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Letter to the Editor 

No More Entrapment

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The yellow light is not long enough to stop safely, especially not in a big truck and with your front wheels not across the (sometimes unmarked) first line of the pedestrian walkway.

This constitutes a speed trap that blindsides the poor and the rich don't care. They can buy blockers or buy themselves off. The fine is more than half of an average worker's weekly pay. This unequal taxation in the name of enforcement rests on the legal fiction that you can be "responsible" for a situation over which you have no control.

There is no real trial, no appeal, no right to court appointed counsel, and alleged violators are met at the door to the courtroom taken into a little room and told they have no case.

Judges without discretion are turned into clerks.

Unjust laws and legal fictions hurt the innocent as well as the guilty. Unjust laws, especially in the name of safety, injure the law because people lose respect for the legal system in general.

If red light cameras are a good idea, put cameras everywhere and leave them on every minute to protect us from thieves and terrorists. As long as we're not doing anything wrong what do we care who's watching?

When I go into the restroom or go to bed with a woman I'm not doing anything wrong but I don't want to be watched. What quality of life does total surveillance save?

In 1775, a little known delegate to the second Virginia Convention put the question of quality of life this way, "Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" Whatever you think about the relevance of Patrick Henry to our time, he and the rest of the founding fathers had a natural sense of rhythm, you gotta give em that.

A police state is safe. Straight jackets and padded cells are safe. But all restraint must be balanced by fairness and demonstrable need.

A code inspector once told me, "For every rule in this book somebody died."

And I said, "If every time somebody died we made a new rule, life wouldn't be worth living."

I went into a cubicle in Building Inspections one morning and found this on the chalkboard: "Remember try to be as constipated as possible at all times."

Even if it was just a joke, don't tell me it doesn't frequently (and often) cross some uniformed drudge's petulant &/or sadistic little mind that you can get pleasure from GOTCHAS (i.e. keeping people from getting to where they need to go).

Go back to Mayor and Council, tell them: rewrite this legal excuse for revenue generation (for which your incompetence and corruption supplied the need). No more entrapment that makes driving more stressful and makes the poor less competent to contribute to society. Give us the dignity of an informed choice between a good law and a bad law, not a stupid law or nothing.

—Dennis Williams

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