Cops love me, I tell ya. We have a special relationship.
Cops and me have met on official business while on the road.
Three times between 2008 and 2010.
But I have not seen the inside of a police car, paddy wagon or jail.
Don’t you wonder why? I had three chances to do so in two years.
During the first two-plus years after customizing my car, I was lit up by CHP, police and sheriff black and whites.
Just once for each law enforcement branch to be modest.
The first time was on my way back from a Ford Mustang car show in San Diego. Heading north back to LA and after passing Camp Pendleton – home of the US Marines’ famed 1st Division – I noticed a CHP motorbike merging onto the freeway in my rear view mirror
I am very good at spotting CHP, you know. Especially since the CHP – for some silly reason – is attracted by bright orange¹ Mustangs without mufflers.
Traffic was heavy heading away from historic Camp Pendleton being a Saturday evening; the entire 1st Division must have just been issued liberty. I was pretty much boxed in on the highway. Going with the flow, you know. There were SUVs and passenger cars all around me, most with tinted windows which are illegal here in California. I remember one SUV with limo tint.
But sure enough, before Las Pulgas Road and the border check point, the motorcycle cop lit me up. Hmmm. I wonder why? Could it be because my car is orange with racing stripes? Nah.
So I pulled over, rolled down my tinted windows, put my left arm and hand out my driver’s side window, with my right hand on the top of the steering wheel. Common sense given the car.
The CHP officer carefully walked up to my passenger window and peered in. He walked to the front then came back. “You were speeding back there, have tinted windows and no front license plate. Driver’s license, registration and insurance, please.”
Speeding? No problem. I wasn’t going to bicker with him about the speeding since we were all going at XX mph. I told him I need to get into my console to which he nodded his head. He looked at my driver’s license. He pulled down his sun glasses. I could see he was MUCH younger than I. He then looked up from my license, stared at me, then stared back at my license. He looked into my back seat area, hoping to see if anyone else was back there like a 16 year old son. “Is this YOUR car, sir?”
I yelled over the traffic noise, “Yes, sir… and I bet I’ve been driving longer than you’ve been alive.” He smiled.
He walked back to his bike and I’m sure he checked for wants and warrants. No big deal. I would want him to do that on every stop. I want to protect my kids, you know.
He came back and handed me a “fix it” ticket while saying, “I’m letting you off on the speeding but you have 60 days to get these violations fixed.” I now had to officially get my window tint removed and front license plate installed on my then show-quality car, then have an officer sign it off.
“Ok, sir. Thank you… but you never answered my question if I’ve been driving longer than you’ve been alive.”
He grinned, patted my passenger door’s window sill and said, “Have a good day, sir,” while smiling and walked back to his bike.²
Gee. I didn’t get tackled to the ground, handcuffed or guns drawn on me. I wonder why? Instead, he just smiled.
And I am glad he didn’t ask me to pop the hood… That’s a whole different type of fix it ticket under there. It would have been a gold mine for the CHP money bucket.
Another time was at lunch. I can’t exactly say for sure but perhaps I was speeding just a teensy-weensy bit. Anyways, a Fullerton PD black and white lit me up.
Same routine. Pulled over, rolled down my tinted windows and put my hands where he could see them. He did say he had seen the car driving around before and that he was going to let me go on the window tint, the missing plate and a VERY loud car…this time. But I do think he recognized the “Voss Performance” stickers all over my car. Voss knows a lot of cops around there, thankfully.
The other time, the same routine and results, thankfully. I think the LA County Sheriff felt sorry this nice car was being driven by a decrepit old man in a higher crime area.
But each time, I did not make mainstream mis-media. You know, CNN and the like.
I followed the officer’s orders. Plain and simple.
Nobody came out to say I was being discriminated against because I got picked out of a dozen cars going the same speed, some with a LOT darker tint than mine. What if I were of a different race and I went after the cop? Is it because the cop is a racist?
And please don’t say it was just a traffic stop. It’s the same if a cop approached me on a street corner. I interacted with a cop.
But one thought I do have. Slavery was abolished more than 150 years ago. There’s nobody alive today from that time – well, at least not since George Burns passed away. Yet, they still speak to it in volumes in our children’s US history books. But don’t you find it curious they pretty much overlook WWII which was only 70 years ago?
And if any one “race” has a reason to scream discrimination, it would be my father’s generation about 75 years ago. People of Japanese descent in the “West Coast Exclusion Zone” had all their citizenship and rights stripped away and worldly possessions taken. I don’t recall any other “race” en masse having their citizenship taken away by the stroke of a President’s pen and put behind barbed wire.
I do feel one thing. All this poppy-cock about it being solely the cops that caused the riots in Ferguson, Baltimore and unrest in Philadelphia. It was WRONG for anyone to have NOT complied with the officer’s orders in the first place. Simple as that. Why resist arrest or fight a cop?
If someone doesn’t have drugs, weapons or outstanding warrants on their person, complying would be the end of it… like with me. The only crime I committed was being old. Well, I guess the tint, no license plate, no mufflers and supposed speeding, too.
Why isn’t attention being focused on why these so called race incidents occurred in the first place? Some jerk did not comply with an officer’s orders. Plain and simple.
Has NOT complying become accepted as an appropriate behavior for thugs when stopped by law enforcement officers… and then for it to be pretty much overlooked if something happens just because of their race? That a cop can be assaulted and to say afterwards its part of their job to be a glutton for punishment and not have the right to protect himself/herself? If they fight a cop, what would they do to YOU?
No, I am not condoning someone dying for whatever reason. But we have to stop overlooking the perpetrators themselves and then using their upbringing as the excuse for their behavior… and make them – and their parents – be accountable for their own actions. We need to stop giving them hall passes in every way, shape and form. In essence, we have to stop making ANY race feel special just because of their race. I blame the DOJ, too, for not placing any blame on the “victims”.
If we don’t, this spiral will never end.
1. It is orange. Not yellow!
2. By the way, there are no more “fix it” tickets here in California. You are cited for tint, no plates or whatever else with no chance to appeal. Each type of infraction, I believe, is about $160.