Rick Wamre: I’ve decided stop signs are optional

I’m going rogue, and it’s none of your business … right?

I’m thinking about making my interaction with stop lights optional. Same with stop signs.

If it fits my schedule, and if I have a little extra time on my hands, I’ll stop. But if I have other things to do, or if I’m in a hurry, or if I just don’t feel like stopping is the right thing to do for me, I won’t.

I’ve been pondering this move for awhile. It has always been an annoying time-suck for me to be stopped randomly when I’m running late for lunch. But I knew it was the right call after reading an online neighborhood brawl over a pickup truck parked in a handicapped space outside a Starbucks.

Apparently, the truck’s driver decided that, despite not having a handicapped sticker or license plate, using the space for a short period of time would be fine.

A well-meaning neighbor, noticing the infraction, posted a picture of the truck on Facebook. Then another neighbor went even further: He did a little research and identified the truck owner’s name and business, suggesting online that anyone willing to park illegally in a handicapped space wasn’t worth being patronized.

I wasn’t offended by any of this. The truck driver was clearly wrong, and the neighbor was just making the digital equivalent of a citizen’s arrest by calling attention to a crime.

But an awful lot of people in this forum felt otherwise. Some piled on the neighbors for “cowardly” publicizing the infraction online as opposed to walking up to the truck’s owner in person and calling him out.

Others were offended by outing the guy’s business — why, they grumbled, should his employees and family be deprived of income just because the guy parked in the wrong parking spot?

It was pretty entertaining reading, in a train-wreck-is-beautiful kind of way, and it made me realize something: A lot of us don’t believe the law needs to be interpreted literally.

Illegally parking in a handicapped space isn’t the right thing to do, but apparently shaming someone for violating that law isn’t right, either.

There’s a lot of that type of thinking going on these days. We’re using religion, in some cases, and personal values, in others, to justify doing what we think is right as opposed to following the rule of law. We’re kind of conscientiously objecting to laws we don’t believe are right and, therefore, shouldn’t apply to us.

All of which brings me back to my new red light philosophy. I’ve told you publicly of my plans, so I don’t want any complaining later when I exercise my rights to sidestep the law if I feel it’s necessary.

Just keep an eye out for me at intersections, and don’t even think about filing a claim against my insurance policy. I’m not so sure that being forced to pay for insurance is a good idea, either.


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