Upon visiting the Drudge Report today, I was shocked and appalled to read this headline: “Man Ticketed For Directing Traffic At Backed Up Intersection During Outage.” Without even knowing where this absurd story took place, I had a sneaking suspicion it was in California. Sure enough, it occurred in Pasadena this last week. Apparently the traffic light at a major intersection malfunctioned and traffic was backed up for more than a mile, with drivers waiting 30 minutes to get through. So local citizen Alan Ehrlich jumped into action and began directing traffic. According to an eyewitness, within 10 minutes, he had cleared up the traffic jam.
This seems like the responsible thing for a citizen to do. See a problem in your community and take action to resolve it, right? Well, in Commie-fornia, responsible citizens cannot be tolerated and when police arrived, they TICKETED Ehrlich.
As the news article points out, “Police responded to the scene and told Ehrlich to stop and issued him a ticket, but never stepped into direct traffic themselves.” So a responsible citizen was willing to risk his own safety to assist fellow drivers without compensation, but the police who are compensated for protecting the public wouldn’t direct traffic? Maybe it was just the fact Ehrlich wasn’t a union member that irked the officers. We’ve all heard horror stories of unions preventing local citizens from doing something to help their community–like boy scouts from picking up garbage–just because it would violate union contracts with the city.
From the news article: “South Pasadena Police Chief Joe Payne said he did not have the man power needed to staff officers at Fair Oaks and Huntington Thursday and that is safer to allow traffic to back up.” Really? If you don’t have the man power, then why not let average citizens help out?
Has California really fallen so far, and have our freedoms been so stripped, that we can’t even step in to assist our community during emergencies for fear of lawsuits, tickets, or imprisonment? Has the nanny state progressed to such a degree that we must, like sheep, wait and rely upon government to act? This type of a story may be minor in the big scheme of things, but it is a microcosm of the bureaucratic red tape inherit in California’s nanny state. Politicians and government employees continually treat citizens like helpless children. The pioneers who trekked across this nation to settle California would be shocked at how impotent government has made us. Forget the Wild West–we’ve become the Mild West. That bear on the California flag should now be a sheep.
At least Ehrlich seems to have a good attitude about the whole situation: “I don’t know if this ticket is $50 or $400 dollars. It’s a small price to pay for the greater good.” The City of Pasadena should drop Ehrlich’s ticket fine. And they should apologize to him for punishing his desire to simply assist his fellow citizens in getting home to see their families a little faster.