Racism AND Revenue?

Written by Gregory Monte.

NOTE: The second and third installments of How I Beat a Ridiculous Stop Sign Ticket will be posted this Wednesday and Thursday.

Over the past several months I have pointed out that Pennsylvania State Police Troop B is way more likely to issue speeding tickets than any other Troop in the state. 

You can read the details by clicking on those links, but the bottom line is that Troop B usually issues about 4x as many tickets as any other.

But while some Pennsylvania residents might have to worry about receiving a speeding ticket in certain areas of the state, minority residents in certain parts of Missouri have an even greater concern.  In a New York Times article, Stopped, Ticketed, Fined: The Pitfalls of Driving While Black in Ferguson, apparently black motorists are being targeted:

“They avoid main roads. They maintain good posture. Sometimes they choose not to drive at all.  For years, some black drivers in the St. Louis area have taken those precautions to avoid getting pulled over by the police. And yet it has not seemed to prevent them from getting stopped, ticketed and fined at higher rates than people of other races.”

That is bad enough, but what also caught my eye was the fact that the local government wasn’t necessarily issuing tickets for reasons of public safety (as my Traffic Ticket Nazi detractors tend to claim).  Instead they use them to raise “revenue.”

“People were outraged to learn that municipalities throughout St. Louis County had been issuing traffic tickets to finance city services…”

Don’t you just love how the government uses the term “revenue” to refer to money that it takes from people without their consent?  Two classic examples:

  • Taxes
  • Traffic Fines

Whereas a real business earns revenue/profit by producing a product that consumers voluntarily purchase, government uses force when it conducts its affairs.  This is why I often put the word “revenue” in quotes in this context.

Wouldn’t you also be pissed off if you found out that your local town was, essentially, extorting money from local citizens (through traffic tickets) in order to provide services? 

I know I would.

And I thought the Pennsylvania State Police were a problem …

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