Red Light Cameras

So reading through the blogosphere yesterday Uncle posted about someone getting 5 red light tickets, but they weren’t his.  I had meant at the time to do a blog post on the subject but never got around to it.  Uncle’s post gave me renewed vigor.

Red light cameras strike a special nerve with me.  The arguments for their use are much like the arguments for gun control, it makes everyone safer.  The actual numbers from the field though show the complete opposite however, again, just like gun control.

My mom got a red light ticket back home.  It was actually her vehicle in this instance.  A couple weeks later some friends of hers who live out of town called and asked about the same intersection.  The interesting thing though about these tickets is they were for turning right on red, which is legal at that intersection.

As it is a sequence of still photographs as opposed to video, you can not defend yourself by showing you came to a complete stop.  You’re stuck paying the ticket.  Ahh, a ticket, maybe it is done for revenue.  Camera tickets are not reported to insurance companies or otherwise scored in your driving record.  It’s the equivalent of getting a parking ticket(California and Oregon excluded).  You are requested to pay this please for doing X, it’s a penance, except they’re charging people now a penance for something that is legal.  I voiced my displeasure by preaching to the choir and then it happened.  An article was posted in the town paper from where I grew up.  I read the article and damn near had an embolism from my blood pressure going through the roof.

Those who question the program’s validity will admit that there does seem to be a relationship between the cameras and the safety of people. Unfortunately, some politicians and pundits are inserting a “but …” and making claims that just are not true.

After my initial rage subsided I decided that I needed to bitch beyond the choir, to the no talent ass clowns politicians pushing this garbage.  After forwarding the article to “The Short Lady with the Grey Hair” she decided to send a letter as well.  Here is a copy of my letter for the internet to retain for all eternity.

Mr. Lewis,
There are some other issues you do not cover in your statement regarding photo enforcement at intersections.

As the rates of people committing infractions drop, revenue decreases.  Revenue is needed to maintain and operate the cameras.  As that revenue drops either the cameras are no longer maintained, or things are done which produce false positives to create revenue.  In either case people are or can be falsely cited for infractions.  Examples of this are ticketing everyone who turns right on red even though it’s legal.  As it is only pictures, NOT video it is impossible to prove guilt using them, however in a court room the images are looked at as divine judgment of guilt.

I will not argue that they can help decrease accidents, however accidents are caused by people blowing lights as through traffic.  Making a right hand turn on red is perfectly legal unless specific sings are in place to indicate otherwise.  However when I hear of different individuals getting a ticket for something perfectly legal at the same intersection is shows corruption and greed within the system.  It displays the real need for these cameras is to increase revenue.

Mr. Lewis, the facts of how these cameras are used and operated, coupled with the difficulty in defending yourself from a ticket for a legal procedure indicates a gross abuse by the local government against it’s citizens as well as visitors.  I grew up in Auburn and remember it prior to it’s explosion to it’s current state.  There is a reason I now live in a town with not a single stop light.  However when I talk to friends and relatives who still remain in the area about getting a ticket for turning right on red, where there is no indication it is illegal to do so, it makes me disappointed to say I grew up in Auburn.  It makes it obvious that Auburn’s intention with the system is not to increase safety, but rather to increase revenue by false citations to the citizenry.  Eventually the locals will know not to turn right on red, but what about people from out of town visiting.  Couple that with the distance and you have a guaranteed payout.

This is completely independent of the fact that the idea of red light and speeding cameras are grossly Orwellian in nature and indicate a subservience of the public to the state.  In our “free” republic, people are elected to represent the will of the public, not do as they wish.  When issues are brought up it is your duty as a public servant to address them.  That includes saying you made a mistake instead of continuing to push public policy to preserve your public image.  I would suggest finding a local scout organization and sitting through the “citizenship” merit badges.  The questions of efficacy in this instance I do not feel center around preventing accidents, but whether those who are ticketed have actually committed a crime.

Sincerely,

Barron Barnett
Eagle Scout, Troop 401 (2001)
Graduate AHS, 2002

I haven’t seen or heard a reply and I’m sure it was probably just tossed the garbage.  So instead it will be placed on the internet, for all to see and enjoy.  This will also provide another case for others who find themselves in the same predicament to use in support of their case when fighting a ticket ill gotten penance required by the force of government.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.

Mayor Daley, your ignorance is showing

An officer was shot and killed during a robbery attempt today in Chicago. Mayor Daley is using this opportunity to say that a stricter handgun ban would have prevented the shooting.

The 30-year-old officer was shot as he left his father’s house on the South Side early Thursday morning by would be robbers.

“If this person didn’t have this, never happened,” the mayor said, holding up a handgun on display for the news conference.

Mayor Daley, how is it a criminal is going to obey your law? Aren’t criminals defined by the fact that they break the law?

“Access to guns in America, everybody can have guns, doesn’t matter who they are, doesn’t matter if they have a criminal record, or not, they have access to guns and that’s the most frustrating issue.”

They have access to guns in your view because they can break the law and steal them. How do you believe we should solve this issue? By making good disarmed victims for the criminals to prey upon. Smart thinking there, where did you get your degree, Head Up Rear University? Mayor Daley has a city with crime completely out of control with some of the most strict gun control in the country. However instead of blaming crime on his failed policies and admitting he was wrong, he just continues to create excuses.

It is most ironic that it was the officer’s father who carried a firearm that dealt with the threat.

In the Wortham case, the officer’s father, a retired Chicago Police officer, rushed to his son’s aid. Using his own handgun– retired police officers are allowed to legally keep their weapons– he shot two of the suspects, killing one of them.

It’s amazing what can happen when one is allowed to defend themselves. The retired officer was allowed to carry a gun. So instead of being dependent upon his phone and the police department; he was instead allowed to be self-reliant. As such, he survived and was able to shoot two of the suspects. Mayor Daley, I suggest you remove your head from a particular body cavity, stop acting like a bigot, and take a serious look around. Your policies are killing your citizens, not firearms. What are the real reasons behind your incessant disarmament of honest law abiding citizens?

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.