Thursday, November 18, 2010

Big Brother is watching your car

I had just put the girls to bed and was looking to unwind for a few minutes so I flipped on the television and watched Billy the Exterminator track down a copperhead and kill a bunch of yellow jackets. Nothing weighty - just some laughs while Billy exaggerates the danger of every bug, rodent and creature he comes across.

But next came something I wasn't expecting -- Parking Wars. Where I was amused while watching bugs meet horrific deaths, I was shocked at what goes on in the City of Brotherly Love. Parking enforcement officers ride in vans equipped with cameras and computers that scan the license plates of parked cars and run them through the city's database of delinquent parking tickets. It doesn't matter if your parked legally -- if the van comes through and gets a hit on your license plate, your car is getting booted. Of course since there are few houses with driveways in the Philadelphia neighborhoods where the parking officers cruise, just parking your car legally on the street makes you fair game.

The other thing that struck me was the delusional self-importance of the guy driving the van. The most "true believer" prosecutor has nothing on this guy. Apparently he's doing the lord's work. Of course delusional self-importance can also be found in the courtroom. Ironically enough, the lower down the chain you go, the more delusional are the people you meet. A judge in traffic court will issue an arrest warrant if someone is 15 minutes late to an 8:00 a.m. docket call -- even though the police don't have to saunter in until 1:00 p.m. In felony court? Your client will be seated in the jury box and told not to be late again. And then there's this guy -- he's the bailiff in a Harris County Justice of the Peace Court down a way from here in a place sometimes referred to as Area 51 that will not be named.

See also:

"Big Brother on Wheels," Defending People (9/24/2008)


Mark Bennett said...

Mark Bennett said...

Oh, link: