Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Brief Traffic Ticket Story

Tomorrow is Halloween, so naturally I thought I'd tell this story about something that happened to me on Memorial Day.

I was driving down Office Park Road in West Des Moines on the Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend when I looked up and saw cop car lights in my rearview. Now, Office Park Road isn't a main artery by any means--it's a length of street maybe 8-10 blocks long, with houses and apartment complexes along the west half and business parks and a hotel along the east half, which is where I was driving on my way to 8th Street, which is a main artery.

More or less. It's hard to tell what's a main artery in West Des Moines, because so many streets that start out looking like main arteries end in a T. But I digress.

The officer who pulled me over said I was doing 35 in a 25 mph zone, which sounded pretty believable so I didn't argue. But as he was handing me my ticket, he said that Gov. Vilsack had released special funds to law enforcement, specifically to deal with speeding on the holiday weekend.

As I was driving slowly away, I thought something seemed kind of odd about that statement. And then it hit me. When they talk about people speeding on a holiday weekend, they're talking about people on the interstate who are actually traveling to a different place, people who are either hurrying to get out of Iowa or hurrying to get into it. So logically, that additional money would be put to best use by funding additional troopers on the interstate, not in the city limits. When they talk about people speeding on a holiday weekend, they're not talking about people who are just bopping down to the convenience store for a newspaper.

Honestly. Did they really think there was going to be a crime wave of people tearing down residential streets because it was Memorial Day? "Ha ha! I'm going 38 in a 25 in honor of my departed loved ones, copper!"

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