Montreal, November 10, 2001  /  No 92  
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Scott Carpenter is a freelance writer who lives, works and plays in Dawson Creek, BC.
by Scott Carpenter
          In remote regions of the country it used to be that if one needed a police officer or government agent of one sort or another you had to go looking for one. But the modern state is here to serve. Indeed, where else would you expect to find the RCMP and friends but parked at the entrance of forest service and back country roads – cesspools of crime and debauchery that they are.
          "Excuse me Mr. Carpenter," said the constable ever so politely, "but you were going a bit fast around that last bend." 
          "I know officer, those damn moose move so quickly and I figured if I got him in the middle of the road it would be less work getting him into the back of the truck." I grinned and handed him my driver's license. Constable Steele looked less than impressed. 
          "Mr. Carpenter can I see a license for those firearms please... and open the action too." Steele pointed at the hunting rifles sitting next to me. I'm a good little sheep so I handed him my Possession and Acquisition license to prove that I was as concerned as he was about the safety of the Canadian people. 
          "Please open your action," repeated constable Steele. 
          I clicked back the bolt of my Ruger to prove it was empty – apparently once a firearm enters a vehicle it becomes quite mindless and must be separated from its ammunition. 
          I smiled and said: "See officer..." 
          Steele grunted and retreated to his car to check me out on his computer. I wondered what it had to say about me. Arms dealer and political dissident perhaps? Maybe worse these days given our war on terrorism and so forth. Ah yes, one minute a patriot, the next an enemy of the state.... 
          I'm getting carried away when my father quips from the back seat of the extended cab 4X4: "This is pretty cheap. You were going down a huge hill in the middle of nowhere. He can't seriously be thinking about giving you a ticket." My father is a good guy, just not real hip with the whole 'culture of safety' concept. He mutters a lot about things like 'responsibility' and 'accountability' – whatever that means. 
          "Here you are Mr. Carpenter," says Steele after about five minutes in his cruiser, "I'm giving you the minimum fine under the law. One hundred fifteen dollars." 
          "That's pretty cheap of you, he was going down a hill for Christ's sake," says my father from the back. I always wondered where I got my attitude from, now I know. 
          "That's very generous of you officer," I replied. "I was just curious though.... who did I injure that I must pay a fine to compensate for damages?" 
          Steele stood there stunned. He didn't say anything. 
     « Steele grunted and retreated to his car to check me out on his computer. I wondered what it had to say about me. Arms dealer and political dissident perhaps? Maybe worse these days given our war on terrorism and so forth. »
          "Officer did you know that the last ticket I received was given to me by an officer I passed on a four lane highway? When she pulled me over she stated (and I quote) "I was doing 95 in a 90 zone and you went by me, that's too fast." 
          Steele said nothing except: "This has nothing to do with me sir." 
          "On the contrary officer," I replied, "it has everything to do with you and this incident as a matter of principle. Aside from the fact that there is obviously two sets of rules, one for you and one for us, did you know that everything you've either checked me for or charged me with today lacks something which is very important under the law as it was once intended?" 
          "What's that?" replied Steele. 
          "A victim," I said. 
          "Please sign the ticket sir." 
          "Nope. Meaning no. I won't sign your ticket. I know it means nothing in a court of law but as a matter of principle, I won't sign it. You've done nothing today but a) enforce a tyrannical law and b) take food from my child's mouth in the form of $115.00, all for the heinous crime of not obeying the posted speed limit here in the middle of nowhere. So as long as you continue to enforce these ridiculous rules at the point of your gun and for as long as you and your colleagues continue to act as legislators, judges and tax collectors, I will refuse to what extent I can to cooperate with you."  
          "Here's your ticket sir."  
          He tossed the piece of paper into the cab of my truck and went back to his cruiser. 
          I waited. 
          "What are you waiting for?" asked my dad. 
          "One second." I was looking in my rearview mirror. 
          The good constable did a U-turn and sped off in the other direction... all without signaling – which to my knowledge is a violation of the motor vehicle or some such act... at least that's what we were taught in driver's ed. 
          Well. I don't know about you but I feel much safer now that the state has come to my local wilderness. At long last we in the rural north will finally be protected from the most dangerous and sinister of all creatures: ourselves. 
          All hail the mega-state. Eh. 
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