When your local government decides to take the Big Brother route to traffic ticketing, it should we well within our rights to attempt to foil the greedy politicians.
In Oregon, however, one man is learning the hard way that his corrupt local government will do whatever it takes to keep their illicit traffic ticket cash flowing.
In America, few things are as universally despised as traffic tickets. It’s an experience that no one likes having, yet, we are all far too familiar with the feeling; a single, minor mistake leads to an embracing interaction with a police officer in which the outcome can go one of two ways only. Now, with the advent of Big Brother-inspired traffic technology, more and more Americans are returning home from their commutes only to find out, weeks later, that they had broken some traffic law and are now being faced with a fine or a court date.
These traffic cameras, while concerning to motorists and privacy advocates alike, have been an enormous revenue stream for local municipalities who are looking to pad their war chests with caught-you cash. Better yet, it allows these small government money-mongers to create costly, enforceable citations without requiring a flesh and blood police officer to be paid. It’s a win-win for corrupt governments everywhere that don’t mind trampling all over the 4th Amendment.
Now, as one citizen in Oregon has mathematically beaten the traffic cameras, his local government has decided to fine him anyway.
“After his wife received a ticket for tripping a red-light camera, Oregon resident Mats Järlström openly criticized the Orwellian devices and the mathematical formulas used to time traffic lights. It seems Big Brother doesn’t take too kindly to dissenters, as according to the Institute for Justice Järlström was fined $500 for violating a law that prohibits him from offering mathematical criticism without a license.
“The Institute for Justice says the actual fine from the state engineering board was for Järlström calling himself an engineer. The thing is, Järlström does have a degree in electrical engineering and has worked in engineering jobs, but the problem is he doesn’t carry a state license as a Professional Engineer. In Oregon’s eyes, even his use of the word ‘engineer,’ lowercase, is appropriating a title, and he’s not a real engineer.
“Järlström’s initial issue was that the green-yellow-red progression was too short for lights with a left or right turn. Using his engineering expertise, he researched the matter and began to criticize the math equation that governs this timing. In his view, he was doing research for free as a concerned citizen, with his background aiding the effort and lending credence to his findings.
“But the board construed this as ‘practicing engineering without being registered,’ saying he had no standing to do the work or publish or present his data.”
This example of governmental abuse is an all too necessary reminder that we are truly at the whim of our elected leaders.
By challenging the traffic lights’ efficiency, Järlström was merely doing his due diligence as a citizen, keeping the powers that be honest in their use of these problematic devices. To be fined in such a petty, childish retaliation is a clear indicator of the maturity of the elected officials of Oregon.