People contact me with job opportunities because they’ve heard good things about me. That doesn’t mean I’m the greatest worker on Earth. In my field you get a job based on the most favorable impressions you make. People who like me recommend me to others. People who don’t like me recommend somebody else.
Now let’s get off my desk chair and into my car. On the highway the worst impression you make follows you around.
One NMA member’s license plate is on a police watch list. Years ago a known criminal had been in the car. It doesn’t matter that they never find him when they stop the car on a pretext. The list lives on.
A family in Massachusetts had police pounding on their door all the time. A criminal had given the family’s address as his own. It didn’t matter that he had never lived there. The computer said he might be found there. Police would not remove his “last known address.” The computer wanted an address and the wrong address was the only one they had.
And, of course, police have your official driving record. Think that lists all the times you carefully took turns at an intersection?
Police don’t know if you’re a good driver. All they hear is the worst about you or your car.
This is why it’s important not to get the first black mark on your record. That means more than paying a lawyer to beat the first speeding ticket. Don’t be suspected of a real crime. Don’t break a police officer’s sister’s heart. And so on.
If you’re marked they can make your life miserable. They can always confirm their suspicions or find an excuse because the law is designed to the average driver a criminal.
This is why I keep calling for transparency and honesty.
Transparency means opening up the records of all the inquiries police do. Is the officer violating your federal privacy rights? Is the officer enforcing the unwritten Driving While Black law? Is the officer checking a list of people who got on the wrong side of a friend in blue?
Honesty means making the law match reality, instead of the the current “kill them all and let God sort them out” policy towards traffic regulation.
When Montana’s speed limit was repealed in 1995 an editorial cartoon showed a pair of cops waiting by the side of the road. One said to the other, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” If you take away harassment from the list of things to do, patrolling roads gets a lot more boring.
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