To Protect and Serve
Way back in February, I had a strange encounter with the law. It's just after 5 o'clock, so I'm leaving work. It's a good job. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, I'm as happy as as the next guy to go home. So I round the first corner, and immediately, traffic is stopped dead. Despite the fact that I work in Orange county, this is unusual at this particular intersection. It turns out that the local police have erected a driver's license checkpoint. Alright now, stop right there. A driver's license checkpoint? I've only lived in this state for 22 years, and on this side of it for 5, and I've never heard of such a thing. Well, I guess there's a first time for everything.
Back to the story. Having been at work all day, I'm completely sober (in fact, at that point it may well have been a week or so since I'd had a drink), and I have my license, registration and proof of insurance. I figure I'm in the clear. Wrong. I wait my turn and finally pull up to the officer at the intersection and hold out my license. He glares at me and blares, "You have tint on your windows." True enough, I bought my car used (or pre-owned, if you prefer) and it came with tinted windows. I hesitantly agree with the annoyed-seeming man outside my rolled-down, tinted window.
"The legal limit for tint is 12%," he says, just this side of a shout. "That looks like 20, maybe even 30."
I try to explain that it was like that when I bought it, and the dealer had told me that it should be in compliance.
"Did the dealer give you a certificate of compliance?"
"Pull off to the side over there. You're going to have to take that tint off your windows." he says, voice dripping with impatience, perhaps even a hint of disgust.
About thirty minutes later I drive away with my first fix-it ticket.
Now really, with all that goes on in the world, especially in this screwed-up half of the state, do the cops really have so little to do that they have to entertain themselves with "driver's license checkpoints?" I mean, come on! I can understand sobriety checkpoints, at least then they're actually protecting other drivers from people who are a danger on the road. Are my windows really so dangerous that you not only have to give me a ticket, but in addition talk to me with a tone suggesting that not only am I retarded, but also some sort of moral deviant? If they were that hard up to meet their ticket quotas, they could quite easily pull over fifty cars in just a few hours a block away from where my windows were endangering the public. Seriously, why give me a ticket while completely ignoring literally hundreds of motorists going at least 15 over the limit, only a quarter mile away? I have yet to see a person pulled over on my way to work where at least one car in ten is going more than 10 over, and yet I have to take time out of my week to go to the courthouse, wait in line and pay $75 (in addition to the cost of having my windows fixed).
And people wonder why the crime rate never seems to go down.