Sykesville fable

Our view: Residents hate drivers who exceed the limit, yet they reject the most sensible solution

May 07, 2010

There once was a village vexed by the pillage of motorists who sped through its streets.

"Do something inventive, cunning and preventive to rid us of this terrible plague!

Anything will do, maybe a gizmo two, so long as no new taxes are raised!"

With no chance of more spending to keep people from upending the limits on motorists' speed,

The police chief devised what the mayor soon prized as a quite good solution indeed.

Instead of cops on the beat, speed cameras would watch the street, and keep drivers who passed under scrutiny,

The better to catch on that straight little patch those who flouted the law with impunity.

"Hold on, dadgummit!" cried the townspeople from the summit of their righteous indignation and ire.

"We can't abide that camera's collusion with government intrusion that threatens our liberties and lives."

The police chief was stumped when the conversation jumped from the subject of speeding to rights.

"Can it be," he demanded, "that you want speeders branded, but won't let us use cameras to fight?"

"We're afraid that Big Brother, and his sister and mother, will be watching us all of the time.

How can we be free if we're watched eternally by machines on the lookout for crime?"

But there weren't enough cops to make all the stops that would be needed to make the laws stick.

The chief said "It's a question, in practice, of cameras or taxes, because my policemen won't work for free;

I'd hire some more to help watch the store if only you'd pay the fee."

The townspeople voted, and duly 'twas noted that speed cameras were firmly rejected.

And just as expected, speeding again was neglected as a priority for police intervention, while accidents piled up from the law's inattention, something citizens ever after did rue.

Still they persevered in their folly and thought it was just jolly that the Constitution protected those who sped through.

It never occurred to them they'd blundered by making their streets an Indy 500, since they'd had their cake and eaten it too.

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