Cops as revenuers

Expect more stories such as this one in the Sacramento Bee today, in which an 18 year old man was fined $500 for riding a bicycle without a seat (it was stolen) and without brakes. Other news reports suggest that fines are going up all over the place. Police increasingly are becoming by-the-book revenuers who aren’t so much concerned about public safety, but about increasing revenues for cash-strapped agencies and governments. We’re also becoming — actually, we’ve become — a nation that is rulebound and unforgiving. In a normal society, a cop wouldn’t even write a fix-it ticket — he would say, “Sorry the bike seat was stolen, but you better fix those brakes! Don’t let me see your riding it that way again.”  Even better, no self-respecting cop would even harass someone for riding a bike without a seat. It’s probably a sign that there’s not enough to do. These days, there’s no room for flexibility or common sense. We’re the zero-tolerance society, which perhaps explains why our society is becoming at times a bit intolerable.

–Steven Greenhut

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  1. EastBayLarry
    EastBayLarry 30 March, 2010, 08:31

    This may be more of a ‘nanny state’ issue than one of revenue. Why do some people feel they need to control such minor aspects of another persons’ life?

    The other side of this is, of course, that somebody who could not afford to repair their bike certainly cannot afford a $500 fine. Is this discrimination against the poor?

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