We live in a small town. A very small town. Well, there are smaller towns, but by comparison to the city of 60,000 where I grew up, this is an itty bitty town. So, of course we get the small town newspaper and the headline in last Thursday’s paper really caught my eye. It said “Police dept. is tough on speeders.” They actually abbreviated department with dept (no period) but that’s not the point of this blog. And, for those of you who are journaling majors, I must point out that this news was in the upper right quarter of the front page. It may have changed, but when I was in college I was taught that the upper right quarter of the newspaper was reserved for THE most important story.
The fact that this story rates as THE most important story of the week for our small town isn’t even what makes it funny (though you must admit, it adds to it.) What makes this story funny is the actual number of speeding tickets issued in 2007 by the police department in our little town of approximately 4000 people. FOR THE WHOLE YEAR there were 430 tickets issued. That is just over ONE ticket per day. How could that possibly be construed as “tough on speeders?” Is it possible that there is only ONE person per day who gets going a little too fast? Half of the tickets, the article states, were given on the highway that runs through our town so one could surmise that at least half of the people receiving tickets from our police department don’t even live here.
Now there are two reasons not to speed in our little town. The first one has for me always been the fact that your name is published in the newspaper police report when you receive a speeding ticket (or any ticket for that matter.) The public embarrassment alone is enough to slow you down. And knowing what I now know, I just can’t risk being the ONLY one to receive a ticket on any given day. That would just stink.