A Fine Proposal, Part 2

Last time, I talked about how we should abolish all citations and fines for moving/traffic violations. Even if you agree with me, you may be wondering, “Yeah, but how are we supposed to accomplish that?” It does often seem like we all must helplessly accept whatever the civil government decides to shove down our throats. (How about another steaming helping of ObamaCare? Anyone? Bueller?) But in this case, I think there is a very slim possibility we can effectively end fines for traffic violations. If we wanted to.

If you get a citation, go to your court date. Ask for a jury trial. Convince the jury that fines are illogical, ineffective, and immoral. Convince them that you are a generally law-abiding citizen. Appeal to the fact that every person on that jury would rather not pay fines, and if everyone refused to uphold them, the civil government would have no choice but to stop giving out tickets. Ask them to return a verdict of “not guilty.” They may say, “But you are guilty of breaking the law.” If the law is unjust, what does that matter? Couldn’t the jury say quite honestly: “We find the defendant not guilty of any crime.” Because, in the case of most citations, no crime has been committed. If we could convince enough people to do this, which would be very difficult, we might actually be able to effectively limit at least one area of tyranny we all have to suffer under.

Many people think we would not be safer if traffic citations were abolished. I’ll tell you this, the police would have to find something else to do besides pulling innocent, harmless people over. And if they couldn’t find enough to do and couldn’t justify the huge size of their police force, they would have to cut back. But if you stopped harassing generally harmless people, you wouldn’t need a huge police force anyway. Deal with real crimes. Stop fining and imprisoning easy compliant citizens for non-violent infractions and other arbitrary “sins” against Big Brother.

And if you are a police officer, you can choose to stop giving citations for these things. Give warnings. Help people home. Protect. Serve. Refuse to be a hired hand of the Mafia and expose your precinct if it tries to enforce ticket quotas. Because we don’t exist for your support. You exist for ours. We don’t work for you. You work for us. And yes, we know it’s more dangerous to pursue violent criminals and real threats to public safety than it is to lie in wait for lead-footed suburbanites. But that’s your job. And we, the decent law-abiding citizens of this country, will honor you for your true service and support you fully in it.