pass. Naturally, I forgot to replace it and drove through the i-Pass lane. Did I have any change? Of course not. Thanks Big Brother. He seems to have forgotten all the times I threw change in the bin and the arms didn't go up. Stupid me, but I threw in an extra quarter.
Bill Pearch   Thursday, May 1, 2008
daveheinzel
You're my hero dude. I love those embellishments on your letter. I'm sure there's a lonely court clerk somewhere who will get a smile from that. And I'm with you - speeding is just a way of life, as are the tickets that go with it. I'll pay the fees and carry on my way if that's how it has to be. But there's no need for power-tripping cops who have serious insecurities.

The last time I got a ticket, the Statie was very nice. Lowered my speed on the ticket, was very polite and got stuff done fast. Obviously I was speeding for a reason, and he respected that.

Also, I've heard that if you wax your car every day, radar bounces off.
Dave Heinzel   Thursday, May 1, 2008
betsyradish
That is so awesome, Sally. I love the stickers. Obviously, I am now a huge fan of stickers after the Humzoo Express.
Betsy   Thursday, May 1, 2008
kristastull
SallyPants, most cops you will find suffer from what I refer to as "short man's disease". Loosely translated, it means that they have taken up this occupation to compensate for some shortcomings they possessed at one time or continue to possess. This can be anything from being a nerd in school to being vertically challenged (and you can fill in all the in betweens). Sorry about your ticket, but I loved the blog and am glad to know there are others who feel the same way I do!
BrOwN EyeD GirL   Thursday, May 1, 2008
nheinzel
Your mother didn't love the blog. Please slow down if for no other reason than not to have your car insurance premiums go up...and besides it will be much safer. I love you and I want you to be here to eat a lot more Peases candy!
!   Thursday, May 1, 2008
girlcarew
Love the stickers.
girlcarew   Thursday, May 1, 2008
SallyPants
B.E.G.- Yep, I totally agree that there's some serious over-compensation issues at play. And those are the ones that I have no respect for. BUT, and here's my disclaimer that I should have mentioned before, I have a lot of regard for the majority of cops who aren't jerkfaces. They put their lives on the line everyday and do some of society's most unpleasant work. And when I need them, I'm glad they're there. I just wish they would stay away when I don't need them.

!- I know you have to be all Mom-like and say those things. I'm not trying to pick a fight with you, but believe me when I say that I don't ever feel like I drive unsafely. I've prevented more accidents than I've caused (which is none) and I think it's the slow drivers who are more liable to cause trouble on the roads. I don't speed through work zones or residential neighborhoods. If I felt that going 85 on the highway was unsafe, I wouldn't do it. Our speed limit of 65 is a joke. Our state should find other ways of procuring revenue.
SallyPants   Thursday, May 1, 2008
k8day
And now they are toying with the idea of lower the speed limit to help with gas prices like they did years ago! I guess that just means I will drive 25 over and not just 15!
K8Day   Thursday, May 1, 2008
Scafflows,

Speed limits werenít created to generate revenue and give the police an opportunity to harass citizens (depending on your point-of-view, those are just ancillary benefits), they were created to maximize safety on the road. Slow drivers do present hazards, but so do speeders. The safest situation is have everyone going at approximately the same speed. Itís true, people have actually studied this stuff. Zipping in and out of lanes - or even worse, passing on two lane roads - increases the likelihood that youíll cause a crash. Yes, even you, the best driver who ever got behind a steering wheel.

And, if youíre interested at all in fuel conservation, then itís wise not to speed.

So relax, youíll get where you're going. If youíre running late, just leave earlier.
Dan   Thursday, May 1, 2008
SallyPants
Dan, if it's safest for everyone to go the same speed, then why do semis have to go 10mph slower than the rest of traffic? And why is there a 20mph lower/upper limit to highway speeds? For that matter, why have multiple lanes if we should all be going the same speed? Speeding doesn't cause wrecks. Bad judgment does. I concede that there is a point when going so fast fatally impairs reaction time and can lead to loss of control. I don't believe our posted speed limits approach that in most cases. I don't zip in and out of lanes. I don't pass on two lane roads when someone's coming from the opposite direction. I don't take corners on two wheels. I don't tailgate slow drivers. And it's not about running late. It hardly ever is.
SallyPants   Thursday, May 1, 2008
nheinzel
Sally, just don't drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.
!   Thursday, May 1, 2008
Personally, I'm ashamed of the reckless abandon with which my WiferPants drives. If she's not careful, she'll run right into the back of a slow and erratic driver in front of her, and have to marry them and help them find a new car.

It's like an O Henry story.
EyePulp   Thursday, May 1, 2008
BrianHamrick
Sally-one of the major reasons for speed limits is the exponential math involved with actually stopping/slowing your car in case of emergencies- braking distances increase dramatically every 10 mph. Plus, I do think they factor in that people will generally slightly exceed the limit, and so the limit has to be a bit lower than what they will actually tolerate. It's actually good wisdom applied (in many cases) regarding human nature.
Brian   Thursday, May 1, 2008
BrianHamrick
And I still don't see the problem with your monkeys.
Brian   Thursday, May 1, 2008
igna83
I'm agreeing about the monkeys, totally, and I understand all of the reasoning going on here; however, I do find anyone going over 80 mph annoying. Sorry, Sally, because I do not find YOU annoying at all! In fact, I rather enjoy your intellect and witty sense of humor; I look forward to it here on HumzOo each day. So, I'm going to agree with Mom Heinzel on this one: please slow down to a painful 78 mph and rock on!
Angi   Thursday, May 1, 2008
SallyPants
Brian, if you can read this comment than I'm not driving fast enough. I do get the basic physics of stop time but I won't concede that speeding automatically=recklessness. Especially when state speed limits differ by 15mph. I think there's a big difference between the two, though maybe it seems like hubris or naivetť on my part. I think a big part of driving safely depends on the driver's judgment and alertness. The German Autobahn, which has no speed limit for cars and motorcycles, has a lower fatality rate on its motorways than does the U.S., or a lot of other countries with speed limits. If cops were really concerned with traffic safety, I would like to see them spend their time going more after DUIs, people running stop signs and stop lights, and people who don't obey pedestrian crosswalks rather than the quick and easy nailing of someone going 75 in a 65.
SallyPants   Thursday, May 1, 2008
SallyPants
Angi, your comment reminded me of something I think George Carlin said: "Have you ever noticed, in traffic, anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac!"

But anyway, thanks for the kind words. It really pains me to ban you from my site.
Kidding! :)
SallyPants   Thursday, May 1, 2008
daveheinzel
Sally has said just about everything I could think to say, but better. But I'll add some stuff anyway 'cause that's what I do.

The "safe" speed to drive on any road is determined by a number of factors, such as traffic density, road conditions, vehicle type and driver experience. Assigning any one speed on a specific road is ludicrous, but you know, the government has to do something to keep us all safe. It's just not really working.

In response to Angi's statement - it's irrelevant if you are irritated by another drivers' speed. The issue is whether or not they put you in direct danger. Someone going 55 on the interstate might be in the right lane minding their own business, which is cool. That doesn't affect me. Someone going 95 who passes on the left doesn't bother me either.

The problem is when cars of differing speeds do not compensate for one another. If the car going 55 pulls into the left lane in front of a car doing 95, who's fault is that?
Dave Heinzel   Thursday, May 1, 2008
betsyradish
All of these arguments just go to show that the Tube Travel System of the future is needed sooner than later.
Betsy   Thursday, May 1, 2008
SallyPants
Betsy, I'm so going to pass your tube. ;)
SallyPants   Thursday, May 1, 2008
betsyradish
Yeah well, my tube is tricked out with chrome and running lights, so I am tubing extra slow so the ladies can check out my sweet ride.
Betsy   Thursday, May 1, 2008
BrianHamrick
Sally, I'm not saying speeding = inherent recklessness, I am saying speeding = inherent increase in potential danger.

Increase in danger means more time and money spent in accident crews, legal issues, and insurance mess.

I would agree that speed limits probably need to be raised, as cars have gotten much safer over the past 30 years.

And just to push back a little (in love), I don't think speed trappers are being pulled off of DUIs and crosswalk patrols to do their work.

Can you point me to a link, vis a vis, the Autobahn vs. Speed limited countries? Is that on Wiki?
Brian   Thursday, May 1, 2008
BrianHamrick
Dave, the problem is that someone going 95 on any U.S. highway doesn't respect the law, period. The rule of law is worth far more than we realize, think of how things are in a place like Sudan or Afghanistan. Imperfect laws with helpful intents are far more valuable than everyone just disrespecting the law and doing their own thing.
Brian   Thursday, May 1, 2008
daveheinzel
Does someone going 66 mph in a 65 respect the law more than someone going 95? I would put my trust in someone who doesn't respect the law a lot quicker than someone who didn't respect human life. The two are not one and the same.
Dave Heinzel   Thursday, May 1, 2008
nheinzel
You're comparing apples and oranges. The answer to your question, though silly, is yes.
!   Thursday, May 1, 2008
girlcarew
Here is a site with a lot of info on why going fast is less safe and it talks about the autobahn and US highway safety records:

http://www.usww.com/homepage/starteam/speed.html
girlcarew   Thursday, May 1, 2008
igna83
I'm loving all of the familial interaction going on in the comments to this blog! Oh, and Betsy's comments always make me chuckle.

Dave: The folks that go under 72 mph annoy me, too, so what does that mean? And to go even further, the folks that fluctuate up and down, playing Leapfrog with me all the way to Peoria or Springfield, annoy me MORE, especially if they're chatting away on a cel phone. Any of these folks, including the 80+ mph drivers, are totally dangerous to the rest of us actually paying attention to what we're doing...like me and Sally!! :O)
Angi   Thursday, May 1, 2008
daveheinzel
So... if you go above 80 you're dangerous, and if you go below 80 you're safe?

The danger with speed has nothing to do with a number on a posted sign or your speedometer's reading. It has to do with a drivers' ability to react to things happening in front of them. Yes, the braking distance increases with speed. Yes, driving off the road at 100mph is more dangerous than driving off the road at 50mph.

But those of you who view 65 or 75 as the default speed obviously are putting convenience above safety to begin with. The safest speed is 0 - anything above that is a tradeoff between travel time and safety.

Cars exist because they get you places faster.
Dave Heinzel   Thursday, May 1, 2008
Joe
girlacrew, I'm going to have to disagree with the statistics given on your link. The link states that US interstates are safer because there are fewer deaths per mile. This is only true because the United States has so many more miles of interstate than Germany has miles of Autobahn. Check any map to see how much larger we are than Germany. Germany also institutes a "Drive Right" approach, meaning if you aren't passing you can't be in the left lane and it is heavily enforced. See also - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road-traffic_safety#Motorway

Sally, In college I had to write a paper for my Philosophy class about how any philosopher's ideas would change laws today. My paper explained how speed limits would be set and enforced under Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy. I think it should be a blueprint for how things are done here in Illinois. Different speed limits would be set for different people on different paths according to their abilities. Let's face it, some people shouldn't be allowed on the interstates. Why does the state hand out driver's licenses without giving IQ tests?
Joe   Thursday, May 1, 2008
BrianHamrick
No, Dave, it is not just driver's ability. That is a major factor. But it is also things like weather conditions, traffic conditions, visibility, etc.

No one is arguing there is a perfect number we can assign to safety vs. non-safety... but an assigned number is more helpful than "to each his own".

I don't see anyone arguing for "convenience." People are trying to balance significant speed (relative, I know) vs. risk factors. That's how they arrive at the number. If you think it's too low- fine, so do I in many cases. In some communities, is it done just to try and earn revenue (through either speedtraps or slowing you down to think more about their businesses)? I'm sure that is the case in many places. Do I hate that? you bet.

"Cars exist because they get you places faster." Right. They are much faster than walking, biking, or horseback, the most common previous alternatives. That is not justification for, "you make your own rules," or "go whatever speed is best for you." You probably police yourself pretty well, but to assume all human beings are capable of doing that well (do you make that assumption?) is even more problematic.
Brian   Thursday, May 1, 2008
BrianHamrick
Joe- because most people view getting a driver's license as an unalienable right to sue the state over if denied.

Sounds like a logistical nightmare to individualize speed limits and multiply government bureaucracy.

Even with your comment re: autobahn statistics, it does not change the fact that raising the speed limit did result in more fatalities.
Brian   Thursday, May 1, 2008
nheinzel
Brian for President!!
!   Thursday, May 1, 2008
BrianHamrick
Nietzsche's anti-authoritarian philosophy was most likely hatched due to growing up in a fatherless home. We see the same phenomenon today.
Brian   Thursday, May 1, 2008
gotshoo
Wow, I've totally missed the comment fun on this post. However, I hear Springfield drivers are the worse drivers in the entire world, so that must mean Sally is okay (even with Monkeys on rear view mirrors), since she lives in the great town of Towanda (I chuckle every time I see that town's name).
shoo   Thursday, May 1, 2008
Leslie
Gee Girl, Don't you know that the best way to get out of a ticket is to start crying? It is my tried and true method. And if you need inspiration to start the tears think about how much the ticket is going to cost you. If you babble the word funeral you'll be on your way even faster.
Leslie   Thursday, May 1, 2008
SallyPants
Brian, here's a chart on wiki comparing int'l motorway fatalities:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_safety#Motorway
Also found an article published by the University of CA Transportation Center, in Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 26, No. 1, 1994, regarding the national change from 55 to 65.
From the abstract: We find that the 65 mph limit (from 55) reduced statewide fatality rates by 3.4% to 5.1%, holding constant the effects of long-term trend, driving exposure, seat belt laws, and economic factors.

It seems the tenor of this debate has changed. I never advocated eliminating all speed limits. And I wasn't complaining about getting a ticket for speeding. I know the legal consequences and I'm fully prepared to accept them. My point is that I don't believe I'm an unsafe driver just because I exceed arbitrary speed limits.
SallyPants   Thursday, May 1, 2008
girlcarew
"My point is that I don't believe I'm an unsafe driver just because I exceed arbitrary speed limits."

I completely agree. I wish cops would spend more time stopping tailgaters. I think they are a HUGE hazard.
girlcarew   Friday, May 2, 2008
SallyPants
Speeding and tailgating are not the same thing. One does not follow from the other.
SallyPants   Friday, May 2, 2008
k8day
I don't care what speed you drive, but if you are not passing, stay in the right hand lane and leave the left lane for passing only. I try never to pass on the right side, unless some guy decides to just ride in the left hand lane, then it's on!
K8Day   Friday, May 2, 2008
girlcarew
Sally... I'm not sure whether your last comment was in reference to mine or not. If so, I don't get it. I completely agree that aren't the same thing and one doesn't follow from the other. But that doesn't change the fact that I would rather cops pull over tailgaters than speeders. I think tailgating causes a lot more accidents, IMO.
girlcarew   Friday, May 2, 2008
SallyPants
K8Day and gircarew- Amen and Amen!
SallyPants   Friday, May 2, 2008
I didn't bother to read everyone's prior comments because grad school has destroyed my will to read anything anymore. I just wanted to say how happy I am that one of my "Super Job!" stickers made the cut and appeared on your ticket payment. And if I recall, you won that from me during a heated game of Pigs, did you not? Aaaah, the irony.
Kate   Saturday, May 24, 2008
SallyPants
Yes, that is your sticker that I won by crushing your porcine soul. I thought it was fitting since your hula monkeys caused so much grief for Johnny Law.
SallyPants   Sunday, May 25, 2008
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