27) Obedience as a radical act

Gotta love Butler Shaffer!

by Butler Shaffer

"A recent news story told of cities that are removing their cameras
that photograph cars running red lights at certain intersections. The
reason? Drivers are aware of such devices and, rather than run the
risk of getting a ticket in the mail, they stop in time. One would
think making intersections safer might be a cause for self-
congratulatory celebration at city hall. Not so. By reducing red-light
violations, cities have also reduced the revenues coming from the
traffic tickets. This report reminded me of another phenomenon of
local policing: the use of parking meters. On first impression, one
might conclude that city governments would want car owners to keep
meters filled with the necessary coinage for the duration of their
stay. Quite the contrary. City officials count upon time expirations
on meters so that motorists can be given tickets by the battalions of
meter-maids who prowl the streets in search of prey. An additional
dime or quarter in a meter pales in monetary significance to a $25
parking violation. This is why most cities have made it a misdemeanor
for a person to put coins in a meter for cars other than their
own." (04/16/08)