Friday, October 15, 2010

Zero Tolerance

I had a friend visiting from Pittsburgh this week and wanted to show him a good time in Sunny Arizona. Over breakfast one day he picked up the newspaper and said, “What’s up with this beheading in your town?”

I glanced at the article; the names of those involved jumped out at me: Moroyoqui, Aguilar, Reyes, "El Joto". The phrase “undocumented immigrant” was front and center, and the crime had occurred just miles from my house. “Uhhh…that’s a fluke,” I said. I didn’t tell my friend that I had recently clipped out another local news article reporting on a fatal shooting in “self-defense”. A police officer in that article had said, “People in Arizona carry guns. You better be careful about who you are picking on.” The two men who got killed had been stealing beer at a keg party; the shooter will not be going to jail.

To get our minds off the beheading, I suggested we go for massages. On the way, my guest asked about a police photo radar van he saw parked on the side of the road. “We have a lot of those,” I said. “Last year some driver went crazy on one of those speed enforcement guys and shot him to death. Guess he couldn’t take being watched anymore.” We nodded in understanding. We drove through a few more intersections very carefully, our picture being snapped by more photo radars, and watched our speed monitored by several large flashing signs on the side of the road.

After the massages, we came home and had a glass of wine. My friend wanted to head out for dinner, and I said we couldn’t. “You can’t drink and drive in this state. It’s zero-tolerance. If you have any alcohol in your system and get caught with a taillight out, you’re going to jail.” I know someone who was recently stopped for speeding and the officer asked her if she’d had a drink in the last 24 hours. I found that nosy at best.

I can’t speak for everybody who lives in Arizona, but personally, I find all the flashing radars and neon speed signs maddening. I hate being stopped by teams of drug agents and German shepherds who search my car on the way to San Diego. I don’t carry a handgun and I don’t think anybody else should either. If somebody wants to steal your beer at a keg party, let it go. As for that beheading, well…in this state, you have to be careful who you’re picking on, right? That guy must have been really super irritating.

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  1. Maybe if you peroxided your hair you wouldn't have to worry about getting stopped and searched on your way to San Diego.

    What to you think?

  2. Scary Kate. We have too many speed cameras here but rarely get stopped. When I used to drive round in the early hours I did get stopped a couple of times.