Update: It is a couple months since I was ticketed for not wearing a seat belt while driving 10mph in Fort Worth. I complied with the ticket and indicated I wanted a jury trial to plead my case that I had not violated the spirit of the law. I have not heard back from Fort Worth. Case Closed. End of Update: On to Original Post....
Like I said in the previous blogging, I had myself a run-in with Fort Worth's version of the law today, soon after I was done hiking the Tandy Hills.
I got in my vehicle, started it up, turned on the A/C and started to drive. Big Ed put on his seatbelt. I was too sweaty to want to put on my seatbelt and did not see the need, til I reached Beach Street, since I was driving, slowly, on residential streets.
I drove til View Street hit Barron, took a right. Soon thereafter I saw flashing lights in my rear view mirror. What fresh hell is this, in this hell I'm living, I wondered.
The cop walked up. My window was already down, due to trying to cool off. "What's wrong, officer?" I asked.
"I need to see your license and insurance." I gave them to him.
"Why were you driving so slow?" the cop asked.
"We'd just finished hiking the Tandy Hills and were overheated, I wasn't thinking about driving too slow."
The cop then pointed to Big Ed and said, "He just put on his seatbelt when he saw the flashing lights, didn't he?"
I think this clucklehead cop was thinking he had himself a major bust.
"No," I said, "he put his on before I started moving. I said to him, why do you want that on, it's too hot?"
"I pulled you over because you were driving so slow I could see you weren't wearing your belt," the cop said.
I said, "I saw no need, since, like you said, I was driving slow, I was going to put it on when we got to Beach Street."
This seemed to be one of those cops, like that one who caused a scandal in Dallas, with a lack of an ability to correctly read a situation and make a good call. Instead this cop reinforced the dumb cop cliche, being yet one more example of why law enforcement is held, by so many, in such low esteem.
So, the cop disappeared to his Forth Worth Police Car. After 15 minutes he came back, had me sign something that said "CUSTOMER COPY" at the top. He said something about having 11 days to make an appearance. "That it was all detailed on the citation."
Okay, let's not even talk about the obvious, as in, I'm a grown up. If I choose not to put my seatbelt on when I'm all hot and sweaty and know that I'm going to be driving slow on some residential streets, that is my business, only my business and it certainly is not the business of the Fascists who run Fort Worth like a bunch of crazed Neo-Nazis, over-running bars, beating patrons, throwing innocent people face down on parking lots.
The citation tells me I can go to www.fortworthgov.org for more information about my ticket. So, I go there. There is no information about anyone's specific ticket. You can download a fine schedule, which was another bizarre thing. On that fine schedule there is no mention of what the fine is for driving slowly through a residential neighborhood, while sweating profusely without your seatbelt on.
Til today, I had not gotten a traffic ticket, of any sort, in years. Back in modern civilization, when I lived in Washington, a ticket clearly spelled out the fine, your options for paying the fine, or disputing the fine. This idiotic Customer Copy I got in this Third World type municipality has south of the border shakedown written all over it. You can barely read the print. It is small and faded. I'm sure a large number of people can not make sense of what they are expected to do.
Parts of America have really gone off the track. There are reasons we have a higher % of people behind bars than any other nation on earth, us, who are brainwashed to believe we live in the Land of the Free. If you lived in the Land of the Free you could not be stopped by the Gestapo because you were driving slowly through a residential neighborhood, sweating profusely, while not wearing your seatbelt.
Thomas Jefferson was right. For a Democracy to stay free you need a fresh revolution every 20 years or so. I feel like revolting.
I was able to decipher, among my options, that I can have my "case" heard in front of a jury. I believe that will be the option I take.
From what I've heard of other's experiences, the way this works in Fort Worth, is nothing you say to the judge will change anything. I don't even believe they are real judges in the way we think of them in the more advanced parts of the country. The idea that you have to go before a judge, because you didn't have your seatbelt on, explain the extenuating circumstances, with the judge under no obligation to take those into consideration, before imposing what amounts to being institutionalized theft.
I tell you, you people of Fort Worth, this is the corrupt system you get when only 6% of you turn out to vote for your city government. This town needs a revolution and a cleaning up of a very corrupt house.
As you can see, Fort Worth may try to stifle my right to choose to temporarily leave my seatbelt off, but there is not a thing they can do to stifle me from using my right to say whatever I want, to whoever I want, whenever I want. With all do respect to the Fort Worth Court and Police System. All do respect. Which is they are due none.