as i thought i learned when i fought the law, that we are all equal in the eyes and letter of the law. some events today made me quickly realize my naivity.
let’s start with my commute. i live pretty far away from our office here in phoenix…and this morning my commute in was 1 hour, 23 minutes. now i realize in some areas this is nothing, but in phoenix, i’m going to go ahead and call that a long time. during my commute, there is a carpool/hov lane the whole way in (must have 2 people in the car to use from 6–9 AM, 3–7PM). i can tell you that throughout the times i’ve been making this commute, that carpool lane is empty relative to the other three lanes on the freeway — don’t get me started on the whole friggin carpool lane thing…it’s worthless (not that i’m against the environment, clean air, etc. — but let’s be real, we’d all be happier if we could use that lane).
okay, the carpool lane is what caught my eye this morning…as a police car (not a highway dps vehicle, but a normal city of phoenix vehicle) was in the carpool lane (only one officer in the car) and during the areas of tempe, az (not phoenix). he was not speeding. he was not passing cars. there were no accidents. there were no emergency lights on his vehicle. you get my point — he wasn’t involved in any seemingly emergency that would normally cause emergency vehicles to use that lane. he knew that he wouldn’t get pulled over. so where do we draw the line on something so minor? should *any* law enforcement be able to do this? i’m sure he had places to be, but so did i. now, my educational background is law and most of my friends are in law enforcement. they enjoy telling me stories of how they get pulled over frequently for speeding, show their badge and move on. is that right? why are law enforcement officials above the law even in the most minor incidents?
this is a minor infraction, i agree, and mostly an annoyance. but still a violation of the law nonetheless…after all, i was taking a shortcut and was cited…why shouldn’t a law enforcement official (on or off duty), not involved in any police situation, be allowed a free pass?
okay, now on to something more serious. imagine you were hunting with friends and an accident occurred. you go to the hospital and tell them your friend was shot. don’t you think that law enforcement would immediately be called (regardless of the story you tell) just to investigate/report? i guarantee it (at least in the US). it’s the law to report these things.
as equal is the importance of health officials to report potential child abuse. if a child (again, in the US) comes into an emergency center badly bruised, etc. it is likely that someone will be called in to ensure no parental neglect/abuse is taking place. while uncomfortable, it might be the right thing to do.
so, here’s my point (and i’m sure you’ve heard it recently). our vice president, dick cheney, had such a hunting accident recently. reading in the news today, we found that cheney was cited (with a warning—along with his buddies) for a permit violation. i’m glad he was cited — it appears a new law went into effect but not many people knew about it, hence the warning. but on to the disturbing part:
Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said that about an hour after Cheney shot Whittington, the head of the Secret Service’s local office called the Kenedy County sheriff to report the accident. “They made arrangements at the sheriff’s request to have deputies come out and interview the vice president the following morning at 8 a.m. and that indeed did happen,” Zahren said.
to me, this is unacceptable. why didn’t the hospital staff report it? if it was an accident, why such the hush? also, interviewed THE NEXT MORNING?!?!?!?! i think only oj simpson and dick cheney have been afforded this privilage of deciding when they can be questioned in accidents.
i’m sure it was an accident, i have no doubt. i love conspiracies, but i don’t think this is one. i just don’t get why there is such preferential treatment. i loved how one reported said it in a news conference:
"Let's just be clear here," Gregory said. "The vice president of the United States accidentally shoots a man, and he feels that it's appropriate for a ranch owner who witnessed this to tell the local Corpus Christi newspaper and not the White House press corps at large or notify the public in a national way?"
anyhow, it pissed me off. again, if anyone else in the common world had this happen, we wouldn’t be able to wait to be questioned on our own time, regardless of if it was an accident.