In the Spirit of American Independence….

Let’s talk about Stalinist Russia. Er, I mean New York State. Now, there are God-fearing, honest, and decent people who live in the Empire State, yet apparently New York state troopers are not among them. Taking their cue from their governor, this police force has become the NKVD.

On July 5, driving to Auburn, New York, to visit family I was pulled over by one such Party henchman (actually, henchwoman) – not for speeding, not for texting, not for swerving, not for drinking, not for doing anything else you might imagine. Rather, I was pulled over for being in the left lane. Ok, if a law exists stipulating the left lane is for passing only and all drivers must otherwise be in the right lane, so be it (never mind the fact such a law is unenforceable and thus bad law and thus should be abrogated, but that’s another discussion); we are a nation of laws and they must be adhered to (unless you’re Barack Obama and DOMA). However, and I can’t stress this enough, if a state trooper is going to selectively enforce an unenforceable law then it would behoove her to conduct herself as a New York state trooper and not as Yezhov’s personal hand puppet. This is the United States last I checked.

Keeping in mind my fianceé was in the passenger seat:

1. The trooper came to the passenger window and asked for my license and registration.
2. While procuring the items in question I politely inquired why I was pulled over. Her response? “I’ll tell you after you give me your paperwork.” Um. Sure, lady…
3. Once she received said paperwork she immediately raised her voice and proceeded to shout, in my fianceé’s face, at me. “Why were you in the left lane?! People are passing you on the right!!” So, what you’re saying is you’re pulling me over for doing the speed limit in the left lane and allowing people to cruise by me exceeding the speed limit in the right lane?
4. She continued, “There are signs all over the highway saying the left lane is for passing only!!” Honestly, neither my fianceé nor I saw a single sign. Not one. In Connecticut the Merritt Parkway has such signs and are readily viewable. If such signs exist on whatever stretch of New York highway we were on, they are not easy to find.
5. The trooper made a point of indicating we would see signs as we continued the drive and to mind them next time. Well, under the circumstances we naturally kept our eyes peeled for them. Guess what? Not one was seen.
6. I think the trooper was able to discern I was perplexed by this whole left lane nonsense and proceeded with her inquisition: “Where are you going?! Where are you coming from?!” (Again, she’s shouting in my fiancé’s face the whole time.) I ask you: what business of hers is it where I’m going and where I’m coming from? Such matters pertain in no way to the incident at hand and are indicative of an officer of the law abusing her authority and, all kidding aside, operating in a fashion akin to an NKVD agent. These are the types of questions and policies one would find in the Soviet Union. Here in America, our independence allows me to cross state lines with impunity.

In sum, I encountered a belligerent trooper grossly exceeding her power and turning an otherwise routine (if nonsensical) circumstance into an especially hostile one. This is not about anger over a ticket. When individuals are in positions of responsibility, whether a parent, teacher, nurse, police officer, etc., there is a measure of accountability unique to them. Why? Because when these individuals misbehave the result is the Soviet Union, the antithesis of what should be commemorated on the weekend of the anniversary of American independence.

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