For some reason, this story struck me and it became even better when I found out it was from Maryland. Thanks to my “Friday news” update from the Patriot Post, this story comes from The Sentinel newspapers and writer Joe Slaninka, and opens thusly:
As a prank, students from local high schools have been taking advantage of the county’s Speed Camera Program in order to exact revenge on people who they believe have wronged them in the past, including other students and even teachers.
Students from Richard Montgomery High School dubbed the prank the Speed Camera “Pimping” game, according to a parent of a student enrolled at one of the high schools.
Originating from Wootton High School, the parent said, students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that “mimic” those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.
Students are even obtaining vehicles from their friends that are similar or identical to the make and model of the car owned by the targeted victim, according to the parent.
I tell you, knowing that the schools in question are in Montgomery County, we’re all safe in knowing that the government bureaucrats and lobbyists of the future are being educated in a proper manner. Look at it this way – they’re already using deceit and trickery along with the force of government in place to get revenge on and financially hurt their enemies. It’s perfect training for future big-government Democrats.
Like most governmental entities which have adopted speed cameras, the idea was sold to the public as a means to contribute to safety on the roadways. Rather than enacting an unpopular tax increase on the masses, Montgomery County opted instead to raise revenue via a somewhat different kind of sin tax – scofflaws are assessed a $40 fine for speeding if their car is caught on camera doing so. Never mind that motorists caught don’t have the points added to their driving record because no law enforcement officer witnessed the violation.
Furthermore, the teenagers who are turning the system on its head endanger other drivers on the road by driving recklessly enough to trigger the speed camera.
It seems to me that the parent who alerted the authorities about the program is a skeptic though:
“I hope the public at large will complain loudly enough that local Montgomery County government officials will change their policy of using these cameras for monetary gain,” the parent said. “The practice of sending speeding tickets to faceless recipients without any type of verification is unwarranted and an exploitation of our rights.”
You mean to tell me there’s a Republican in Montgomery County? The nameless parent is exactly right.
Naturally, the county government was worried about the “integrity” of the program, but I’m worried that this craze will spread. No, not the craze of teenagers getting back at those they dislike by altering their license plates and racing through speed cameras – the cops will crack down on that soon enough – but the craze of speed cameras as a means to extort revenue from motorists.
Remember, this is the same county that subsidizes “green” electricity by making it only 1.5 to 3.5 cents per kWh more expensive than “brown” power through its Clean Energy Rewards program. I can just see these teenagers in 20 years putting their “talents” to work figuring out new and more devious ways to extract the contents of unsuspecting county citizens’ wallets.
Who said crime doesn’t pay? You just have to be in a position to collect.