Just a Few Rambling Thoughts (Pet Peeves)
Example of a Police Roadblock
Stop for a Flashing Red Light
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.