Monday, March 13, 2006

Not so random ponderings

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Just not too much to say recently... Here's some not so random thoughts to tide you over until my next epiphany.

It's Spring Break here at Big State U. That means no students for a week. As I walked onto campus this morning a crushed empty beer carton tumbled by blown by the wind. Seemed somehow apropos.

I read a little article on the BBC News web site last week about a woman in Ireland who was in court because she had been caught by a camera used to detect speeders. She wasn't speeding. In fact she was driving well under the speed limit. The problem? She was putting on makeup. One hand was holding a mirror and the other was applying eyeliner or something. Pop quiz: how many hands were on the steering wheel? Her lawyer was arguing that the case should be dismissed on the grounds that a few days after she had been photographed driving sans hands she had been caught driving drunk and had lost her license anyway...

The above reminded me of a couple of things. Last year the state legislature here failed to pass a bill making driving while using a cell phone illegal (using a "hands-free" headset would have been okay under the proposed law). One of the most outspoken opponents of the bill argued that she put on her makeup every morning while driving down the highway to the State Capitol and that if she could manage that, people should be quite capable of using a cell phone while driving... Remind me to stay off that highway in the morning.

It's illegal in this state to drive while not wearing a seat belt. However, you can't be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt. You can only be charged if you're pulled over for some other reason like speeding. The state legislature recently turned down a bill that would let the police pull you over for not wearing a seat belt (ie for breaking the law). The reason they turned it down? It infringes on people's civil liberties...

The mayor here recently proposed installing cameras at intersections with traffic lights. You know, those cameras that take pictures of people going through red lights. The council turned down the proposal on the grounds it was too "Big Brother is watching you"...

So here we are in a country where the President and his cronies can listen in on your phone conversations and read your private emails, but God forbid we use cameras to catch people who are breaking the law and putting other people's lives in danger. Or we enforce seat belt laws that not only save lives, but also vast amounts of money (think about how much it costs society to deal with an accident with injuries or fatalities). Those would be invasions of privacy. Erosion of civil liberties.

Is it 2008 yet?

3 comments:

JollyRgr said...

Law making is not a U.S. strong point.

It's even weaker at enforcement on those in power.

Not a strong arguement to be leader of the so called 'free world'....

Odyssey said...

Hey, we're free! Free to not wear seat belts. Free to drive without using our hands. Free to run through red lights. How much freedom do you want?

Milo said...

These colors don't run...