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Just a Few Rambling Thoughts (Pet Peeves)

Updated on December 5, 2019
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU 1963. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

Example of a Police Roadblock

A road block in Yonkers, New York
A road block in Yonkers, New York | Source

Stop for a Flashing Red Light

It's amazing how so many drivers fail to stop for a flashing red light. It would appear that some drivers are simply ignorant of the Rules of the Road.
It's amazing how so many drivers fail to stop for a flashing red light. It would appear that some drivers are simply ignorant of the Rules of the Road.

If you're anything like me -- although that seems unlikely in view of the fact that my "friends" all tell me I'm "one of a kind," if you know what I mean -- you've stored up over the years a few pet peeves, or observations, that you'd be happy to tell the world about if only you had a forum.

I've accumulated a long list of "pet peeves" I'd like to shout from the rooftops, and every now and then, new observations are added.

In the hope that someone who can do something to assuage my concerns is listening (or reading), I'm taking advantage of this forum to relate just a few.

Punishment Should Fit the Crime

* * * Erasing the criminal records of people who are given accelerated rehabilitation instead of a trial: Not a good idea. I realize that some of our jails are filled to capacity, but violators of the law should be given punishment appropriate to the severity of their crime. They should not be given sentences simply for the state's convenience; sentences should be neither too soft nor too severe, and individuals should not be treated differently merely to make a so-called example of them. When criminals have repaid their debts to society they should be allowed to work and rehabilitate themselves, but their records should not be buried in the sand. If they should strike again, we'll know it's not their first offense.

Flashing Red Lights Ignored

* * * Flashing red lights: I frequently encounter the traffic light at the intersection of Main Avenue and Broad Street (Norwalk) when it is in its flashing red light mode in the evening. Much to my surprise, virtually nobody stops. When I took my driving test to obtain my driver's license some years ago drivers were required to know that you should slow down for a flashing yellow light, but you must stop at a flashing red light before proceeding. More importantly, not only do the cars fail to stop, they fly by without as much as tapping on their brakes. Motorists take note!

Abuse of Authority

* * * Police roadblocks: While the courts have allowed police roadblocks for a variety of purposes -- as long as they are indiscriminate -- I don't believe the U.S. Constitution actually contains authority for such roadblocks. Police establish roadblocks to check such things as emission stickers, but, in truth, they use this clandestine method to look for other, more serious violations. Sounds like a good idea -- until you think of its ramifications in terms of the preservation of our liberties.

True Cost of Corporate Welfare

* * * Corporate welfare: I haven't got a thing against the conduct of legitimate business, but corporate welfare in all its forms is deplorable. It's even more expensive than the much maligned programs for needy individuals. As with individual welfare cases, the problem is not so much what is done, but how it's done. The true cost of corporate welfare is buried deeply in complicated accounting journals of corporations and government.

Laws of Incorporation

Write-offs, tax breaks, low-cost loans, inflated contracts and outright grants stealthily dig into taxpayers' pockets. If we think it wise to give corporations huge sums of money, why not do it out in the open, aboveboard, so everyone knows what's happening. Let the corporations ask Congress for what they want -- and then justify their proposals the way everyone else must do. The laws of incorporation already give these companies huge advantages over everyone else.

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Aug. 10, 1996.

Should Criminal Records Ever Be Erased?

See results

Freedom 101 -- Lindsay Robertson -- Incorporation


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    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Part of the problem, JamaGenee, is that we carry on great debates about giving tax cuts to the wealthy, denying Medicare and Social Security to the elderly and patting down airline passengers, but rarely mention highway signs, traffic signals or needed white lines on our roads or scores of other mundane but important issues. The Letters to the Editor section of newspapers have always been one of my favorite features because these "little" issues could get some traction. I guess now that newspapers are losing favor we'll have to rely on comments posted on Internet sites. Thanks for keeping these issues alive.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      10 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Yes, Bill, those white lines need to be repainted...ASAP! Just the other night, in pouring rain, had I not known exactly where the highway curves as it goes from two-lane to 4-lane, the white lines had faded so much that I could easily have driven into oncoming traffic. In fact, on that section, the lines are barely visible in daylight. Sounds like rectifying this situation nationwide could put a LOT of people back to work and move the economy forward on several levels. But, of course, public officials don't see it that way.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks, JamaGenee. If I didn't have other priorities I could easily write a book about absurd traffic lights and signs. My most recent concern, however, is the failure of authorities to keep the white lines on the traffic lanes white, especially in poorly lit areas. Also, there are many left or right turn lanes here on Long Island, but unless the cross streets are identified in advance (as is done often in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and occasionally here) one doesn't know to get on them in time. Traffic signs should be directed toward out-of-towners, not local folks who already know the street patterns.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      10 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Had to laugh at your useless red light! On a highway I now travel twice daily, there's a set of traffic lights (red, green, and yellow) literally in the middle of nowhere. It's visible from a mile or more in either direction, and only changes to yellow, then red, when a vehicle trips the sensor at the crossroad. Meaning that those who use that stretch of road quickly learn to slow down a bit a half mile away and the light will be green again by the time one reaches the intersection. A vehicle wishing to turn onto or cross the highway from any other point for miles in either direction has to wait for a break in traffic, so I suspect some local bigwig who lives out there got it installed for personal convenience. A total waste of tax dollars IMO.

      The small town nearest to me has two traffic lights that are set to stay red much too long. That inconvenience is rectified, however, from 9:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. when the lights are flashing yellow. I come through that town regularly during those hours and have ever seen only one car - with out-of-state tags, mind you - slow down at the "yellow" intersections. Locals (myself included) don't even bother.

      Don't even get me started on corporate welfare!

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      You are very kind, Patty. Thanks.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      two thumbs up!

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      One of the fundamentals of newspaper writing, Christoph Reilly, is that you must write to fit the space available. The "My View" feature of the The Hour newspaper was always exactly one-column long. My favorite editorial advice to reporters who turned in copy that was too long was to tell them to cut it down to size "but don't leave anything out." By the way, my friend and former editor, John Reilly, wrote this "My View" that I think you'll like:

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      12 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I think tailgaters have a bigger ego than a brain, robie2. They actually believe they can stop on a dime while rolling along at 65 miles an hour. Not only annoying, but dangerous. It seems the big corporations need not fear failure anymore as long as they can rely on the government to bail them out.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      12 years ago from St. Louis

      I have to agree across the board. You are very disciplined to keep the list to 5. Thanks for a great hub.

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      12 years ago from Central New Jersey

      Well, I don't get irked at red lights--but I hate fellow motorists on narrow roads who ride my bumper and get annoyed that I don't drive like Mario Andretti. As for corporate welfare--it's only gotton worse since 1996 and I have only two words to say about it to wit: Fannie and Freddie :-)

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      13 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks for your kind remarks, pjdscott. It doesn't make sense to me, either.

    • pjdscott profile image


      13 years ago from Durham, UK

      I read your comments about justice/criminals with interest; a thoughtful piece of writing. The UK seems to be following you - criminals seem to have more rights than their victims. It seems senseless for states/countries to spend much money, resources, time etc convicting criminals, only to release them again after a 'rap on the knuckles'. Likewise, it is crazy to erase their former records, particularly since many re-offend.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      13 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks, compu-Smart. I know exactly what you mean. Worst of all is stopping for a red light at 2 in the morning when no one is around. Those lights seem to be especially long!

    • compu-smart profile image

      Tony Sky 

      13 years ago from London UK

      Hi William, I wish i could write all my pet peeves but it would end up with more words than the bible!!

      One peev of mine is red lights ..Over here "UK" it is quite common to stop at a red light no matter what time of day it is and there will be no cars at all coming the other way! and i think the goverment do this on purpose so drivers waste really needs sorting out...


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