Please PAY MORE ATTENTION to what is going on around you

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/07/21 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

This post is so non-technical and off any reasonable topic that only the fact I admit to a youthful indiscretion keeps it from serving no purpose whatsoever!

I am hardly a patron saint of the status quo, and I tend to go along with The Bard and claim the law is an ass....

And if the people who violated handicapped parking laws -- whether letter or intent -- were sentenced to hard time in a (to quote Office Space) federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison, then I wouldn't lose too much sleep. Thus I have very little sympathy for people who don't want to pay their tickets when they park there illegally.

But lacking gun, license to use said gun, or even the required mens rea to really do much beyond run over someone's foot with my scooter (something I couldn't really get away with since outrunning it is really trivial), there is not much I can do other than silently cheer on the fact that it costs more to take time off work and contest the ticket than it does to just pay the freaking thing.

Sorry, that's just how I feel.

The rest of the laws? Well that Shakespeare quote I mentioned earlier comes to mind, but beyond that I have little to add. So when I get mail via the Contact Link like I did yesterday:

While in AZ ran one of their new "yellow lights". They have set up a very quick...two secs! yellow and if you try to make it you end up with a red light infraction. I  pd my fine but was not aware that I had to attend "school". Now, 3 mos later (I'm home in WA) they threaten to take my license (WA) if I do not attend school in AZ! Can they take my WA license? Thanx. Please reply using  my Email.


well, for a moment we'll ignore that last request -- I'll get to that shortly.

Okay, it is a moving violation, and clearly there was an intent to run the yellow (which is also technically a violation, one that these new traffic lights try to combat, in this case effectively).

But in this case, to pay the fine you have to be informed if there are additional duties (like a class). But who is eager to look at the fine print when they just want to get the hell away?


Okay, I guess maybe I can be sympathetic.

It actually takes me way back....

It was just over two decades ago that I was arrested in the state of Missouri for driving a 1977 Dodge Diplomat over 100 miles per hour on the I-70 somewhere in the middle of the state. The officer only wrote the ticket for 80 miles per hour (mainly because he admitted he was amazed I got the car to go that fast!), but the law in MO at that time was such that I was still arrested, in a jurisdiction whose arrest bond one must pay to get out jail is equal to the amount of the fine that one will have to pay when one doesn't show up for the court appearance.

They would not accept my AAA card (which offers to pay such a bond for any non-DUI offense), but the AAA folks sent someone to pay the bond and I made it out. When I hurried to get the rest of the way out of the state, I did not go more than 25 miles per hour over the speed limit.

The offense eventually made it to my OH driver's license, but only after it was expired; it never made it my PA license (which is where I moved to), and I was never required to take any classes -- the town that did all this to me was a speed trap and a diner, the cop was local police, and they were just looking for the money.

But before I left I wanted to make sure that there were no other consequences related to me needing to fly back to appear or go to traffic school or whatever. They assured me there were none, and even showed me the place in my instructions to appear or forfeit the arrest bond money that they were indeed telling the truth.

The person who sent me that message obviously might have (and probably did) manage to not do any of that. Or maybe no real inquiry happened, though I have trouble seeing how that might work.

Now to say what I think about all this, I'll describe my thoughts on the issue about the request to send the reply to an email address.

If you read the text if About Contacting Me (the article that the Contact link goes to), it is quite clear that it falls under none of the categories I mentioned -- this is a question that has nothing to do with anything I cover and requested in a way that assumes that I am required to respond personally.

I suppose I could update the article.

Though since the update will primarily cover what I do with things so far off-topic that it never occurred to me that I'd need to bother (primarily ignore, though some of the dillies I might quite in future blogs), I doubt that the people doing it will feel well-served by the change....

My advice to the person who asked the question?

Pay more attention.

To the traffic laws, to the documents one signs when one pays the fine for violating them, to the text in a blog about what kinds of requests make sense.

And go to traffic school in Arizona. As life lessons go, this is a good one -- and believe it or not, it's coming cheap.

Disclaimer -- I never paid the money back to AAA to get my card back; my father did, as the card was the one I had as a minor child and had never used previously. He paid them back but I never asked for the card's return, since I know I wouldn't have given it back were I in his shoes (I had moved out almost a year prior). I technically never paid him back either, though I don't think he really asked, so it has probably been forgotten under some sort of clemency/pardon deal.


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John Cowan on 21 Jul 2008 8:04 AM:

If your father is still alive, get him to forgive the debt, or it'll be deducted from your share of his estate.  That happened to me.

Ron Parker on 21 Jul 2008 9:28 AM:

For what it's worth, the "Email" link at the top of this page seems to go directly to the form linked from your "About Contacting Me" article, so it seems possible that your interlocutor never saw that page.

Simon on 21 Jul 2008 5:16 PM:

I think you'll find that's Dickens, not Shakespeare...

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