Thursday, October 10, 2013

Monkey Man

A couple years or so ago Arizona came up with a new bright idea.  They installed speed radar vans that could be placed on different streets to catch and ticket speeders.  A car would speed by one of these (marked) vans and it would snap a picture of the driver and the license plate of the vehicle.  They would then look to see who the registered owner of the vehicle was and look at that person's driver license photo.  If they felt it matched the photo they took they would mail you a speeding ticket. If it didn't match sometimes they would mail you a different kind of ticket anyway to see if you would rat out whoever was using your car.  However, you were under no legal obligation to do so.  The vans, the photography, the looking at your personal records was all done by an outside company, not the police.

Up in Phoenix the outside company went to the police because they had dozens of speeding tickets from the same car, multiple ones on the same day even, yet they couldn't deliver the tickets.  That is because they could not match the photo of the driver with the registered owner of the car.  That's because the guy driving the car was wearing a monkey mask.

Apparently old Monkey Man had a beef with radar vans snapping photos of speeders and made it a personal vendetta to waste their time.  He blasted by their vans in his monkey mask every chance he got.  The radar vans locations must be publicized in advance so he knew where they would be and when.  He amassed a huge pile of undeliverable speeding tickets.

The police set up a stake out at the address the car was registered to.  They watched it for weeks to see who had access to the car and who drove it.  They then followed the man who drove it around to see where he would go and what he would do.  Yet despite their efforts they never caught him donning a monkey mask and speeding past the radar vans.  So the police took their story to the media.
If the police were looking for a response of outrage, they got it.

However, the outrage they got wasn't, "string Monkey Man to the gallows!"  It was, "You did what with our tax dollars?"  The backlash from the public was intense and it was mean.  People were mad that the police wasted their time and resources to stake out an alleged speeder.  That a private citizen was tailed to see if he'd speed was a call for arms.  People with clout bashed the police.  The story went wide and even people in sleepy Tucson were outraged.  We called for the resignation of whoever authorized this.  We called for an investigation.  Prominent law firms put out ads asking Monkey Man to call them to discuss his pending police harassment case.

Monkey Man copycats came out in force.  A whole cast of characters was caught speeding by photo radar.  Other monkeys, princesses, clowns, Elvis, Mickey Mouse and even Richard Nixon were caught disobeying the posted speed limit both in Tucson and in Phoenix.  An amazing amount of these speeders were giving a one-fingered salute.

Usually I'm embarrassed to admit I live in Arizona, but at a time like that--I was so proud.

The Fine Print: I personally wanted a Janet Napolitano mask to speed in since she's the governor who authorized this, but alas it never was to be.  Card from the Club Scrap Wisteria kit, not made recently but if I showed you what I made recently there would be no photos.  There would, however, still be photo radar.

1 comment:

Lunch Lady Jan said...

Oh, I adore this story! Thank you so much for telling it :-). I love it when citizens 'Stick it to the Man'!! What a great, outpouring of public support..I'd have worn a mask if I was there too!
Hugs, LLJ xx