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April 14, 2009

Red Light Cameras

Lufkin, where I live, installed red light cameras a year or so ago, and I have to drive through one--on a major highway no less--every day. At first, I was just personally peeved to run the risk of getting a guaranteed ticket for doing something we all do: occasionally make a bad judgment while driving. It's practically inevitable that I'll get a ticket given the number of times I'll drive through this particular light.

But something else bugs me about this new form of "law enforcement": it's a revenue stream. Some company installs and maintains the cameras for a 52% cut of the fines. Whereas before, law enforcement was a tax expenditure, it's now an income source. Before, a community would look at how to stop the law from being broken, like lengthening the caution lights, and therefore cut police expenses, but now it, along with a private business, has a vested interest in making sure traffic violations continue to be committed.

As a matter of fact, several cities have been caught shortening the length of the yellow light in order to increase revenue, including Dallas, Texas. Bastards. Risking our lives, literally, to fatten their wallets.

Same thing with private prisons. Prison guard associations and no doubt prison "companies" will oppose anything to stop the "war on drugs" since it is their bread and butter. More prisoners=mo' money, mo' money, mo' money. It's no accident our prison population is astonishingly out of proportion with the world.

Posted by tat at April 14, 2009 06:36 PM

Oh Bryan, we could have some REALLY interesting conversations about the prison thing... I'm currently writing a book, in fact. What a huge scam it all is, esp. in this great prison state of CA! It's big business!

Posted by: Deb Taranik at April 21, 2009 11:01 PM
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