Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Public Safety

Supporters of the new law concerning "street racing" in Ontario are invited to have a look at this latest statement from Police Chief Julian Fantino:

It's been almost a month since the new law kicked in, and Fantino said today that he can't believe so many drivers – about 1,060 so far – have been caught speeding more than 50 kilometres an hour over the limit.

Drivers exceeding that threshold face harsh penalties, including a minimum fine of $2,000 and a weeklong licence suspension.

Police also seize their vehicles.

Fantino says he now regrets not setting the speeding threshold at 30 kilometres an hour over the limit.
I find it hard to believe that Fantino can't believe that more speed traps yield more fine revenue. Why stop at 30 kilometres over the limit? Zero tolerance is the only way to ensure public safety. You have a right to retain your vehicle so long as you strictly obey state laws.

See also the usurping Mayor of Mitchieville's observations.


Anonymous said...

Talk about over-selling, or under-researching:

1. "You have a right to retain your vehicle...":

The "state" can't make your vehicle crown property. It does allow police to order immediate seven day vehicle impoundment for street racing or stunt driving.

2. " long as you strictly obey state laws".

Impoundment isn't compulsory. Police have power of discretion, so once can't put that on the oppressive state's tab.

Speaking of the state, what does it have to say?

3. "Zero tolerance is the only way to ensure public safety."

That's a laughable straw argument, and you know it. Let's follow your logic and charge anybody going more than one km/h above the speed limit. First, the police couldn't enforce a zero tolerance policy without sucking vast amounts of resources away from other law-enforcement concerns. Second, the government would never pass such a law, knowing it would disrupt our transportation infrastructure and harm the economy. Third, citizens would be outraged and severely punish the government that passed it. No political party is proposing such patent nonsense, knowing it to be electoral suicide and terrible economics.

This logical fallacy has a name:

My personal favourite has to be the "men-marrying-toasters" argument. Comedy gold.

4. "I find it hard to believe that Fantino can't believe that more speed traps yield more fine revenue."

So what? Who said anything about revenue? Did he say that's his motivation - money? Not deterrence? Not public safety? Of course it leads to more money, and he's very politically savvy when it comes to shaking down the province's coffers. But a nose for money does not exclude other motivations. Call him up and ask.

5. Speaking of public safety, what's the problem? The average Ontario driver, Ontario car, and Ontario road are simply not equipped to handle driving that fast. To butcher Oliver Wendell Holmes, the right to swing my fist ends where I'm hurtled through the windshield and impale myself on the other man's nose.

Really now. Are you London's Ann Coulter, seeing enemies everywhere and still fiddling on a Fox comedy show?

If you see the state as such a threat to liberty, put in more than a half-assed effort to fight it.

Anonymous said...

If the seizure threshold were made 30kph over, that would be giving the police carte blanche to fuck with anyone that happens to be driving on the 401.

Give your head a shake Mr. Anonymous. The issue here is that Fantino wants the power of Mussolini, and - with the de facto speed limit on the 100kph 401 being 130 kph - Fantino KNOWS that a 30 kph threshold would give him the power to pull anyone and everyone over AT WILL.

This 'law' will be shown - not too long from know - to be in violation of basic laws of due process in a free country. Until then, Mr. Black Shirt will have free reign to seize the vehicle of ever person doing 130 as they enter an alleged "construction zone" having a reduced speed limit of 80 kph (construction zones in which construction is RARELY EVER being done)....or just to hang out on 40 kph off-ramps.

One can only wish that our little Hitler were as much of a law enforcer when it came to things that cannot be done from the comfort of the front seat of an American, umm, enforcing property rights at Caledonia.

eng said...

Nice try with the Hitler metaphor. While the Nazis did not build the Autobahn, they did not put speed limits on it either.

Anonymous said...

Police have power of discretion, so once can't put that on the oppressive state's tab.
Ah, the state is empowering an individual police officer with this power and that's not an act of the state - to allow this empowerment?
Whenever you give the police, especially individual officers, the right to seize property on summary convictions you are asking for trouble. Sorry, I've met too many vindictive, power-tripping bigots in the role of police officer to see this as a good thing. Any good criminal lawyer will tell you not to trust the police. And I especially wouldn't trust Fantino to tell me what his motivations were - though power is undoubtedly one of them.

Lisa said...

To the first anonymous commenter here:

The state can indeed make your vehicle crown property should you fail to pay the mandatory towage and storage fee to get your car back. And all this without any right to appeal in a court of law.

Let us follow your "logic" and look at the current increased police resources designated to "speed racers". The more police we have sitting by the side of the road to trap those exceeding speed limits, the less police we have dealing with crimes like insurgent occupations, theft, rape and murder. Do recall that cracking down on speeders is Fantino's current pet project, even if his officers still tolerate some level of dissidence in this regard.

Admittedly, Fantino doesn't say outright he is looking for money but his comments concerning reducing the speed racer label to those going 30k over the limit suggests that he would he be more than willing to apply such stringent measures to those exceeding the limit by say 20k. Such a shame that police are hindered by such considerations as the economy and the voting electorate.

And speaking of logical fallacies, your closing words in particular remind me of my favorite one:

Really now. Are you London's Ann Coulter, seeing enemies everywhere and still fiddling on a Fox comedy show?