Greetings and Happy Sunday!
I hope you are having a great weekend.
In church this morning I heard a story that reminded me of a situation that happened in my life that I wanted to share.
Years ago I was driving through the city of Lewisville Texas. Lewisville is home to a many who live north of Dallas and south of Denton. There are a few shops that I go to on occasion.
On this particular day, I was trying to find a new place I had heard about. Taking the exit one must go under a bridge, around a loop and then go back down the feeder on the southbound side of I35.
The time of day was in the early afternoon so the sun about 20 feet above the street if it were right in front of you.
Once traversing the bridge the way to get to southbound feeder was ill-defined at best. There were two entrances one of which had “do not enter signs” around it. The other did not.
Now I had never been on this particular stretch of road. It looked confusing, so I actually stopped and looked around to see what I was missing. There in the parking lot across the street was one of Lewisville’s finest sitting there I assumed running radar. Looking once more that the intersection I turned into the entrance without the “do not enter” signs.
The same officer that I saw sitting there was now behind me with his lights flashing.
“Pull over in the parking lot!” I hear with my windows closed.
Ok, I was not speeding, had my turn signal on, why is he back there?
Getting out of his cruiser he asks for the usual stuff and disappears into his car.
After seeing that I was not a threat to mankind, not wanted for anything and that my insurance, license sticker and everything else was up to date, he hands me a ticket for making an illegal left turn.
“Where was the sign that said don’t do this,” I enquired?
“They don’t have one but they should, he explained. But, if you go back and look up, you will see some signs with arrows on them and one with an X through a left turn arrow.”
As he thanks me for my courtesy, he gets back into his cruiser and floors it, screeching the tire igniting all 500 horses into a full gallop as he leaves the scene of his crime-fighting efforts.
I took the time to turn around and go find the sign. Friends, there it was, 20 feet in the air and about 50 feet in front of the intersection were some arrows, and one certainly had a line through it for the left turn.
Do you remember what else was at 20 feet above the ground?
Yes, the glaring sun blinding you and obscured the signs for anyone to see.
I am not an advocate of hating on police officers. As a matter of fact, I have many who are close personal friends. This 30-year-old man could have done many things including at the very least offering me a warning, as this was my first ticket ever!
I, in fact, drove over a 1000 miles a week for 15 years and never got a ticket.
Looking at all the options, they make it really easy to send them the $200 plus dollars if you take differed adjudication.
What that means is, if you don’t get another ticket in a year, it does not show up on your record. You just go up to the window there and hand the clerk a credit card, and you’re done.
That was ten years ago, and I have still not gone back to Lewisville to shop. I did drive through that intersection on a recent trip to see if they had changed it, and they have indeed put some signs at eye level that take the confusion out of the process.
I guess that officer had to find another honey hole to use to hunt for confused drivers. I am sure that they exist, I have seen them as I travel a good bit.
There is an issue when one gets a ticket. That is this. I think it makes you a less safe driver, at least it did with me. I started second guessing every move that I made. Much like a student driver, I deliberately thought about each and every action when I drove.
Like life, we tend to do things automatically. We don’t think about driving like we don’t think about breathing. You just do it. If the signs are appropriately placed and thought out, that is what it should be like.
This man knew and I would guess was purposefully sitting there at this time of day knowing full well those signs would be hiding in front of the sun, which they were. He admitted that they should have a no left turn sign at eye level. Then he hands me a $210 ticket and leaves, screeching his tires and using unnecessary acceleration to get onto the feeder.
I wanted to take it to court. Because of a head-on collision with a drunk driver 30 years ago, I physically cannot sit for any length of time. So in effect, I am deprived of my legal rights to be heard by our system of justice, as I cannot physically sit in one place while they go through there painful procedures at the speed of grass growing.
Allow me to be very clear. I honor our men and women in blue. As I stated, I have many close friends who serve in this capacity. Those that I have shared this story with called the man a prick. I had a few other choice words which I will not share.
Having said that never, I repeat never adjudicate your case on the side of the road. We recently learned of an officer in Roswell using a coin toss app to see if he should detain a driver.
In Irving not long ago we saw a woman accosted on the side of the road by an officer.
Make sure they can see your hands at all times. If they pull you over in the evening make damned sure that your light inside the car is on and your hands are in plain sight. When they pull you over their adrenaline is pumping, and they too are human and might mistake a sneeze for you pulling a gun on them.
“Yes Sir, No sir, thank you officer!” should be the most common words in your vocabulary when dealing with the man or woman in blue. Judges go through a little more training than the people in blue do, and they are not afraid for their lives like the person who just chased you down might be, and is now wondering what he or she is about to face.”
I was driving a minivan, a soccer mom mobile so I am confident that this young person felt that it was a safe bet to pull me over and save the world from my illegal left turn. FFS!
The losers are the cops and the City of Lewisville. Yes, they got $210 of my hard earned money. But, that cop represents all police. He represents an unfair practice of finding confusing intersections and waiting for someone who is driving on automatic mode and not expecting something so out of the ordinary. Or my personal favorite is the officers who sit in parking lots at the bottom of a hill with their radars shooting up the hill.
If you need a radar gun to tell that I am speeding by a couple of miles an hour you probably should not stop me.
This man who stopped me works or worked for a group of people who think what he did was great, and wish they had thought of it. The city loses because I don’t take my business there any longer, period. I will go way out of my way to stay out of that city and have done so since the ticket fiasco.
Business owners in Lewisville should probably go to a city council meeting and bring this up. Do I still sound pissed? Yes, I think I am. That was unfair and wrong and just Bullshit!
Will they miss my money that I spend elsewhere? Will they lose the tax revenue? Probably not but, you see I am also a writer, Unlike that officer who could have made me aware of the sign hidden by the sun, and then tell me to have a beautiful day he chose to use it as a revenue-generating moment.
I chose to use this blog to point out that there are people in this world who are self-serving and some of them wear blue.
I am of the opinion that all money generated from traffic infractions should not be in the city’s coffers. Generating revenue from tickets encourages speed traps which I have seen throughout the country.
I am for law enforcement, just not as a source of revenue.
As I leave you today, I want to leave you with this thought. As I complain about an unjust treatment and an abuse of the vehicular codes, my heart and prayers go out to the officer and his family today who died in the line of duty. The officer was viciously attacked by a person with a rock and then shot with his own gun multiple times.
These people disserve the ability to work their shifts protecting us, and serving us, and then go home to their families where they transform into mom or dad until their next shift.
As I write this, I got a news alert telling me of three cops shot and the shooter killed. Pray for the police and their families.
I could pontificate about why this is happening, but when you see the heated rhetoric in this country today, and you see Hattie become a no man’s land because of civil unrest, just possibly it is time we dial back the rhetoric a little bit @CNN…
There is a loss of respect for just about everyone, and it is justified or rationalized through the lens of hate. I don’t hate that officer that misused his position of authority, I dislike what he did, and I think it is a disservice to his uniform, his fellow officers, and his community.
Those that push this hate driven agenda don’t care. They need the country divided at all cost, and it is a ploy that anarchists have used for centuries. With social media, it is just much more accessible.