Here's the Scoop: Nov. 26, 2008
Wow, look at that poor fool!
As we all know, there are benefits and drawbacks to living in a small town.
For the most part, people are friendly and will drop everything to help a neighbor. That’s one of the best elements of rural life.
On the other hand, there are occasions when it’s not a good thing when most people know everyone else.
For instance, say if someone gets pulled over by a trooper in a very public place. In a small town, there can be many interpretations of such a situation:
A. There’s the trooper’s viewpoint (often correct) that the motorist was doing something improperly.
B. There’s the driver’s story that the trooper doesn’t know what he or she is talking about and should be out catching real criminals. This is best left unstated during the traffic stop.
C. There are passersby who quickly form an opinion about why this person they know was stopped. Of course, they’re probably wrong. Or right.
D. There are also folks who listen to police calls on a scanner and know exactly why the stop took place.
I’m not even sure why I’m inspired to write about such incidents, but let me give you a hypothetical case.
Say a “friend” of mine got pulled over midday on Route 28 for, let’s call it, “Not paying attention to one of the rules of driving.”
Then, the trooper explains the situation and goes back to his car to write a ticket. Fair enough.
Here’s where, according to my friend, the problems start.
The amount of time that the trooper spends in his car seems to go on longer than the Bush Administration. This allows ample time for “nearly everyone who I’ve ever met to drive past and gawk at me — either feeling pity or glee,” in the words of my friend.
At the same time, my friend later learned, news of this traffic stop was being broadcast to listeners far and wide who enjoy listening to police activity on a scanner.
It goes without saying that the Scanner Crowd passes this information along via telephone or personal interaction. Quickly.
Basically, everyone knew that my friend had been stopped and they received this news very fast.
The good part of all this was the police computer didn’t turn up any warrants against my friend!
The bad news is that my friend said it was “kind of humiliating” sitting along the highway while the trooper wrote the ticket for this “very, very minor infraction.”
My friend was also concerned that this same description did not get aired on the scanner, because those were his words and probably not the trooper’s.
I asked my friend if he learned any lessons from all of this.
“Yes, always have a good magazine in the car so you can pretend that you’re reading it without a care in the world while the trooper takes a really, really long time to run your information through the computer. Then you won’t have to watch in humiliation as people stare at you,” he replied.
“What about simply obeying the rules of the road and not getting stopped in the first place?” I asked him.
His blank look told me that this idea had not yet occurred. This should delight the Scanner Crowd.