kurt_w wrote: See, for example, former NH state legislator and gun-nut Tom Alciere, who repeatedly advocated killing police officers. (As one of many examples, in 1998 he wrote a letter to a newspaper, in response to the murder of a police officer, saying "There's nothing wrong with wasting cops. They go around threatening innocent, random people at gunpoint, and they whine about it when one of us humans kills a cop.")
No offense to anyone or anything or their cousins, but cops do "run around threatening innocent, random people at gunpoint" all day long. I don't so much agree with Tom Alciere's sentiments, and I'll also go so far as to admit that there are some really good ones out there, and even that some of the shitty ones show themselves to be inclined to act decently every once in a while, if the incentive is right (i.e., a busty girl in the drivers seat, either that or a guy with a crew cut and some stupid bumper stickers)... But it seems like every time I turn around, those bastards are wanting $2000 or $3000 dollars from me for something, and I've never been in a fight, been caught in the possession of illegal drugs, driven under the influence, sped, or even run a red light. (Not when they've been looking, anyway, lol).
The problem is never so much as 'what I've done' as it is 'what I haven't paid for', and this figure has proven to be exponential. Whenever you get a ticket that you don't have any money to pay for, they set a deadline for payment and if you don't meet it the cost goes up; shorty after they take away your car's registration, and quickly thereafter they move on to revoking your driver's licence. Then you get another ticket for driving around with an unregistered car; then of course they always take the time to notice that you're license has been pulled as well. This is always right about the same time that I start to feel like they're all driving around threatening random people at gunpoint, - which they are.
Near Antigo, WI, I was pulled over in just such a way, given another quick $400 worth of tickets and transported 8 miles into town so that I could "call someone"... Of course I had no one to call, so I had to walk all the way back, hop in the car, after scoping out the nearest back roads, and then start up and bolt as soon as no cars were coming, just to keep from having my car towed (yet again)... (This is one of the worst towns in the state for getting randomly pulled over). Of course, this took a good 8 hours out of my day.
I have had my license revoked and reinstated in this way something like 6 times during the last 3 years (3 times during the last 12 months) and am considered to be a high risk driver despite the fact that I've never had a speeding ticket and never been involved in a car accident. More of this and I won't be able to get a license at all because of a manditory 5 year suspension the state might choose to enforce. However, even then I'll be forced to continue driving and trying to stay ahead because it's impossible to make a living otherwise. The worst part of this equation is that I could eventually see prison time for being a 'repeat offender'...
Currently there is a warrant issued for me because of these tickets in Antigo; while trying to get ahead, I could be pulled over at any time and incarcerated for at least 20 days or so (so much for my rent, job, etc...) I know this because it has happened often enough in the past (the last time I was stuck in the city jail for 35 days), and I am greatly dismayed. Furthermore, if I do get pulled over again, this means the cops'll be plugging me for yet another quick $4-500, and still have to go to jail, not be able to pay the new tickets because of not being able to work, and then face yet another warrent, just like this one. Do I want another 100,000 of them out there on the streets? No way in hell.
This tendancy on the behalf of the nation's police departments to target and take advantage of the poor (police stations collect something like $70 per day from the state for one incarcerated citizen... Uh, I mean, criminal...) is very discouraging to any of us who would be asked to think of police officers in a more optimistic way. I am no criminal, no drug addict, no pimp, no brawler, no drunken driver, domestic abuser, no sex offender... But I'm sure going to see a lot of these people whenever I get caught for my great and unforgivable crime of not having enough money to pay for all these tickets. As a non-criminal, I'm almost surprised myself to look back and notice that these cops are choking me for upwards of $2000 each and every year since I decided to get my driver's licence.
Almost. However, the policies all start to become very clear when you're stuck playing checkers with Snoop Doggy Dogg's pimping midwestern cousin all day long. TIME IS MONEY. TIME ... is money. Think about it. For anybody who's ever had to get arrested unfairly (either for something they didn't do or by virtue of yet another of society's many oversights...) these sentiments of Mr. Alciere's ring very true. It's an invasion, a violation, an outrage. After that point, even the entirity of his callous phrase starts to make a lot of sense.
Beautiful individuals rarely become police officers. How could they with these policies, and worse, their quotas? Police science is a rather discriminatory study, I would say, and I shudder to think what they teach some of these officers in training, and to see the results either up close and personal or on the streets in places like Seattle a couple years back. Storm troopers with halos, that's what it ammounts to. I should start taking collections, LOL.