Thingish Things

Candid Camera Country

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 10•11

The police state cometh.

New York City just announced its intention to install speed cameras on Gotham streets. The fixed cameras would record the speeds of vehicles throughout the city and mail the owners of offending vehicles a summons.

New York City has been issuing tickets to vehicles that pass through red lights since 1989 — The Soviets were among the first to do it incidentally — but speed cameras are a whole other animal.

If this gets approved by the New York State Legislature, you just know what is next — speed traps between highway toll plazas statewide, and, eventually, nationwide, save, perhaps, in the Granite State where natives still maintain a healthy disdain for government. (New Hampshire motorcyclists remain free to go helmet-less, as foolish as that may be, God bless ’em.)

I’m sure it’s occurred to just about everyone who drives that speed traps between fixed points would be simple to implement, especially since the advent of EZ Pass systems. If a vehicle passes toll plaza “A” at 8 A.M, for example, and the speed limit is 55 MPH, that vehicle should reach toll plaza “B”, 55 miles down the pike, no earlier than 9 A.M.

If it does, it’s the clink for sure.

One wonders how appealing such a lucrative government torture scheme could become to cash-strapped states. It would provide lots of revenue — at least initially — reduce the number of state troopers needed, and, in short order, subdue an entire population into driving like Miss Daisy.

But just because government has the technology to strictly enforce speed laws, should it?

If you ask me, highway speeding is part of the American spirit. Taking away that small thrill of risk and disobedience would be like breaking a wild Mustang (of the Equine kind.) Stripping away our freedom to gun it a little every now and then is tantamount to national castration.

New York City’s request for authorizing legislation from Albany is reportedly falling on deaf ears. But so did early requests for approval of red light camera legislation (I did press on it at the time for a state senator.) But eventually, as the relentless government hearings droned on, that request seemed less and less Big Brotherish and it was approved. And then expanded. And then expanded again. And then again.

We don’t have to watch out for speed traps yet, but beware the precursor arguments:

“Safety Zones” will:

Increase road safety:

Reduce traffic fatalities;

Lower gas consumption;

Reduce the number of troopers needed and save taxpayers money;

Reverse global warning, and

Cure constipation and insomnia if taken as properly directed.

We should have rioted over the the seat belt laws…

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  2. […] was bound to happen, and so it did. Red-light cameras, those disquieting eyes in the sky imported to New York City from the Soviet Union two decades ago, […]

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