Ways of skinning cats

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Dear Victoria Police

Thank you for having such handsome young policemen man your booze bus late last night on Ballarat Road. A booze bus on a Monday night? That seems a bit strange to me, I must say, but hey, you gotta do what you believe you gotta do. I thank you that you make it attractive to my eyes in the process.

No, that's not why I'm writing. I see you apprehended Olive doing 67 k's in a 60 zone on Sunshine Road, West Footscray, thus breaking road rule 20 of the Road Rules Victoria Act. Dammit, it's so hard to concentrate on keeping the car at the right speed. I could almost miss looking at the road, spending so much time looking at the speedo.

Anyways, I am writing to inform you that I think your fine of $138 is a bit - well, it's a bit excessive, don't you think? Yes, I know, I know - you want to deter my behaviour. I understand that as a government department that writhes around in red tape and bureaucracy that you just don't know any other way of doing it than the punishment and deterring way. Perhaps there is no other way. Perhaps there is. But I'm not so sure a government department would have enough gumption to enact proactive, life-giving ways of doing things even if those things did manage to make it past the 37 meetings required to institute new proceedings without being chopped up on the floor by the 7th meeting. But I digresseth.

Anyways, I've been thinking. I understand the need for people to do the speed limit. I really do. And I understand your need to instil fear as some sort of deterrent to said behaviour. But you see, the thing is, people can't get around in fear of what might happen - not all the time, not even in this fearful society, where apparently free people with lots of money are constantly encouraged, by their hearts and externally, to be scared of so many things, most of which will never even happen. Sometimes I think your approach is counterproductive to the very people you're targeting to try to get your citizenry to conform to what you want them to do by showing them graphic advertisements at quarter time in the footy about people who have done 7 ks over the speed limit and lived to tell the sorry tale of the people they killed. Or more often, of the damage they have done to themselves. But your methods bring out my childish, inner anti-authoritarian, it must be said. The one that says, "Hey, you know what? People drive fast because they can. Maybe they should manufacture cars that don't go over a certain limit. And hey, you know something else? People drive fast because it's fucking fun. Yes, it is perhaps irresponsible driving fast, when you factor in all the possible bad, scary, awful things that could happen. But that kind of dictum would mean that we should just all stay in bed (alone, because think of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases) because ooh, bad, scary, awful things happen all the time, and in actual fact I would say that the way our society lives here is so mind numingly safe that sometimes it makes me want to drive really fast just to give it some sort of colour to a world that thinks it can legislate the danger out and still have any kind of a life.

I digress again. It's hard to keep focussed this morning. Anyway, the main reason I'm writing is to suggest that perhaps there are other ways of penalising my errant driving than fiscal. Yes, yes, I know, it's difficult to see that in a world that worships money as its god. We love worshipping money. It gets us to wield all our power-loving and fear-mongering with license. We love it that way. But hey, I was thinking - instead of charging me 138 bucks, wouldn't it be nice if there could be some other way of paying back my penalty to society? Like, for example, voluntary community service for a week or two. I'm happy to pay my dues, you know? But maybe if you got me doing a bit of community service at, for example, the TAC, where I could help the people who have come a cropper doing 7 ks over the speed limit, perhaps that might be a bit more of a proactive way to come at things, dontchathink?

Or community service planting some trees. Or hanging with some old people. Just a thought.


  1. The blessed irony... You get nabbed for doing 7k over the limit, and I get away with doing 110k over the limit. It was only once though:)

    I'd never do it again.

  2. but you must remember that with your suggestion....they get none of that money our society worships....the system can't run on the kind productive acts of community service...that's way to people focused. What the hell are you thinking? Snap out of it.

  3. Monk - that surely is a typo? 110 over the limit? You would have had to have charmed them rather hard to get off that :)

    Kent - yeah, I know. silly me - all that idealism :)

  4. Ooooohhhh!! I'm telling Papa on you!!!

    Seriously that's an excellent idea. Community service...you're so clever.

    But yeah, like Kent says, you're nuts for thinking the government would give up the cash.

  5. Erin - hello you, you marathon walker you :)

    Yes, I am clever, it's true :)

    Well, then, it should be an option. Most people, I imagine, would be preferential to paying a sum like this rather than going and planting trees or talking to dribbling old people, so the government would mostly get their extra money, me would think.

  6. no it wasnt a typo - 210 in a 100 zone. Of course Id never do 110 over the limit in a 60 zone, that would just be downright dangerous:)

    And your right, going fast is definately fun. Perhaps you could stand on your principles and refuse to pay the fine, as you refuse to participate in a system that uses money to manipulate and punish people...being the change you want to see... hmmm... thats a novel idea:) maybe I should try it myself sometime:)

  7. Monk - yeah, you try it first, then I'll be inspired by your action :) If I was gonna go to jail for one pissy fine, I'd rack up a few more first :)


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