I was walking to work a few months ago, enjoying the crisp summer morning air, and I came to a stop light that instructed me to wait to cross. It being a one-way street, I looked left, saw no cars for a block and a half, and casually walked across the road, against the traffic light’s firm instruction. I continued walking for another third of a block, and then heard a siren blare behind me on the sidewalk.
Incredibly, I was getting pulled over (so to speak), by a motorcycle cop (now illegally riding on the sidewalk) for defying a traffic light while on foot. I was – and still am – in shock. I expressed my disbelief to the officer, “You’re kidding right?” He was not. “You have better things to do with your time, right?” He did not. He told me a woeful tale of how he has to call parents in the middle of the night to tell them that their child had been hit while crossing the road. I informed him that I was in fact a professional walker that literally walked halfway across the continent, and that I was pretty much OK crossing the street. He insisted he was doing me a favor, and teaching me a lesson.
For the 20 minutes that I stalled the guy, I did my best to make him realize that what he was doing was a waste of time, good faith and resources. I realized then and I realize now that this is the minority position when being ticketed by the cops, and I don’t think it helped me get out of the ticket. The whole time I was arguing with the guy though, I couldn’t help but think about all the waste that is caused by meaningless laws. Jay walking. Full-stops at stop signs. Waiting at red lights at 3AM. The list goes on.
All of these things waste time, and don’t have particularly good purposes. We live for only so long, and how much of our time is stuck waiting because of laws that take morality, judgment, and reason out of the picture? Clearly, there is room for improvement, but somehow cops feel comfortable (righteous?) about giving these kinds of tickets.
Ninety-three dollars later, and I’ve cleared my name of this heinous crime on humanity. Surely something is wrong though, when cops have nothing better to do than to give this kind of ticket. Can’t we find better ways to use our resources?
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