The comments to the recent post about my run-in with the law have reminded me of a theory I've been snuggling up to for some years now, viz, cars have made us all criminals.
I've never had a cop walk a beat up my street and a good percentage of my dealings with police--the majority, probably, if you leave out my work as a journalist--have been automobile-related. And, as it is impossible to drive 100% legally, those dealings put me in a positions of perpitude.
When attending traffic school in Provo once, the cop teaching the class said that if he wants to pull me over for any reason, it's no problem. If he follows me long enough, I'll do something wrong. Me, I'm pretty good at using my blinkers, but three full seconds before I switch lanes? Every time? Not likely.
Traffic laws are many enough that simply driving becomes an illegal activity. And due to the (necessary) focus of the law on traffic issues, this means that my normal attitude towards the law is please-don't-see-me and I-hope-I-don't-get-caught.
I wasn't alive before cars had conquered America, so I don't know, but I rather believe that before we were all behind the wheel, we liked cops. Now I think our instinct is fear--or at least nervousness.
I know as a kid I loved cops. Now they make me nervous. I used to wave at every policeman we passed. Now I'm afraid it might make me look suspicious.
What a shame.