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Education Matters: A vulgar display of power

September 16, 2010|By Dan Kimber

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber’s “Education Matters” column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

I wrote a few months back about the epidemic of bad driving in our area and discovered that people aren't just annoyed with the problem, they're outraged. I think there has been enough printed in this newspaper that has conveyed that general mood, and I think also that the local police have responded with greater efforts to control it.

One sentence in the piece that got a good deal of response had to do with policemen who engender, especially among teen drivers, a certain contempt for the law for routinely violating what they're asking the rest of us to obey. Rolling through stop signs, exceeding speed limits, failing to signal, etc. — violations that have motorists paying hundreds of dollars in fines.


The impression sometimes given is that they (a small minority, I'm sure) are above the very law they are charged with enforcing. That invites contempt for the law.

So let me tell you about a ticket I got a month ago. Normally I wouldn't bore you with the travails of my personal life, but this little story comes with a lesson. I'll leave it to the reader to decide whether I or the cop is in need of correction.

I received a ticket exactly two blocks from my home in Montrose.

I was proceeding north on Waltonia Avenue when I came up behind a sheriff's vehicle going about 7 mph to 10 mph. I had just been called home because of a medical problem with my grandson (not an emergency, just a high temperature and a nervous grandmother). After following behind the officer at this speed for a hundred yards or so, I tapped lightly on my horn, an entirely reasonable thing to do under the circumstances.

The officer proceeded at the same speed for another 50 yards, and so after waiting for a broken yellow line and a stretch of road where the freeway overpasses — thus no houses on either side of the street — I passed him. I was immediately pulled over. I explained to the officer my family situation and he went back to his car and spent 15 minutes writing me a ticket for a) unnecessary use of horn and b) unsafe passing.

When he returned to my car with my ticket, my temper got the better of me.

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