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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Ever seen cops break traffic laws, NOT on their way to a call? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Ever seen cops break traffic laws, NOT on their way to a call?
ketchupqueen
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I have. It's pretty common around here (common practice in the LAPD, apparently, although I've only seen cars from the Sheriff's Dept. do it a few times.)

Anyway, so have traffic cams in Maryland, and the majority of the citations issued haven't been paid.

quote:
In the last eight months of 2007, Montgomery County's new speed cameras recorded 224 cases in which police vehicles were recorded traveling more than 10 mph over the speed limit, according to department records.

Supervisors dismissed 76 of those citations after determining the officers were responding to calls or had valid reasons to break the speed limit.

But that left 148 who didn't have that excuse, and about two-thirds of those citations haven't been paid, said police Lt. Paul Starks.


This kind of irks me. The officers' union is arguing that citations are issued to the owner, not the driver, so in this case that's the county, and the officers shouldn't have to pay.

I say bunk. If the county has to pay their speeding tickets then the county should take the damages out of their pay. Perhaps I'd be okay with an amnesty period, just dismissing the fines so far, but making it clear that unless they are on their way to a call or in otherwise mitigating circumstances they should NOT break traffic laws. Anyone caught after that would be responsible for the fines.

It just always irks me to see a cop speed, ignore traffic rules, take a right-of-way he doesn't have-- and pull into Starbucks or Jack-in-the-Box or something. I think departments should make it a clear and enforced policy that police officers need to set an example to the community of the CORRECT way to drive courteously and lawfully, unless there are circumstances that require speed. Then maybe people would be happier to pull over and give them the right-of-way if they saw a cop speeding, thinking, "Oh, he must be going somewhere important," not, "Dang cops think they're above the law."

Anyway, sorry. Guess that got a little rant-y. Can you tell I see far too many police cars being driven inappropriately, and not near enough of them responding to calls we put in about things like illegal fireworks?

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adfectio
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What I see most often is cops coming up to a light as it changes to yellow, and then they flip on their lights so they don't have to stop at a red light.

That just bothers me.

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ketchupqueen
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Me too! Especially if, as I said, they then turn them off, and pull into Starbucks. Grrr.
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Lyrhawn
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They don't bother turning on their lights here, they just go through the yellow or slightly red light. Once in awhile I'll see a cop zipping down the road without his lights on, but it's impossible to tell if he's headed anywhere or not.
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ketchupqueen
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*nods*

I'm really a good-natured person (mostly.) I want to believe that when I see them zipping through reds and yellows and going 20 mph faster than everyone else, they're on their way to help someone, and are keeping the sirens off because they don't need them right that second to get through and are trying not to disturb the neighborhood.

I've just seen them do that for their own convenience far too many times to not at least have the thought that they're in a big hurry for their dinner break or comped coffee. *sigh* And especially the LAPD, as I said-- well, I have more issues than their driving with them. Including a couple of very wrong shootings, very near me. And I live in a pretty good neighborhood. Really.

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Elmer's Glue
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I saw a cop turn from the wrong lane.
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ketchupqueen
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Yup, all the time. No signal, either.
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Reshpeckobiggle
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I once saw a cop going the speed limit in the left lane, keeping pace with a car on his right. So I PIT maneuvered his a** into the ditch.
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The Pixiest
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All people in government are above the law.
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Puffy Treat
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Don't me started.

(The really bad ones are the state police. Those people are maniacs on the road!)

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maui babe
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I saw a Maui PD van make an illegal U-turn last week. I have no idea whether it was on its way to a call or not. I noticed it because I've never seen an egregious traffic offense committed by a cop before - in any place I've ever lived. Maybe I just don't pay attention, but it doesn't seem to be too much of an issue to me.
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cassv746
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
All people in government are above the law.

Yep, so they can do whatever they want. Makes me sick. I've lost most of my respect for cops.
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Tstorm
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And yet, I know my share of cops who are just good cops. Far be it from me to dissuade ya'll from your ranting, but it's worth noting that there are some genuinely good people out there doing their jobs well.
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scholar
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quote:
Originally posted by Tstorm:
And yet, I know my share of cops who are just good cops. Far be it from me to dissuade ya'll from your ranting, but it's worth noting that there are some genuinely good people out there doing their jobs well.

I used to whine about cops a lot, but when I recently had to call one, I was very impressed. I would say 90% of drivers break the rules at some point and I would expect the same amount of cops.
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Xavier
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quote:
I used to whine about cops a lot, but when I recently had to call one, I was very impressed. I would say 90% of drivers break the rules at some point and I would expect the same amount of cops.
I think that those paid to enforce the rules should be expected to follow them. Crazy idea!

I see cops breaking traffic rules all the time, and it sickens me.

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Launchywiggin
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...maybe some of the laws are the problem, too?
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scholar
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But think about why you break traffic rules when you do. I personally don't think, I feel like speeding today. I just suddenly look down and realize I am going x speed. When I run a light, it is usually because I misjudged the timing. It isn't a conscious choice.
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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by Tstorm:
And yet, I know my share of cops who are just good cops. Far be it from me to dissuade ya'll from your ranting, but it's worth noting that there are some genuinely good people out there doing their jobs well.

If many cops are good, we shouldn't complain about the cops who do bad things?

I don't think that cancels or balances the bad things out. I've had my share of cops who did ugly, humiliating things to me for reasons that turned out to have nothing to do with the law and a lot to do with their own frustrations. Thus, I don't have much tolerance or sympathy for cops who think the presence of exemplery peers excuses them into slumming.

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Threads
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
If many cops are good, we shouldn't complain about the cops who do bad things?

It means people should try to avoid generalizations.
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Tstorm
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quote:
If many cops are good, we shouldn't complain about the cops who do bad things?
It also means people should try to avoid putting words in my mouth. [Smile]

On that note, however, I have no problem with people complaining about bad cops. [Smile]

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Puffy Treat
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Sorry if I offended, but I find people rarely use the word "ranting" in a neutral sense when referring to the opinions of others.
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airmanfour
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
All people in government are above the law.

I disagree. It's mostly the porcine variety of government workers.
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Luv2ReadProductions
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The last two times I was pulled over, I was let off with warnings. As a result, I don't complain anymore when I see a cop go a few miles over the speed limit. [Smile]
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Tstorm
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Puffy Treat, my apologies. I did not consider the negative connotation of 'ranting' when I chose that word. [Smile]
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dean
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I often drive home on a two-lane, no-passing highway with a speed-limit of 45 miles per hour. Most people go about 55, but for reasons of my own, I make a conscious effort to go about 43-45 miles per hour along that road. The other night, as I was driving along just below the speed limit, I was being tailgated by the driver behind me who kept flashing his brights at me. After about five minutes of this, the person behind me turned on his flashers (woah, it's a cop!). I pulled partway over (there's no parking on this road either); the cop pulled into the other lane, went around me and through a yellow light, and then turned off his lights and sped off at about the standard 55 miles per hour most people go on that road. I have no idea if he was going someplace important, but I think, more likely, that it was just that, like most people, he was frustrated by having to go the speed limit on that road.
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zgator
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quote:
The officers' union is arguing that citations are issued to the owner, not the driver, so in this case that's the county, and the officers shouldn't have to pay.
Wouldn't that be considered getting off on a technicality? Don't most cops hate it when someone they've arrested gets off on a technicality? I know that if I got a ticket while driving a company car there would be no question as to who would be paying that ticket.
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
...maybe some of the laws are the problem, too?
Some of the laws, yes. I don't have a problem with cops traveling the prevailing speed if it's above the speed limit. I have a problem withe cops using their lights to run red lights and make illegal turns. And yes, I see them doing that all the time. Especially heading toward the police headquarters.

Part of what bothers me about this is that I've also noticed a gradual slippage away from "yellow means make a reasonable attempt to come to a stop," to "about five cars can go through a light just after it turns red." That seems to be the rule around here, to the point that people have no problem doing it right in front of a cop, because they know the cops do it, and the cops don't give them tickets (I assume) because they know that they have no moral authority to give people tickets for things they do themselves.

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Reshpeckobiggle
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I've seen that too, Glenn. In another thread I'm complaining about how I hate drivers who go the speed limit in the left lane, but I still generally prefer that everyone follow the rules. That's something that really bugs me, and I don't remember it always being this way.

It always happens on the left turn arrow, probably because the same person who is holding up traffic in the left lane on the highway by going the speed limit and pacing a car or truck to their right, is also failing to closely follow the person in front of him when the left arrow light turns green (so I'm still blaming you slowpokes.) But regardless, I see my green light come up and another 2, 3, 4,what? 5 cars? go past.

This is true, I've gotten so frustrated with this that I've been at the front and seen my light turn green, and seen cars still coming, that I just went ahead and gunned it. The car slams on his brake and swerves back straight. (I give him the finger as I pass, needless to say.) I see in my mirror that now he's blocking traffic, and the only way he can quickly get out of the way, rather than completing his left turn, is to continue straight, which he does.

I know I'm the bigger jerk in this particular instance, by the way. But seriously, if people don't stop driving like obnoxious idiots, I'm gonna start dragging people out of their cars and beat them in the street.

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Reshpeckobiggle
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Slightly related, you know how when you have an intersection where the left turn lane has a green light, and you can go when oncoming traffic clears? I hate when the car in front of me does not bother pulling into the middle of the intersection to wait for a gap (or for the light to turn red.) If you're just sitting there, you're gonna need a much bigger gap to get through, and it's probably not even gonna happen so you're just gonna have to sit there until you get a green arrow again (unless it's one of those intersections where all you get is a green light and you just have to take your opportunity. I've found myself sitting through 2 cycles, and the car at the front of the line just sits there, the driver is just probably just wondering: "What should I do? Why does that guy keep honking his horn?")

This is the person most in danger of the treatment I described in my last post, as they're already just sitting there, ready to feel my wrath.

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Risuena
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Here's a more detailed article from the Washington Post (free registration required).

From the article:
quote:
[County Police Chief] Manger is demanding that officers pay the fines, a request that has met stiff opposition from union leaders and has been ignored by some sergeants who were asked to investigate whether officers nabbed by the cameras had a valid reason to speed.

"We are not above the law," Manger said in an interview. "It is imperative that the police department hold itself to the same standards that we're holding the public to."

Officials at the county's fire department, sheriff's office and four municipal police departments said employees who have been caught speeding in government vehicles have paid the fines.

"The only time we don't make them pay the fine is if they're on an emergency call," Sheriff Raymond M. Kight said. "We haven't had any resistance at all."

I can understand not wanting to pay, but when I get ticketed, I pay up. So does the County Commissioner, so do the fire fighters and other other county personnel. So I think these officers need to grow up and either stop speeding or pay the fines and stop flipping the bird at the cameras.
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Tante Shvester
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A couple of times, I've seen a police car exceeding the speed limit. I have definite proof, because I was exceeding the speed limit, and they caught up to me.

Then they requested that I pull off to the shoulder so that we could discuss my driving habits. I was polite enough not to mention that even if I was going too fast, they must have been going even faster.

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
It just always irks me to see a cop speed, ignore traffic rules, take a right-of-way he doesn't have-- and pull into Starbucks or Jack-in-the-Box or something.

It bears mentioning that often (or maybe just sometimes, depending) officers will begin to respond to a call and then get called off by dispatch because another unit's closer. In that case, they're instructed to pull over for a few minutes to let the adrenaline wear off before getting back on the road. So sometimes you might see an officer speed through an intersection and swing into 7/11 and that's what just happened.

However, anytime I see a cop breaking traffic laws and they don't have their lights and siren on I call and report them. I consider it my civil duty.

I do agree that a lot of the time they break the law just because they can, and I agree that that's wrong.

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Shan
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Civiv.

Civic duty.

I'm sure you're civil about doing it.


*grin*

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katharina
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quote:
Originally posted by Shan:
Civiv.

Civic duty.

I'm sure you're civil about doing it.


*grin*

Davidson's Law strikes again! [Big Grin]
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The Pixiest
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quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:
quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
All people in government are above the law.

I disagree. It's mostly the porcine variety of government workers.
Really now... You don't think politicians don't take whatever special treatment they get offered?

Or prison guards, or social workers, or judges or anyone else in a position of legal authority over others?

People single out the police because they have the most contact with them and usually it's in an unsavoury situation. But any position in gov't is susceptible to abuse and the people who are their to prevent it are likely abusers themselves.

Don't be so blind and naive to think that people get into gov't because they want to help anyone but themselves.

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katharina
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quote:
Don't be so blind and naive to think that people get into gov't because they want to help anyone but themselves.
Don't be so bitter and cynical that you can't believe goodness in any other human beings. I know a lot of people who work for government, and most earn (much) less than they would in the private sector and most work for the government instead because they think what they do is important.

This, by the way, includes your congresspeople. Every letter gets read, and every letter that isn't a form letter gets passed on to the congress person. They have meetings about what letters are coming in every week.

That's why the cynicism is so frustrating - it turns people off from doing things that actually can make a difference, like writing to your congressperson. Otherwise, I don't care - you can be as cynical as you like. However, by proclaiming it is useless to vote/work for change, you're actively damaging the citizenry.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Don't be so blind and naive to think that people get into gov't because they want to help anyone but themselves.
I know many people who have given up literally hundreds of thousands of dollars and haven't gotten anything out of it for themselves other than the satisfaction of doing some good in the world.
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fugu13
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Pixiest: you've said before that you think people will do things like provide for the poor absent gov't help, so why do you not think people could get into gov't out of a desire to help people?
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Risuena
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I have to admit that I'm feeling pretty insulted and I don't work for the government anymore.
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katharina
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I, of course, only work for the Library so I can help my to their sweet, sweet collection of books. If only there were places ordinary citizens could go where they could borrow books for free. Too bad those lofty privileges are available only for government employees.
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The Pixiest
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Fugu: Because if they wanted to help people, they wouldn't get into government, they'd just help people. Getting into government means they want to FORCE others to help people rather than doing the job themselves.

Dag: I'm sure there are exceptions, but I would have to see it to believe it. And I haven't yet.

Kath: Congress people are especially In It For Themselves. They're arrogant and principle-less. They'll sell out the world to get a building, airport of highway named after them. Do anything to buy a vote. There's a reason "Politician" is a swear word. (Ron Paul is the exception to this, but I still didn't vote for him.)

I don't have a problem with Librarians. I think, for those who get a kick out of Library Science, public libraries are probably the only place they can find a job.

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katharina
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Pixiest: That you vehemently believe your nihilistic rhetoric doesn't make it true. What are you basing your opinion of congresspeople on? Do you actually know any personally, or is this from the We Hate The Government quarterly?
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The Pixiest
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Kath: I've seen their votes, I've heard their speeches. Their lack of any sort of consistency precludes principle.

Kerry got in trouble last election for waffling. But they're all like that. They're all more about their power than their convictions.

Like I said before, though, Ron Paul seems to be the exception.

btw, I don't hate "The Government" I hate how our government has been twisted. Small, unintrusive, inobstructive government is a good and necessary thing.

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katharina
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You don't actually know, do you?

More importantly, you don't actually have an alternative method to propose. You like librarians? Who and what do you think funds the librarians?

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The Pixiest
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Kath: I've known people who have run for office (and failed) yes. I saw what the power did to them before they even had it.

I don't like where the libraries' funding comes from. I don't have a problem with Librarians.

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katharina
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So you like the fruit but hate the tree? Maybe your perceptions about the tree could be a little more nuanced.
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The Pixiest
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Kath: In the context of this thread, I don't think Libarians are Out For Themselves in the same way most other gov't people are.

Is that clear? I seem to have trouble expressing myself today. Which isn't good because I have an interview with a social worker in an hour and a half...

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katharina
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My point is that those who fund the librarians and the libraries they staff are also not only Out For Themselves - otherwise we'd have a government like Zimbabwe's.

And why aren't Librarians Out For Themselves? They get to hang out with books all day, they don't have to maximize efficiency or worry about a bottom line, they don't produce anything, and they are reasonably paid and get better benefits than most jobs that don't require critical thinking skills. What makes librarians different from, say, firefighters or people who work at the DMV in your view?

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The Pixiest
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I don't have a problem with firefighters either.

You are making a convincing argument to have a problem with Librarians though. DO go on.

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katharina
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It gets worse. Firefighters get to retire with a generous pension, guaranteed to be available by law. A lot of the time, they aren't even fighting fires - they are just hanging out at the firehouses, watching movies. They get paid to do nothing at all, and then, if a fire isn't controlled, they don't even have to pay for the damages. You can't sue a fireman for not going into a burning building to get your dog. Can you believe that? And they are paid regardless of how many people they've saved or whether or not they even did risk their lives.

Firefighters are clearly in it just to get onto those calendars anyway - it's all about sex and looks for them. I know this because I've heard about calendars with firefighters on them.

---

You stances seem to be less than nuanced and cursiouly ferocious considering your lack of first-hand knowledge and refusal - how about you defend your love of safety and free learning while bashing the elected creators of that safety and free learning.

In other words, let go of the black and white view of the world and tell us about something that is recognizably realistic. What would you do instead, and how would that retain the benefits you enjoy from a government you loathe?

[ March 10, 2008, 01:47 PM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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