Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Beggar Thy Philanthropist

seatbelt, trap, police, Regina, Saskatchewan, illustration

Making up petty rules and enforcing them is one thing governments do well.

On Monday I warned about the dangers of asking too much from government. I think, today, I’ll make the opposite warning: of not asking enough.

Mandatory seatbelt laws were enacted (sometimes by citizens initiative and referendum) to save people’s lives. But the reason many police and local jurisdictions like these laws is that it gives them a chance to engage in shakedowns, entrapping citizens into non-compliance, and then socking them with fines.

In Regina, Saskatchewan, a man pulled up to an intersection and saw a down-and-outer with a sign. He felt sorry for him, so, as he pulled up, he unbuckled his seat belt and pulled three bucks in change out of his pocket. And dropped the three dollars on the curb.

A few moments later, police stopped him, and handed him a ticket. The “homeless guy” with the sign turned out to have been an undercover cop, and the few moments without a seat belt was enough to charge our philanthropist $175 Canadian.

Though an obviously preposterous misuse of police time and attention, and an abuse of the citizenry, Regina’s police force remains adamantine, claiming that “this is nothing new. It’s part of a project that has police watching for traffic violations at intersections.”

Because this sort of thing only hits people almost at random, but the benefits are concentrated on police coffers, it’s hard to organize against such nonsense. Which is precisely why such nonsense goes on.

Still, we must prevent such abuse at the local level, if we’re ever to control the federal leviathan.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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seatbelt, trap, police, Regina, Saskatchewan, illustration


By: CS Admin


  1. Brian wright says:

    Entrapment and armed robbery are illegal unless the king’s men do it. This is the First Principle reason for (people’s) grand juries.

  2. Karen H says:

    A few years back I was entrapped in a similar sting involving a crosswalk. Undercover cops were curbside. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a plain clothes guy – balding in T-shirt & jeans – dangling his foot over the curb. But he was not in the street or the crosswalk. Just tarrying. However, the minute I drove through the crosswalk, he entered dodging another car in the lane closest to him. Well, 2 motorcycle cops pulled both of us over a block away. I got a $175 ticket, which definitely was a sting & stung.

    Crime is rampant in Los Angeles; gangs, increasingly aggressive homeless, car theft, etc. But arresting these people doesn’t net revenue for the City. Yes, government abuse!

  3. JdL says:

    And cops wonder why thinking people hate and despise them? The rumor must be true that they’re screened for lack of intelligence.

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