Apr 232009

Regular blog readers may remember a post I wrote on February 27 titled Just Shut Up, in which I said that sometimes silence is, indeed, golden. A Gypsy Journal reader at the Affinity rally said he learned that while in Albuquerque.

He said that when he arrived at the rally grounds it was late in the day, and someone on the parking crew informed him that one of his headlights was burned out.

The next evening he and his wife went to a local restaurant for dinner with some friends, and he had forgotten about the headlight until they were leaving the restaurant and one of their dinner companions spotted it and told him. On the way back to the fairgrounds, he stopped at an auto parts store and bought a replacement headlight.

He said it was dark by then and he was a block from the fairgrounds when a police officer going the opposite direction made a U-turn and pulled him over to tell him his headlight was out. He said he told the officer that he knew it, and in fact had just bought a replacement bulb not 5 minutes earlier.

He told me that the officer then said, “So you are admitting to me that you know you are driving an unsafe vehicle, which is a misdemeanor?”

He again told the officer that he had just bought a replacement headlight, and the officer again said “So you are admitting that you knew the headlight was out, and you are driving the vehicle?”

My friend said “Yeah, if you put it that way, I guess so.”

Then the cop issued him a ticket for violation of Section 66-3-801 of the state motor vehicle code. Once he had signed the ticket, the officer told him “If you had told me you were not aware of the burned out headlight, all you would have gotten was a warning ticket with no fine.”

I’m not sure I would have believed him if he hadn’t shown me the ticket, and his wife confirmed his story.

Now folks, I’m usually a big supporter of law enforcement. Our policemen and women do a job I’d never want to have to do. But this sucks. I know my way around Albuquerque a little bit, and on the area of Central Avenue around the fairgrounds, you can buy a hooker, any kind of drugs you want, or anything else that comes to mind. And yet this officer had time to hassle an old guy and his wife in an out of state pickup, because he told the truth. That just isn’t right.

Thought For The Day – There can be no failure for a man who has not lost his courage.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  9 Responses to “That Just Isn’t Right”

  1. Being right doesn’t necessarilly have it’s own reward except in the heart. This man knows that he has personal integrity. . . which is its own reward. The officer, whether a rookie or just a bit anal retentive was doing his job as he saw it. Just pay the ticket and have a new story to tell around the campfire. Life occurs. . . as always, oRV

  2. Well they do let anybody be cops!!

  3. I had a similar thing happen. A car rear-ended my truck due to the driver of the car talking on their cell phone. I was at no fault and no one was hurt.

    When the officer asked if I had been wearing a seat belt, I said No.

    The officer asked me again if I had been wearing a seatbelt. I said no again.

    The officer proceeded to write me a 120 seatbelt ticket. I asked him if in the future I should lie to a police officer to get out of a ticket. He said yes.

  4. I don’t agree with the “pay it and forget it” idea. Some folks are not cut out to be cops. Not knowing anything more about this guy than what we have here, it looks like his badge is a tad too heavy for his chest.

    The ticket has the cop’s name. Let’s give him a little notoriety. His boss my appreciate that.

    If your friend is retired and not on a schedule maybe a couple extra days in Albuquerque and a visit to court to contest the ticket may be in order…

    Sheesh. Kevin

  5. In most states if you have the equipment violation repaired, just stop by the local Police station take the ticket inside and tell them that you had the violation repaired, the officer will go check the car and cancel the ticket for you.

  6. Then again it may be one of those requirements that officers HAVE to follow or get written up or cited themselves…because of public safety issue and the liability. I would be interested in knowing the other view point.

  7. I think the gentleman should write the mayor, tell him the story and remind him how much money the rally put into the local economy. Personally, I would never go back to Albuquerque for a rally due to the logistic problems we experienced with the split location, but a crappy deal like this seals it! My daddy always taught me that honesty pays, just not in Albuquerque.

  8. I’ve been told that some police are actually recording their “stops”. Maybe the policman had to give out a ticket or be in jeopardy of loosing his job….

  9. […] of you may remember my April 23rd blog, in which I wrote about an RVer who had a headlight out on his pickup truck while we were in […]

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