Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Not A Good Plan

     "A cat can look at a King," the aphorism has it.  True enough -- but he can't pull the King over, nor the King's men, either (NSFW, language):

     He also can't make a citizen's arrest for breaking the traffic laws.
     Story here.  Video with LEO comments here.

     Once upon a time, this would either get you yelled right back at (in those happy, halcyon Andy Griffith days that generally never were) or a hickory shampoo.  Here's what it might get you today:
   The suspect looks and sounds like a mentally ill person. i would do what he said and pull over. I would make contact with the suspect and place him on a 72 hour observation for his mental illness and if the doctor report shows that the suspect is not mentally ill I would cite him for interferring with the duties of a police officer. 
     Ow. Okay, it's unwise.  Is seat-belt specialness right?  Prolly not, at least in normal situations.  Conversely, police are explaining they are (in some circumstances; state and local laws may vary) exempt from seat-belt laws, as they may have to exit the vehicle rapidly in pursuit of a malefactor.  Me, I figure the habitual non-wearing of seat belts is its own reward.

     (Whole other issue, Should It Be The Law?   No; hell no.  And who remembers that air bags were supposed to free us from having to strap in?  Nowadays, the seat belt helps you meet the airbag square-on -- and it's still not so safe for the small and brittle-boned.  Safer than hitting the dashboard/steering wheel with your own personal self?  Judging from the toothmarks I left in the wheel of a 1970s Plymouth Fury and the scar through my lower lip, yes; YMMV.)

     Oh, The Moral Of The Story?  Ain't one -- but Mr. Concerned Citizen is havin' his day in court and may be fined or spend some time in the hoosegow.  In Detroit.


RobC said...

I think he is a misguided zealot.

Roberta X said...

Yep. Which, quite often, equals "arrested."

Zeal is good. Misapplied zeal is dangerous -- often to oneself.

Tam said...

From where I sit? The dude has issues.

Were I unfortunate enough to be his next door neighbor, I would avoid him like the plague, and consider moving. Anybody with impulse control problems this bad coupled with an easily-provoked sense of righteous indignation is a disaster looking for a place to happen.

Old NFO said...

Yep, a 'few' dozen issues...

JohninMd.(help!) said...

Yeah, the grandiose rightousness of some folks is scary. Like our President, for instance....or Congress, State Legislatures, County Councils, Bloomberg, etc.....yeech.

Anonymous said...

As a former LEO, I might point out that there are no particular powers ascribed to police officers in the constitution and that anyone has the same powers of arrest and apprehension as any police officer. That said, it is ill advised to go about arresting police officers in anything but extreme situation; i.e. someone is dead or seriously injured. The police do not, as a rule, arrest anyone for failing to wear a seat belt. Therefore it is pretty damned stupid for an ordinary citizen to attempt to do so.

Seat belt laws in the U.S. seem to be more designed to generate income rather than persuade people to use the safety equipment in their vehicle. Australia got virtually everyone into seat belts merely by declaring that if you were not wearing a seat belt in an accident, any insurance payments & lawsuit awards are reduced due to contributory negligence. People got religion virtually overnight.

From an engineering perspective, I received my training in seat belt use at a brake manufacturer in the 70s. There was a particularly punishing test we ran for Ford periodically. The driver accelerated to a thundering 5 to 7 mph then planted the brake pedal with both feet. This was repeated amultiple times. It was considered great fun to recruit a new hire as passenger. I discovered afterwards they used to place bets on how many nose prints the unsuspecting passenger would leave on the windshield before he put his seat belt on. In my case, it was 1 and I’ve always worn my seat belt since.

Yes, air bags were supposed to free us from the tyranny of seat belts but NHTSA testing soon found this didn’t work as planned. By the way, you do know that “air bags” do not fill with air? They’re actually inflated using a cousin of firearm priming compounds, sodium azide.


Ambulance Driver said...

Dude has some serious issues, but detaining him on a mental health hold as the LEO you quoted is, in my view, excessive and an abuse of authority.

The guy would have gotten a lot further by simply filming, and then sending a copy to the local crusading reporter and a nice note to the police chief to watch the Six O'Clock News.

Public embarrassment can work wonders.

Tam said...


" By the way, you do know that “air bags” do not fill with air? They’re actually inflated using a cousin of firearm priming compounds, sodium azide."

Further trivia: Some time back, one of the German manufacturers (BMW, maybe?) was inflating their airbags with a mechanism that included surplus 4.6mm caseless cartridges from the discontinued HK G11 program.

Tam said...


"Dude has some serious issues, but detaining him on a mental health hold as the LEO you quoted is, in my view, excessive and an abuse of authority."

Yeah, that comment had me braiding little bows into the pelt of my wookie suit, too.

JohninMd.(help?) said...

Caseless G-11 cartridges? Would that make 'em select-fire airbags? No projectile, I suppose...

JohninMd.(help!) said...

Read G.Gordon Liddy's autobiography a while back, about all the fun (?) he had in prison, messin' with the Warden's admin. in some of the 9 different pens he was in. It seems the one thing that effed up teh Man best, was a memo. they could ignore protests, squash complaints, step around legal counsel. But the one thing they couldn't get around was a memo going upstream inside the Bureau of Prisons. Much fun and hilarity ensued. (prolly WHY he was in 9 joints!)

rickn8or said...

Jerry, for me the convincer about seat belts came during my Navy days, when during what we called a "Safety Stand-around", a CHP officer commented that in 20+ years on the job he'd "never unbuckled a dead man."

And confession time here. When you saw the video, how many of you thought of the phrase "Citizens A-RAY-est! Citizen's A-RAY-est!"? Furthermore, how many are old enough to have witnessed its' first nationwide public utterance?

GuardDuck said...

In Oregon he could have initiated a violation proceeding by private citizen.


Granted, he can't 'pull' the guy over - but sending officer hypocrite a summons would have accomplished everything without risk of arrest or getting shot.