Petty Police State

Could the most important thing one does for one’s community be to send a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution to local politicians and police?

Some officers in the Dallas Police Department are doing things against the letter and the spirit of our laws. After writing a traffic ticket up, and getting the signature, too many on the force then add on infractions.

Gretchen West was stopped for a burned-out tail light. She took away her ticket for $220. And paid. Then she got a letter in the mail, saying she owed an extra $378 for failing to wear a seatbelt and driving without her headlights on.

But, but . . . the officer had not mentioned those alleged violations!

The Dallas Morning News informs us that an assistant city attorney documented about a dozen cases like this in recent months.

This weird twist on ex post facto law is Kafkaesque, actually, the kind of thing you’d expect from a police state.

Now, I know: Dallas, Texas, today, is a better place to live in than was Moscow, USSR, circa 1950. The Soviets set in place a totalitarian police state.

Here in America, when our rulers and enforcers forget the importance of the rule of law, and the primacy of citizen liberties, they tend to set up not totalitarian police states but petty ones.

Sure, the pettiness is a bit of a relief. But it’s just not the American way.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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