They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

Self-Reporting Crime

I made a mistake today. I broke the law. It was one of those dumb things you do every couple of years. I came to a stop at the red light at 68th Avenue and Warner, and then, without thinking about it and seeing the road was clear, made a left turn on red. Now, usually I'm turning right, so a right turn red is possible and I do it all the time. But that's no excuse.

When I was in driver's ed, the first time I was behind the wheel, I approached a traffic light and executed a perfect stop. This after the previous student had blown through a light. Only one problem -- I stopped at a green light. Another time they put up a new stop sign on Sheldon in Houghton up near the new high school. Big signs and blinkers saying New Stop Sign. I noticed the stop signs... And still found myself driving straight through as I had for years. Automatics versus controlled.

We've seen people sitting at stop signs waiting for them to change...

So I felt bad. But... No one writes a check to the county and says, my bad, here's my fine. If a tree falls and no one is around, does it make a noise?

We don't self-report our mistakes. I'd like to think that if caught we'd admit our faults, but even then, we end up trying to make excuses. It's human nature.

This got me thinking.

Now... consider the following. Businesses complain all the time about overregulation. What they would prefer is self-regulation and self-reporting of violations. Consider how often that government penalties are paltry compared to big corporate revenues -- and they complain and try to get out or fail to pay those -- how well do you think this works?

Are corporations really people? Do people have the same rights as corporations?

Self-reporting doesn't work in general. It's why we have laws and regulations, and people to investigate and enforce.

Think about that the next time you blow through a stop sign.

Dr. Phil
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