More Weird Tales From The Great Stupid: Oh Yeah, This Will Work Out Well…

It’s getting really, really weird out there. Today this headline actually appeared on the Newsweek site: “Couple Assaulted Outside Liquor Store Over Suspected Bud Light Purchase.” Yes, Major Clipton will make his obligatory appearance, but here is the story, which I could not believe when I first learned about it:

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has created a draft plan to have unarmed civilians enforce traffic laws instead of the Los Angeles Police Department. The plan, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, has been on the drawing board for nearly three years but has yet to be officially released. This, I suspect, is because those who created this thing are in fear of ending up in a padded room.

As the story proves, however, all of California is now a padded room.

The LAPD is eliminating “pretextual stops,” the tactic of pulling over individuals for minor traffic violations to justify searching for guns and drugs. Black and Hispanic drivers were being pulled over at a higher rate than white drivers; they also have a higher rate of illegal objects and substances turning up in their vehicles when they are stopped. Naturally, black and Hispanic neighborhoods suffer the most from crime, which California is gradually addressing by making sure that all of California is a crime-infested Hell-hole.

But I digress. A U.S. Department of Justice report titled “Making It Safer: A Study of Law Enforcement Fatalities Between 2010-2016,” found that traffic stops were the “most common self-initiated incident that led to officer fatalities,” recommended that “an additional officer” be on hand “to provide cover and assistance” when performing traffic stops.

Or, in the alternative, unarmed civilians could do it instead! Justice didn’t think of that, because the report was before the George Floyd Freakout and its attendant “Great Stupid.” The LA brainstorm would eliminate both cop-involved shootings and cops being shot. Brilliant! Why didn’t anyone think of that before?

No fool he, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said, “If DOT [Los Angeles Department of Transportation] were to pick that work up, I think we’d welcome it.”

Sure they would.

Oooooh yeah, this is going to be something to see.


31 thoughts on “More Weird Tales From The Great Stupid: Oh Yeah, This Will Work Out Well…

  1. ” Naturally, black and Hispanic neighborhoods suffer the most from crime, which California is gradually addressing by making sure that all of California is a crime-infested Hell-hole.”

    Well, you know, it’s all about making things equitable, right?

    And the plan is brilliant! The rate of police officers being shot at traffic stops will go down because police officers won’t be making the stops. Then they can tout how effective the program is at saving officers’ lives.

    If they can ignore the increased numbers of civilian deaths from all those innocent traffic law breakers.

    I realize this isn’t really a funny story but I’m struggling to get the image of Gomer Pyle out of my mind, running after Barney, yelling, “Citizen’s Arrest! Citizen’s Arrest!”

    • Well AM, Mayberry WAS a creation of all those writers who lived and worked in LA! It’s about as much like a Southern town as Brooklyn, which is doubtless where all the writers grew up. (And I’d have to transcribe the line as delivered by Gomer as more along the lines of “Citizen’s a-RAY-est! Citizen’s a-RAY-est!” But thanks for bringing it up before I even thought of doing so.)

  2. A M Golden: “If they can ignore the increased numbers of civilian deaths from all those innocent traffic law breakers.”

    I think you’ve missed the point. They’ll be able to talk about increased gun violence and bring in more laws designed to disarm the law-abiding!

    • The safety patrol will get shot fairly regularly, but they won’t count as police deaths, so that will solve the problem of too many police deaths.

      • Yes, that was my point. But I had not considered that all those civilian safety patrol deaths will be used to boost the gun violence stats.

      • There is woke, and then outright insanity.

        These civilian patrols will be state employees working for the DOT. They will have as much motivation to put themselves in harms way as any other bureaucrat. They will have neither the protection of a gun, nor a sufficient distinction from actual law enforcement to protect them if they do manage to cause a death in exercise of their duties. All an offender will have to do is speed up faster when the civilian patrol turns on their lights, and the patrol officers will stand down to avoid putting themselves or others in danger.

        They will be just as vilified as the police, without even a badge to push them up the dissonance scale, while having all the perks of working for the civil service. This is a job designed to be demoralizing and unproductive. The only deaths that will increase are on on the unenforced roads. The program will likely be scrapped in a few years, with triumph, as a “defund the police” measure.

        California was ALWAYS against civilian law enforcement, as you will be instructed to remember.

        • Not to mention, the types of officious busybodies who routinely show up for citizen’s patrols of any sort. This is an HOA board’s dream ending, being able to bypass actually calling the police. Remember all those people who were concerned about how little training the police got?

          • I can only imagine what kind of penny-ante bureaucrats will be hired for this type of duty. If they don’t become more hated than tax collectors or actual cops, it will be a miracle.

        • No, it will just happen the way it always happens. There are a lot of people stating that we are living in anarcho-tyranny. Under anarcho-tyranny, the government allows all kinds of lawbreaking and violence from the criminal class, but cracks down on law-abiding taxpayers severely. Look at gun control. When was the last time a gun control measure was passed that was designed to be enforced on violent criminals? Bump stock bans, assault weapons bans, forced-reset trigger bans, arm brace bans are all designed to be enforced on law-abiding gun owners. There are middle-school kids in Chicago sharing videos of their full-auto Glocks. I haven’t seen a single arrest of anyone in Chicago with these Glock autosears. The ATF will certainly come after you if you convert a shoestring into a machinegun, however.

          In anarcho-tyranny, the criminals are a valuable part of the government. They provide the fear and chaos that keeps people from organizing against the government and keeps the sheeplike majority voting for more governmental power to ‘stop gun violence’ or whatever.

          The DOT workers will just be pulling over soccer moms and people dressed nicely in nice cars for garbage offenses.

          One note about the Glock auto-sears. These things require an SOT import license. They are post-1986 so they are police and military only. There are reportedly tens of thousands of these in Chicago alone right now. Where did they come from? They are useless for the military. These make the gun incredibly difficult to control, so I can’t imagine a police department in the US ordering them (they all get M4 machineguns for ~$500 on government contract). The only ‘legitimate’ use seems to be in European bodyguards where they need a lot of concealable firepower and they don’t have to care about ‘collateral damage’. Who ordered tens of thousands of these things and then dumped them on the street? There is a lot of paperwork for each one of these, it should be very easy for the government to find out who ordered them.

  3. I’m confused. The first pargraph lead me to think the article would be about a couple being beaten up for purchasing Bud Light. The rest of the article is about a proposal to have unarmed civilians do traffic stops rather than police. It’s as if two posts got combined, like chocolate and peanut butter in those old Reese’s commercials.

      • Yes, it does taste delicious. But I’m still confused why that headline goes with the article you describe. Is there a link?

        • Never mind. I found the article in the New York Post. You have, in fact, got chocolate in my peanut butter. Maybe Newsweek screwed up and put the wrong article with that headline, but the Post article does, in fact, talk about a couple being beaten up for allegedly buying Bud Light, and not about the newest stupid thing we’re doing here in California.

        • You’re not just trolling then? Wow. The device is called “an introduction.” I’m sure you have encountered it before. The post about the weirdness of the Great Stupid of late begins by noting, “It’s getting really, really weird out there.” Then it mentions the Newsweek headline, which is ridiculous on its face, though true, as an example. Then it moves to the topic of the post:”…but here is the story, which I could not believe when I first learned about it”:

          Etc. This is neither confusing nor unusual. If you don’t like that stylistic approach, swell. Everyone’s a critic. It is by no means confusing, however.

          • I see what you did, Jack, but to offer some helpful criticism:

            Your intent was perfect. Your effort, laudable. Your execution, suboptimal.

            I also found your introduction a bit discordant.

              • I’m just relieved I wasn’t the only one.

                Setting aside differences of opinion on style, I should have made the cognitive leap (small step, really) that the subject matter was so starkly different in the introduction vs. the body that you would have noticed had it happened in the original article, along with a million other Newsweek readers, (or 15, or however many people still read Newsweek.)

                That I didn’t make that connection is worrying. I was afraid I might have some cognitive disfunction like early onset dementia, or worse yet, led poisoning. (Sorry Jut. That was mandatory.) For now I’ll just attribute it to mild sleep deprivation, or perhaps an undigested bit of beef.

                • No, I was unfairly snarky to you, and I apologize. I really wanted to get that headline in someplace as a “Great Stupid” classic, and clearly was forcing a round peg in a square hole for effect.

                  • Thank you. Accepted and appreciated.

                    By the way, off topic, but while we’re apologizing I’ve been meaning to say for quite some time that you were right and I was wrong three years ago about masks. As you surmised then, they’re completely worthless unless you’re willing to wear a tight fitting N95, and even then it probably only slows things down. I’m sorry for getting it wrong, and more so for the delay in correcting my error.

  4. Now, back to our story….

    The underlying issue, although apparently unaddressed by this new program, is correcting people’s driving. If it has these civilian enforcers stopping the violators (or attempting same) to inform them of their error, how will it differ from police traffic stops? Other than maybe a different colored car. Will the drivers stop? If not, do they just let them keep driving, OR…. do the civilians request assistance from the police? I think most here can visualize how these ‘friendly enforcement advisories’ will turn south rather rapidly.

    Somewhat related, will LAPD have to increase staffing in its homicide and assault investigation units to address the fallout from the predictable attacks on these enforcers. Will the civilian enforcers be given the same legal authority and protection now enjoyed by police officers. That would require state law to be adjusted.

    Need we discuss selection and hiring criteria?

    This could best the “high-speed rail” project for institutionalized stupidity.

    • I suspect that traffic fine are going to plummet as a result of this new policy. While enforcing traffic laws is important to safe streets, there is a huge monetary incentive to collecting fines. There is not a quota system, ¿right?

      Do you really think 95% of the citizenry is going to stop some speeding driver (notwithstanding the desire not to be shot by the motorist and will the motorist even stop to talk the detainer?), administer a sobriety test, and then issue a ticket, a summons and a court for the driver to appear and show cause why he/she shouldn’t be held liable for exceeding the speed limit? Can you imagine the mess at traffic court when the driver comes in and challenges the citizen’s methodology to determine if the motorist was speeding?

      When fine go way down and the courts can’t sustain their budgets, the city will take another look at this and say, “yeah, that’s not a good plan – let’s rethink this, shall we?”


  5. There’s a lot to be unpacked on this topic. I have never found the term “pretextual stops” accurate for typical traffic stops, even when there is an enforcement emphasis on interdiction of illegal drugs or firearms. Officers are trained to be alert for signs of criminal activity and to investigate accordingly. When suspicion rises to the level of “reasonable suspicion,” officers are authorized (and expected) to detain people to determine whether or not there is criminal activity. If reasonable suspicion becomes confirmed to the point of “probable cause” to believe that a felony crime is being or has been committed, then arrest is authorized. In my state and every state with whose laws I am knowledgeable, the traffic code is separate from the criminal code (except for overlap in areas like vehicular assault, vehicular homicide and perhaps habitual drunk driving) and are instead considered a regulatory function.
    A legal traffic stop will begin when an officer witnesses a traffic violation and either initiates the stop or communicates with another officer who does so. If there is no actual traffic violation then there is no valid basis for a stop, making it a Fourth Amendment violation. If the traffic stop is factually valid, and the officer subsequently sees evidence of crime in plain view, or develops reasonable suspicion based on what he or she perceives with the five senses, the traffic stop can move into the territory of a “Terry stop,” justifying further inquiry, leading to a decision of whether or not there is probable cause for arrest. Officers are trained to always cite or charge the violator with the original violation that precipitated the traffic stop, whether or not the extended detention results in an arrest. (In the litigious world we live in, officers are growing less and less prone to issue mere verbal warnings for traffic violations, due to frequent subsequent claims that, “If I had actually broken the law, the officer would have written me a ticket!”
    This traffic stop process applies whether the violator is merely a bad or careless driver, a drug trafficker, gun runner, a burglar carrying a trunk load of stolen loot or a kindly-looking guy with a dead body in the back floorboard.
    It has always been my observation that criminals should assiduously obey the traffic laws if they wish to avoid detention and arrest while driving, but the majority are apparently unable to curb their scofflaw attitude even in the cause of career preservation. The vast majority of those with suspended driver’s licenses continue to drive – badly. People who know that they have outstanding criminal warrants continue to drive – poorly.
    The switch to traffic enforcement by by non-police personnel will have numerous consequences. Many more crimes and criminals will go on undetected. Many of these non-police traffic regulators will be killed. (Does anyone with an IQ above room temperature think a violent criminal who would take on an armed police officer would hesitate to kill an unarmed functionary who threatens his or her freedom?) I believe these people would eventually become too timid to be effective, and maybe that’s a feature rather than a bug. In the big picture, a major (I believe intended) effect will be adding to the increasing lawlessness of society and the growing fear among the citizenry, which will make them either more likely to embrace vigilantism, which would justify a “crackdown” of their desperate (primarily white supremacist, racist, of course) self-protection efforts, or reduce the citizenry to helplessness in order to impose eventual draconian efforts to restore “safety.” We all know Franklin’s admonitions about the tradeoff between liberty and safety.
    During the last decade-and-a-half of my career, I was assigned an unmarked vehicle which looked like -surprise!- an unmarked police car. Nevertheless it was sufficiently inconspicuous that people would routinely commit traffic infractions in my presence that I doubt they would have committed in close proximity to a marked police unit. My agency (and common sense) discouraged routine traffic enforcement in unmarked vehicles, so most of those violators I witnessed didn’t have the error of their ways pointed out to them, at least not at the time, by me. I used to joke that on many days, if I left my residence headed to the office and stopped every violator I saw, I would spend the whole day making traffic stops. This was only a slight exaggeration, and I know many others whose experience mirrors mine. I never worked for an agency that had a “ticket quota.” Violators would often ask about a quota and I would respond with, “No, they let us write as many as we want.” There is never any shortage of traffic violators, especially since seat belt laws and cell phone usage laws have taken effect. These days, in my retirement, I don’t drive nearly so much, and during my four or five weekly trips to town and back in my old truck, I see many people treating the traffic laws, especially the cell phone prohibitions, speed limits and no passing zones, as mere suggestions. This is on curvy two-lane county roads with no shoulder, blind hills and hidden driveways, and lots of farm equipment on the roads except in the winter, not the interstate or even a state highway. I drive at the speed limit on my road (45) and seldom make the ten-mile trip to town without being passed at least once (frequently in a no passing zone) by people driving 65 or more (I’m not exaggerating, being well-trained in speed estimation), often while using their phones. It is Russian roulette with a vehicle and, occasionally, the hammer lands on the live round. And I know that our sheriffs office and the Highway Patrol make a lot of traffic stops and write many tickets. I can’t imagine what the roads would be like if traffic enforcement took a significant dive.
    “Pretextual stops” where a particular vehicle or driver is targeted for enforcement action and closely observed for a violation that would authorize a stop, are in the main practiced by a few specialized interdiction and apprehension units, not the typical officer on patrol or regular traffic enforcement duty. There still must be an actual traffic violation, and that violation can’t be “blamed” on the police.

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