I awoke this morning to someone pounding on the front door. As I was trying to wrangle the barking dogs, I heard from the other side, “Police. Open the door.” I do as instructed, while my wife handles the dogs.
“Who wants to pay the $124 fine?” says the officer.
Being that I am only half awake, I give him a very confused look.
He raises his voice and changes his tone saying, “In (my city) it is illegal to leave an unattended car running. We have already had nine cars reported stolen today. How long have I been sitting out here?”
Again, I give a confused look.
“I have been out here two minutes.” He is pretty much shouting at this point. “Now is that enough time for a thirteen year old thug to smash the window and drive off? You do it again, and I will fine you.”
With that, he turns right around and bounds down the walkway. I look at my wife, again with the confused look. She says that she started her car to leave for work, and realized that she forgot her lunch. She came back in to grab it and in that amount of time, he was knocking on the door.
Now, I am lucky that I was awake enough to keep my mouth shut or this asshole cop would have got a lot of smart ass. A $124 fine would have been the least of my trouble. I really don’t understand why I got the attitude. I guess he just hates life. I thought of filing a complaint against him for a second but quickly realized that I don’t want to be on that list.
As the day went on, I kept wondering to myself, “Why is it illegal to leave a running car unattended?” I understand that it is careless and inadvisable behavior. But illegal? Some would argue that it entices thieves. So does wearing a Rolex watch. Or pulling out a wad of cash in public. Or leaving your blinds open so your big screen TV is visible from the street. Or announcing on Facebook that you are going on vacation. Shouldn’t these be crimes as well?
It got me thinking that this is a law to control your behavior so that real crimes don’t occur. How many more of these laws exist? And should they?