[this entry contains paid placement]
I’m out in Dallas, still. I’ve had what can only be described as an interesting weekend, in the Chinese sense of the word.
Let me explain.
Less Crime, More Punishment
I left Tyler a little late on Monday afternoon. The plan was to come up to Dallas, work with Thos on a few campaign and iRP issues, and prepare for the Park Cities July 4th celebration. But I wound up taking an afternoon nap, and consequently left a little late out of Tyler. Just before I wound up leaving, Darrell sent me a message to the effect of “be careful, I had a dream last night.” When pressed, he wouldn’t give me any details. Oh that I had heeded his forboding and stayed home.
On my way out of town, I took the 110 route, and got stuck behind a truck going 25 mph for about 15 miles, which was about as fun as that sounds. Once I got up on I-80, though, I was determined to make up for some of the lost time by setting the cruise control at 84 mph. This is usually a safe speed to travel, and tends to not piss of the highway department too bad (at least not bad enough to pull people over).
Apparently, though, there was one particular DPS official with a bone to pick, and almost exactly at the turnoff for I-20 from I-80, I see the flashy lights come up behind me. There’s not exactly a great place to pull over in that area, so I waved at him to indicate that I saw him, and then I waited till I got on the straightaway of I-20 before pulling over to a median.
As it turns out, this delay in my stopping did not amuse the esteemed public official. Standing about 5’2″ and looking all of his 19 years old, as authoritatively as his pubescently cracking voice could merger ordered me to present him with my license and registration. I obliged his request, having it ready previous to stopping. He returned to his squad car and did his computer stuff where they punch in your license number and find warrants for your arrest in states you’ve never been to.
He came back about 20 minutes later (I’m not exaggerating here), and ordered me out of the car, quite forcefully. I asked what the problem was, but he told me to put my hands on the side of my vehicle. He then asked if I had any illegal substances or weapons on my person. Of course I didn’t, and I told him so. He then proceeded to frisk me. He then ushered me over into a muddy patch beside the highway and instructed me to remain there.
He then informed me that my license had been suspended by the State of Florida. That’s when the fun began. He wanted to know if I had any weapons, up to and including knives, swords, guns, grenades, or small nuclear arms, or if I had any drugs or dead bodies stored anywhere in my car. I told him not to the best of my knowlege. Of course he didn’t believe me and still wanted to search my car.
For those of you non-Texans, we have a draconian, unconstitutional law that says you can refuse to let an officer search your car, but by doing so, you forfeit the right to drive in Texas. Rather than explore the constitutionality of the law and the nuances of his absolute authority, I slipped my hands into my pocket and told him he could go ahead and search my vehicle.
Unfortunately, this was the right sentiment with the wrong execution. He then freaked out about me slipping my hands in my pocket, even though he had discovered no weapons in his previous frisking, and placed handcuffs on me. He then went about the business of tearing up my vehicle, looking for something to take me in for. This seemed a bit redundant since it already appeared I was going to jail anyways.
As I struggled to remain calm, I told him that it would be an altogether poor decision to take me in for driving with a suspended license, especially if the warrant that ended up suspending the license was in Florida, which is what he lead me to believe. Florida would not pay to have me extradited back to Broward simply for a traffic ticket, and then the State of Texas would not get paid for the 10 days I’d stay in jail waiting for extradition.
At this point, close to an hour and a half had since elapsed, and the sun had long since set. Whether it was the compelling nature of my arguments or the fact that he was simply tired of harassing me for no real reward, he went back to his squad car and finished writing up my ticket. He uncuffed me so that I could sign it. I did so, and he released me back to drive illegally the rest of the way to Dallas.
When I examined the ticket after arriving at Thos’s, I discovered he had written the ticket for 81 in a 65. I-20 and I-80 are 70 mph zones during daylight, so he held me long enough for the sun to set so that he wouldn’t be just giving me a ticket for a 11 mph violation.
When I arrived at Thos’s, I relayed the story over a couple of nice glasses of sweet champaigne, and we took care of our business, and then retired to bed.
More Crime, Less Punishment
After we awoke, we made our quick preperations to leave for the celebration, and made our way to my car. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my driver’s side window smashed, my dashboard torn up, my fusebox torn out, and my stereo completely missing! I’d like to add that Thos lives in a decent neighborhood, not-inexpensive.
Let me also mention that amongst the sports cars, Lexii (that’s plural for Lexus), and other such trendy vehicles parked alongside mine, mine was the only one broken in to. I’m choosing to take this as a sort of backhanded compliment.
At that moment, however, I was highly annoyed; I almost raised my voice when I spoke my discontent regarding the situation.
Then began the three hour process of figuring out how insurance was going to cover this. I won’t bore you with the details of all the phone calls I made, but I will mention that I’m glad I have comprehensive insurance, which covers these sorts of things. I’m finally at the point in my life (and living in the right geographic area) that this sort of thing is affordable. Up to this point in my life, insurance has been downright impossible to get due to either where I lived, my driving record, or me being too young. Every online car insurance rate I’ve pulled down in the past has been exhorbitant – in the neighborhood of several thousand dollars a year. As a result, I’ve tended to go with Short Term car insurance programs, where I get insurance long enough to get registration and licensing squared away, and then go back to being an illegal motorist. I don’t reccomend this, but sometimes when you’re poor or unfortunate like I have been in the past, you’ve got no choice.
It occurred to me, in the process of reporting my vehicle stolen and then getting the repairs issues squared away with the insurance company, that there was not even an illusion of justice being presented here. The Dallas police department handling of vandalized vehicles is for you to wait for a four hour window of time to elapse – in which time you’ll be given a call back from someone working for the department who will ask you a few pointless questions, and then give you a number. This number is your police report number. It is useful for one thing – giving it to the insurance company.
There is no investigation. There is no chance of my property being recovered. There isn’t going to be a dramatic trial where I finger the culprit in a tense courtroom, tempers running high. No!
Conclusions: Who took what in the where?
My question is this: If the law enforcement of Texas has time to detain me for an hour and a half on the side of a road on the suspicion might be going 16 miles over the speed limit (because I look so much like a terrorist and a drug d
ealer), but can’t expend more than three minutes looking into what happenned to my car the next day and why, then what is the point of having law enforcement at all?
Where is the Crime Scene Investigators, those .. what are they called, criminology units? Where are the no-holds-barred detectives like on Law and Order? Where are the slightly emotionally troubled but heart of gold officers like on NYPD Blue? No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus, and there certainly aren’t any law enforcement officers with a set of priorities that match up with their job description.
Cynical Rizzn, Signing Out.