Friday, March 17, 2006

Ruston Police Once Again Demonstrate Their Investigative Prowess

Do you know a Steve Weenig?

"So, Steve, did you run out of gas?" Such were the words of the incredibly observant Police officer earlier today. I guess I should introduce the story a little better than that. 
With Christy now working in Shreveport, she drives the wonderfully gas-efficient Kia, the car that had been my constant companion during the long commute from Ruston to Monroe at least four times a week to work. So, I was left with my trusty Ford Ranger. Well, the Ranger is now 12 years old and it's showing. It's on its third transmission, which has already passed its peak and is on it's way down the opposite slope. Arrangements had to be made if I planned on taking it above its current maximum speed of 45 mph. 
My dad offered to loan me his pickup truck for the next few months until we move to Austin. I took him up on the deal in January. I quickly found out that this pickup was not like most other cars. Rather, I discovered that this truck can run on gasoline or on ethanol (a nifty discovery seeing how Chevy has just announced that it's the only car maker to have such a model; dad's truck is a '99 Ford Ranger). Anyway, either because of its dual fuel capacity or because some oversight by a Ford engineer, this truck has no reserve fuel capacity. By that I mean that where normal cars can run for several miles (sometimes up to 50 or 60) after the fuel gauge reads Empty, this truck is completely out of gas as soon as the needle is exactly lined up with the E. This was an unfortunate discovery on my way home from work one night at 9:30 PM. Luckily, I was only about 1/4 mile away from the nearest gas station where I purchased a gas can and some gasoline. Since then, the gas can has been a permanent fixture in the back of the truck, carrying 2 gallons of extra gasoline just in case of emergency, or running out of gas on Sunday. 
Where was I? Oh yeah, the Ruston police. Well, last night I was headed to work when I noticed that I was low on gas. I filed the information away and decided that I would fill up either on the way home from work or the next morning before leaving for Monroe. Well, I filed it in one of those government folders that never turns up again. I didn't think about it again until I was late going to class and knew I had no time to fill up. I coasted into the Tech parking lot on fumes. After class, I actually made it half way home before the engine started to choke. It died on me just as I had pulled into the middle lane to turn onto my street. I proceeded to empty the spare gasoline into the tank. As I was filling the tank, gas can in my hand, gasoline fluid moving from the spare can to the tank, one of Ruston's finest pulled up behind the truck and proceeded to inspect the situation. He strolled up to me and asked, "Did you run out of gas?" I was sorely tempted, in the most excruciating way, to respond that I had just discovered too much gasoline in my tank and was siphoning some into the spare can to keep the truck from getting indigestion. 

Speeding is Dangerous

Argueably, the most broken law today is the speed limit. Others could contend that it's copyright infringement, especially if they've seen my music and DivX movie collection. But that's another topic for another day. 
With speeding so rampant nowadays, the injustice of actually getting punished for such a crime can be very frustrating. Therefore, the quesiton must be posed: why do we have a speed limit? I know, it's a stupid question because the answer is so obvious. Well, these comments are directed at Ruston's finest, who, as established above, aren't exactly running on Pentium processors. The answer is blatantly that certain speeds are dangerous to the person speeding and the other drivers on the road with the offender. 
Now, obviously, there must be exceptions to the speed limit. One (if not the only) current exception is that police officers often have the need to exceed the maximum allowable speed in order to carry out some sort of action that is in the public's best interest and safety. This is a perfectly acceptable exception and should be allowed. With one restriction. 
Since exceeding the maximum speed limit is dangerous to the public, police officers at least turn on their lights in order to alert other drivers on the road to the heightened level of danger. This measure counter acts, in the best way possible, the negative effects of the officer's need to travel at a dangerous speed. All of this makes perfect sense. This however, is not reality. That would have been nice wouldn't it?
Now is the point where you either stop reading this or wonder to yourself where I've said something that is not a part of our reality. When was the last time a police officer passed you on the interstate? Or was going the same elevated speed as everyone else through a school zone? This would fall under that exception that allows police officers to exceed the maximum allowable speed. The logical succession would follow that that police officer has his lights and maybe even his siren on. When was the last time you saw a cop do that? 
The point is that police officers often abuse their exception, but fail to turn on their lights. This fact can only lead to one of two conclusions: (1) either his lights are not on because the level of danger is not elevated by his speeding or (2) the officer is choosing not to turn on his lights even though his actions are making the roads more dangerous. 
Conclusion 1 leads into an argument that since it is not dangerous to drive at elevated speeds, the speed limit has been imposed unnecessarily and should be increased until the danger is truly increased. Wouldn't that be nice!
The second conclusion can only mean that the police officer is willfully disobeying his oath to serve and protect the public. In this case, the obvious recourse is that the officer is not fit for his public duty and cannot be trusted with the safety of the public.
The strange thing is, neither of these actions is taking place. (I love logic.) This means that, logically, those responsible for either raising the speed limits on our streets are not fullfilling their duties and should be removed from office, or that those responsible for reprimanding and maintaining the quality of our finest are not doing their job and should also be removed from office. 
And now, for my conclusion: our voters are apathetic and those in office know it. This is why they abuse the privileges we've given them: because they fear no reprimand. If you've followed the logic, I only want to make one other point: 1 + 1 = um... well, you figure it out.

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