Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jack-Boots on my Tail

I got pulled over yesterday by a completely unmarked black SUV with tinted windows. The only thing letting me know it was anything official was the two little blue strobes by the rear view mirror. At first, I didn't even notice him. He was in the right lane, about 2 or 3 car lengths behind me. I was in the left lane. Then, he sort of moved to the middle of the road. I pulled over to let him by, and he swooped in behind me. I pulled over in a turnaround.

We just sat there for a few minutes. I strained to hear if he was telling me to get out of the vehicle. He wasn't. A few minutes later, he emerged from the SUV. It was a state trooper. He crept up the side of my truck, with his right hand touching his gun. I got nervous. He peeked in, and asked for my driver's license and proof of insurance. I said, "No problem," and handed them to him. Then, he started asking me questions like, "Where do you work?" "What's your phone number?" "What's your social security number?" He was very short with me, and seemed angry. I began to wonder if he really was a trooper at all. I looked at his name badge. It was all rusty looking. "Tubbs" it read. He was a corporal.

After telling me he pulled me over because I wasn't wearing a seatbelt (something there's NO WAY he could tell from where he was on the highway) he went back to his vehicle. By this point, in the 100+ degree heat, I'm burning up. I turned my truck off when he first pulled me over, so I have no AC or any kind of air circulating in the truck. It seemed like I sat there forever, roasting. I didn't think to time it, because I was too nervous. After what seemed like an infinity of sweating, he returned with my ticket.

When he handed it to me to sign, I told him about my truck. He put it off on Selma law enforcement, like the other trooper did. I told him that they should work together, instead of being in competition. I told him why I didn't believe the seatbelt law was right, that I used to wear my seatbelt religiously, until the illegal fine was imposed. He wouldn't go as far as to agree with me, but he did say he wasn't arguing it was right. He said he was 'just doing his job'. I told him I appreciated them keeping crazy drivers off the street, but that I wasn't hurting anyone by not wearing a seatbelt.

He then started scaring me... he implied they were 'watching me'. He disparaged social activism. I told him if it weren't for people standing up against unjust laws, people like him wouldn't be free right now. To which he replied, "I'm just doing what they tell me... If they tell you to do something at WSI, you do it, don't you?" "Not if it's breaking the law, I don't," I replied. He laughed and implied I was being watched again. Even if he was just being a jerk about it, that kinda thing is disconcerting to hear come from an authority figure. The thought of being shot or hurt by law-enforcement because I didn't wear a seatbelt never entered my mind until that moment.