"It ain't no sin if you crack a few laws now and then, so long as you don't break any." -- Mae West.


Where's the radar?

I'll probably get a ticket the day these lines appear, but officers don't seem to be running much radar on the 65 mph and 70 mph superslabs that stitch Mississippi together.

I've traveled hours on Interstates and four-lane highways in Mississippi, covered hundreds of miles between times I saw anyone pulled over by police.

Frankly, I wonder how much radar officers run any more out on the highway, and why they don't seem to be running it as much as they once did.

Whatever the reason, it's not lack of prey. The state's highways are a target-rich environment for radar.

Take the National Geographic approach: Consider drivers as herd animals, cops as predators.

If you're much brighter than the inside of a pocket, you've already recognized the obvious. The herd moves somewhat above the speed limit, and precious few are dragged down by cops. Seeing the victims caught sure doesn't slow the rest of the pack.

Frankly, highway speed laws are as widely disobeyed by most people as laws against spitting on the sidewalk or riding ATVs on the street.

Perhaps police confine themselves to picking off those who are seriously over-limit: Zoomers doing high two figure speeds or occasionally, a hundred and plenty.

There are plenty of those types out there, too. I recall being passed by one guy who, if he was going any faster, would have gone back in time.

If everyone who exceeded the speed limit was ticketed, the state would have to throw barbed wire around Jackson to hold all the offenders, and the ticket book factories would be on a second shift. Court clerks across the state would be using forklifts to count fine money.

Speed laws most people ignore are worse than meaningless. They are dangerous on practical and philosophical levels.

Those who obey the law risk being victimized: Punished for doing what they're supposed to. A driver doing the speed limit on highways in the state is shouting at the devil - asking for trouble. Law-abiding drivers risk being hit from behind by another vehicle simply because most other motorists are traveling faster.

The mostly-ignored speed limits trigger a carry-over effect in many people by encouraging disrespect for other laws. The lack of enforcement encourages each of us to choose what laws we obey, and hence disobey laws we don't feel like following.

That line of thought, of course, is the road to anarchy.

Interstate and highway speed limits ought to be raised to reflect the speed people actually travel, or enforced equally at their current levels.

Laws which few obey, and fewer enforce, ought to be abolished.

Update: I got stopped for speeding the other day on I-55 on the way to Jackson. I was at least 15 mph over-limit, but got off with a brief request to “slow it down, buddy.”

The officer-driver contact lasted less than a minute. He was courteous, professional.

Thanks for the reminder, officer. I’m trying to do better. And have been recently.

I admit it: I tend to push the speed limit on the Interstates, and sometimes push it hard.

Still, it was the first time I’ve been stopped for speeding in at least 20 years.

Of course, the NRA, USMC, and Trooper’s Association decals on the back of the late model truck probably didn’t hurt, nor did the Vietnam veteran’s tag…

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