Sun 24 Jul 2022 03:25:13 AM UTC : 1658633113

Cigars and Seatbelts
"The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws." - Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

The state, whether the federal government or the state government where I live, is by this measure the most corrupt that has ever existed.

The reason is of course, at least in the present time, money. To be sure, power and control are important, but those are the prevailing motives only as the state progresses to a more authoritarian posture. While the society is nominally free, that is with the basic rights as yet only slightly infringed (prohibition of certain weapons, drugs, etc) the state is already bankrupt and sustained only by constantly increasing revenue, since maintaining power requires ever-increasing amounts of money.

Now I have for most of my life had the habit of enjoying an occasional cigar. I once smoked cigarettes occasionally, but never had a habit for any length of time. But to this day I have a cigar once or twice on most days. Of course they cost a lot more. Not a problem for me, money-wise, but it is rather annoying to be putting more money in the hands of the evil bureaucrats.

There was a time, fifty years ago, cigarettes were fifty cents a pack. The "little cigars", also in packs of twenty, were half that. Cigarettes went up over time, due to cost of manufacture but mostly due to taxes. And in 2009 the federal government increased the tax by nearly 300%, ostensibly to fund insurance for children but also to inflict financial incentive not to use tobacco. The states of course lost tax revenue due to the decrease in tobacco use, and many increased state tax rates, leading to further reduction in consumption. Well, obviously politicians aren't intelligent, only greedy and corrupt.

So now cigars (all tobacco taxes were increased) cost a lot more. And the additional revenue is quickly consumed by the insatiable maw of the government. Eventually any source of tax revenue, whether alcohol or tobacco, or beverages containing sugar, will be exploited by governments, down to the municipal level, and the futility of continuing the practice has no effect on political animals who live only for the present.

So whenever I indulge in a small Swisher Sweet that costs twice as much as it should I take a moment of silence to revile the utterly despicable, unspeakably execrable (here are few synonyms which seem appropriate as well: disgusting, deplorable, disgraceful, reprehensible, shameful, abominable, abhorrent, loathsome, odious, heinous, hateful, detestable, despicable, foul, vile, scandalous, contemptible, repugnant, repellent, revolting, unspeakable, wretched) political creatures responsible for this and so many worse ills.

And the quest for new sources of revenue never ceases. And as taxation makes lawbreakers of otherwise decent people, so the incessant pursuit of funds to fuel the administrative state, it similarly makes people who otherwise behave decently towards their fellow humans commit rather despicable acts in the service of their masters.

Some years back, around 1991 (that being either the year in which the law was enacted, or the year in which it became a primary enforcement (meaning that a motorist may be cited for that offense alone, rather than another offense being required beforehand) or if that was done afterwards. In any case the sole motivation was money. The law was enacted to satisfy the federal government, which withheld funds for highway maintenance from states which did not do so. Of course the state bureaucrats certainly did not mind the opportunity for more income.

I am reminded, as a demonstration of the pure evil (no matter how banal) of the practice of using traffic laws to connect money. A small town, Cherry Valley, not far from where I live, after many years of not having a police department decided to have one. The population of Cherry Valley was at the time only about three hundred, and is now only about twice that.

Probably one of the 100,000 police officers allegedly hired in the Slick Willie "administration". Any little wide spot in the road could apply for money to hire one or more police officers. Of course it was only temporary, and the government (i.e. the taxpayers) paid for one year and part of another one or two, so after that they were on their own. And they had to buy equipment. So Cherry Valley got itself a police department.

A lot of small towns exploited the situation and did well. They set up speed traps (or more often just fabricated offenses) to stop passing motorists and see if they had any substantial amounts of money. If so the money would be seized as likely to be the fruits of unlawful activity (usually drug trafficking), and if the rightful ever got it back it would be at considerable expense. Perhaps Cherry Valley didn't figure they had enough money passing through, or just didn't have the balls to try it (more likely) so they stuck with a speed trap. Still doing it, all these years later, although as a frequent passer-through of the place I don't seem to see them catching as many. People catch on. Still always have a good-looking police vehicle though.

In any case, a few years back at a city council meeting the mayor made the comment that he would want to "have to go back to speeding tickets to balance the budget". Nice folks.

My late friend Frank in a gloomy moment (he had a few) told me "People are no damn good. Never trust them, not for a minute. Don't waste one dollar, one minute of your time. The best thing you can do, get as much as money as you can, any way you can without endangering your life or liberty. That may not buy happiness but you can suffer in comfort." He had his dark moods, but he was about as charitable as any human being I ever knew. Had a thing about dishonesty though. As far as he was concerned, if you'd lie there was nothing else you wouldn't do. He was probably right. But as it is said, the love of money is the root of all evil.

So this Arkansas state trooper, worked in the Paragould area a few years ago. I lived there then. Saw him all the time I did. All around town. Not sure why I'd see him in town any hour of the day, usually doing a stop. Blue lights on, standing by the victim's car doing whatever, or walking to or from the car, the usual. Sometimes I'd see him just as he had just finished up and was sitting in his car as the revenue contributor was driving away. Sure made a lot of stops in town, for a state trooper.

Now this here seat belt thing. I always had mine on, didn't want to get a ticket. But nothing is a hundred percent. Once in a while you forget. I occasionally do. Only now I do it deliberately, and carefully.

You see, this clown that apparently thought the city police weren't doing enough traffic enforcement, one day I got to have an interaction of the type he seemed so fond of.

You see, Paragould is mostly (less so now but once more) business-wise a really long piece of Arkansas Highway 412. It's grown a lot to the south these days, but most of my business on any given day was along that highway. I lived near the far end on the east, almost to the city limits. The Wal-Mart store was on the other end of town, near it anyway. I went there regularly. When you live in Arkansas that's what you do.

Early one morning, must have been before 0800, traffic pretty light. Going to Wal-Mart. Got out on 412, realized I didn't have my seat belt in place. Happens, literally maybe once in a hundred times. Probably less. Normally I don't try to fix it while driving, not safe, especially in any kind of traffic. Short distance to Wal-Mart.

Not short enough. On the way 412 intersects 49. Two four-lanes, downhill in three directions from the light. I go through the intersection, there he is. He got lucky that day, he did. Got started on that quota early.

He's coming from the other direction, and knowing who it was I figured that son-of-a-bitch is looking to see if I got my seatbelt on. He was. I'd just come through the light, he's going towards it. Uphill. In the middle of the intersection (I see in the mirror) he makes a big fast turn and comes after me. In the middle of the intersection of two busy four-lane highways. Wanted me bad, he did.

Hope some day that son-of-a-bitch knows I'm calling him one. I stop, get the ticket. I pay the $25. This was somewhere around 2018-2021, I believe. He knows who he is.

I don't forget, much less forgive. The state of Arkansas has lost a lot more than $25 since them, safely and legally of course. You don't have to break the law (or endanger you liberty or risk your life) to get even. Of course he don't know. Or care. He a low-life scum-suckin' son-of-a-bitch. He's a mildly unpleasant ten minutes of my past, no more.

Well, I do remember him once in a while. Sometime after that I drove near thirty miles with no seatbelt. Up 163 along Crowleys Ridge. Had a friend out front to alert me if we were meeting a police car of any kind, kept track of who was behind me.

Since then we've done it a few times. Made a map of our route. Date, time, mileage. Once in a while I send a copy to the ASP. Dunno what happens to it. Use a Swiss email server can't be traced. Just havin' fun really. Just about quit doin' it by now.

Don't have as much time to worry about evil people. Well, workin' on one of two that actually need workin' on, to protect the innocents they prey on. But that's another story.

Just one more thing, for the guy who spent his days keeping Paragould safe from people not wearing seatbelts. You're the type, who will do what he is told, no matter what. Except for excursions outside assigned duties (and the law if necessary) for personal gratification or enrichment, you will always follow orders. When told to arrest people for speaking against the regime you serve (and make no mistake, even at the state or local level, 'law enforcement' personnel are the minions of the regime. Whether the federal government or states or even municipalities or counties, those who blindly follow orders are no better than the German, Russian, or Chinese tools of oppression. And I probably don't need to tell you that you will arrest people and guard them as they are taken to detention camps for eventual disposal. We are very close, and at the federal level already there. Arkansas may be one of the last to fall, or perhaps if we are fortunate enough for the country to be split, it will be part of the free state. Of course, in that scenario there is no place for the likes of you. Unless you are true to your weasel nature, and go along with whatever party is in power. And you most likely will, but how you live with yourself I don't want to know. As my grandmother used to say "If I were like that I'd need two beds, because I couldn't sleep with myself." Have a nice life.


Paragould Arkansas at Wickedpedia
Paragould Arkansas Chamber of Commerce