Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One less radar trailer

Last week, along a stretch of the several-mile-long road to nowhere that leads to my house, the sheriff's department parked a mobile radar speed sign. It's mounted on a trailer, towed to a location and left in place by a sheriff's deputy. It features a digital readout that nags you about exceeding the speed limit, sort of like a scold wagging its finger at you from the side of the road. Worse, the county mounties parked the trailer in an area where the limit transitions from 35 to 45. As you came around a curve accelerating for the 45 limit posted about 150 feet behind the radar speed sign, the damned thing flashed red, warning that you were doing 37, no 39, no 42 -- you scofflaw, you.

I joked to my wife that she shouldn't ask any questions if I left the house in the evening with my shotgun under my arm.

Well, one of my neighbors beat me to it. This morning, the electronic scold was flipped on its side, its LED readout cracked. It didn't look so good.

I'd have taken a picture this morning while taking my son to day care, but my phone has no camera feature. By the time I returned, two sheriff's department SUVs were parked with their lights flashing. Deputies strolled around the toppled device, clearly trying to figure out just how to recover the damned thing. I slowed to give the deputies a grin and got a glare for my trouble.

I've written before that the piece of Arizona in which I live has more than its fair share of live-and-let-live types who tend to do as they please and generally accord their neighbors the same respect -- no matter what the law has to say on the matter. That's starting to change as we get an influx of people who really wanted to live in Sedona, but had to settle for Cornville. But last night's events suggest that the culture hasn't changed too much -- yet.

I'm not going to pretend that tipping over a radar trailer is a great blow against Leviathan. It's small potatoes, probably done by fed-up neighbors with a case of beer next to them on the seat of a truck. That's OK. It lets the folks at the sheriff's department know that their nagging isn't all that welcome down our road, and that they're invited to leave their radar trailers elsewhere where people don't mind being nannied. That is, if they have any to spare now that this one is out of action.

Of course, these trailers aren't free, and some critics are bound to object that last night's saboteur cost "us" money, since that trailer is some sort of common resource.

You know, I don't have a lot of say over the regular muggings to which I'm subjected to fund the government, and I have even less say over how that money is spent once it's extracted from my bank account. While I'd rather keep the cash, I'd sooner burn it -- or see it tipped into a ditch -- than suffer many of the uses to which it's put. If that means some expensive equipment gets trashed, so be it. Maybe the government will be less eager to use its stolen funds for intrusive purposes if its toys get broken from time to time.

Speaking of which, if my mystery neighbors are reading this, I have a whole list of targets more annoying than radar trailers to which they can turn their attention. Red-light cameras, anyone? How about the county assessor's computers?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen many grants on these radar speed signs but two in particular on and seem they could help purchase these signs near schools and in neighborhoods.

January 19, 2009 11:51 AM  

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