Thursday, June 14, 2007

A blind eye?

In yesterday's Couple of Things I linked to Adrian's take on bus drivers being 'harassed by UGA police. I saw his point, but offered a different view ...

Adrian's got something on bus drivers getting 'harassed' by UGA police. I don't think they're being harassed at all. While it's arguably an inconvenience, if the driver is doing something which does indeed violate the law, then the officer is well within his or her jurisdiction to cite them for that. Throwing out the phrase 'proverbial bad apples' is too loaded for me since, again, we're talking about an actual violation which has an inconvenient result.

Adrian responded with the following comment ...

JMac, the false citation in 2004 for failure to yield was sheer harassment. Blocking traffic and interrupting an entire bus route to write a warning for high beams in the broad daylight is entirely unnecessary. With your kind of callous disregard for the practicalities and blind worship of rules for rules' sake, I hope that you get stopped for having a tag light out, for violating stop line markings, and for going 60 in a 55 because, buddy, we all make technical violations, and most police officers exercise the sound judgment to focus on dangerous violations.

Kudos hoss for acting like a child here. I offer a contrasting viewpoint on the subject, and you respond with the uber-mature 'Oh yeah!? Well I wish every known minor traffic technicality on you here.'

I'm surprised you didn't curse the land I live on.

Seriously buddy, this gets you worked up? With all of the passion you put behind this, I can only assume you were somehow directly affected by this inconvenience, thus making you late to a law school class.

If you notice, I disagreed with you over whether or not this was harassment, primarily because that's a bold claim and would mean that either one or more UGA police officers were deliberately making life difficult for the UGA bus drivers. I have to concede that could very well be going on, but I think it's incredibly unlikely.

I also disagreed with you calling the cops who did pull over the buses 'bad apples.' Why? Because they were acting well within their jurisdiction to do so. Now, whether or not this is practical is a whole other matter, one which I avoided discussing.

Of course it's not 'practical' to pull over every bus - or vehicle for that matter - for the most mundane of traffic violations. It's not an efficient use of resources and, as you noted, it does slow down transportation avenues and bus routes. However, it's the individual officer's decision to do so, and as long as they are acting within the parameters of the law, they possess the right to act accordingly.

Furthermore, consider what you're advocating here. You, as an individual studying law, are ultimately arguing for officers, at times, to ignore the law.

7 Comments:

Blogger hillary said...

I don't think lawyers study law in order to enforce it....

9:55 AM  
Blogger Xon said...

Right to what Hillary said. And also, your quip could be rearranged and it would make more sense I think. Adrian is a person who is studying law, which means he of all people should have an understanding of how silly and arbitrary the law often is. He advocates not enforcing the law sometimes because he knows firsthand how unenforcable it really is.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Nicki said...

Eh, Adrian was a bus driver, hence the umbrage. But it's always logical to argue that whatever you got busted for is a waste of police time and whatever other inconvenience occurred instead of or in addition to just sucking it up and admitting you drew the short straw. I've argued it with regard to two separate infractions, and pretty much everyone else has as well.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

Wow, Xon, we agree on something. Thanks.

Well, at the risk of not letting JMac have the last word... JMac, your response just reemphasizes the wisdom about being careful with sarcasm on the Internet because it is often LOST. Instead, you take it to say that I'm acting like a "child," and after your "puppy dog" comment earlier I am now offended.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Polusplagchnos said...

Johnathan, on the side, do you think cops should never issue warnings in lieu of citations?

10:42 PM  
Blogger Jmac said...

Not at all. In fact, someone with campus parking was kind enough to offer me a warning when I had parked in the wrong lot recently.

Again, that's up to the officer and his/her assessment of the situation. My central disagreement with Adrian's claim was that the officer was acting within his appropriate jurisdiction when he pulled over the bus.

And, to be clear again, I'm not suggesting officers pull over everyone for the most mundane of traffic offenses. I was just saying that they possess the right do so.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Xon said...

Okay, but then Adrian's complaint is simply that, while they had the "legal" right to do this, it was simply not the appropriate/right/decent thing to do.

The kid at the movie theatre has the "right" to keep the rope up a few minutes longer, but if he gets on a "power trip" and makes everyone stand around waiting just b/c he can, then that is inappropriate/wrong/undecent/annoying. And saying "Yes, but he has the discretionary authority to do that if he wants" doesn't really answer the point of the comnplaint.

Look, it's like when Adams fired Dooley. I still remember one of the ATL sports talk guys RESPONDING to complaints that Adams should be removed by saying "He's the president, he can do this if he wants." Um, yes, and then people who think he is an authoritarian jackass can push for his removal if they want.

Police officers are not dictators with no public accountabilitly (as we all agree). So when the public complains about the way they choose to do their job, it is not an on-target response (imho) to simply point out that they are allowed some choices in how they do their job. Yes, but we're complaining about the particular choices they made.

That said, I do understand your point that this is kind of an odd thing to get THAT up in arms about...

11:09 AM  

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