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I am retired from government, law enforcement, politics and all other pointless endeavors. I eat when I am hungry and sleep when I am tired.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


This is a quest post of mine on a local, regional newspaper.  It deals with the State of Pennsylvanias' attempt to give its drivers a break.  Of course the usual suspects pop up to defend the indefensible. 

The Sticker Police

By Thomas O. Meehan | Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2015 12:15 pm
I gather that after 2016, we won’t have to affix those silly little stickers to our license plates anymore.
This seems to have been in the works for a while. I found references to it dating back to 2013. Like any reform that would have the effect of lightening the public burden, this one seems to have proceeded at glacial pace. Taxes come fast. Regulatory burdens can only be relieved after much, much study.
The publics’ relief from the most infinitesimal imposition can be counted on to arouse the spirit of sadism in some quarters, and in this case it’s the police. They want the DOT to stop this foolishness and make us take up the pointless little stickers again.
According to ABC News, whom I’m guessing can quote accurately, “Police say they also look for expired or missing registration stickers because it gives them probable cause to stop a suspicious driver and check for other crimes and outstanding warrants. Eliminating the stickers, they say, will make it less likely that criminals are noticed and stopped.”
This is a fine specimen of totalitarian thinking. The police want to operate a rolling dragnet in hopes of boosting DUI and drug arrests. They don’t have enough excuses to pull us over at will and are in no mood to lose another one. It’s nice to know that their first priority is to play Simon Says with the public in hopes of getting a chance to play twenty questions with people. I do applaud their honesty. Usually they are less open about their drive to maximize arrest statistics as an end in itself. The House passed Bill 1154 to reinstate the stickers. Apart from Law Enforcement I don’t know who lobbied for the bill. Perhaps it was the Union of Pennsylvania Masochists.
The little stickers are worthless for the stated purpose. Scofflaws just peel the stickers off our plates and stick them on their own. (A State Trooper pointed this out to me by the way.) Personally I feel that the government might have better things to do than create bureaucratic pitfalls to aid the police in harassing us. The police already have license plate readers mated to laptops. From the information on your plate they know more about you than does your next of kin.
DOT estimates that the jettisoning of the stickers will save them one million dollars. They have already stopped ordering the stickers and are seeing the savings.
This is also an example of the government working at cross-purposes with itself. We all know that in sanctuary cities like Philadelphia, illegal aliens are regularly pulled over with no registration, license or ID at all. The only people who will get summonses will be suburban Americans, as usual.
I have a better idea. Why re-register our cars every year? What purpose does this serve? I know it creates and maintains employment at the DOT, but what’s in it for us? Making people jump through this hoop every year accomplishes very little. Why not just register our cars once. When we sell or junk our cars we can let DOT know. If we change address or whatever we can also let them know. They do use computers I suppose. If this is too revolutionary, would five years do?
Like so many other interactions with our government, we perform these inanities because we have done so in the past. Different stakeholders in big government see no reason why we shouldn’t go on in perpetuity. For them, it’s a living, for us it’s just a sticky senseless mess.

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