I should be so ashamed of myself.

I’m parked in the lot of one of the two Stab-n-Grabs in town, catching up on some paperwork, when the local teenage hell-raiser screams by on the highway, arm out the window and grinning like a chimp as he gives me the finger.

Naturally, I cut in behind him, and follow for about two blocks before I turn on the lights and pull him over.

I walk up to the door, and gently ask for his drivers licence, insurance and registration.

“What for?” he asks, all innocent.

“Because I asked for it.” I reply, equally innocent.

He gives me the requested documents, I walk back to the Super Scooter and check him and his pickup for wants and warrants. All clear — for once.

I walk back to the driver’s side door, flip open my Book of Citations and begin writing.

He looks at me, sputters a bit, then yaps, “You can’t write me a ticket!”

“Why not?” I ask, filling in Block 9.

“Because you can’t!”

“The answer ‘because’ doesn’t work on my nieces and nephews,” I answer, X-ing Block 23, “Articulate a reason.”

“You’re a cop! My daddy says you can’t be insulted by anything!”

“That is correct.” I sign with a flourish.

“So you can’t write me for flipping you off. I’m not signing that.”

“Correct. How-some-ever, this is not a ticket for flipping me off. You extended your left arm horizontally out of the drivers side window.”


“So, anyone who passed Drivers Education should know that an extended left arm is a signal for a left turn. You failed to turn left. Sign here, this is not a plea of guilty, it is merely a promise to appear in court.”

“You’re ticketing me for ILLEGAL USE OF A TURN SIGNAL?!”

I am SO going to hell for that one.


He paid it, though.


Question for my Los Angeles readers:

100 thoughts on “I should be so ashamed of myself.”

  1. LD,

    You always make me laugh and leave here with a big smile on my face.

    You rock. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. *laughing* Oh my, Dog, you are indeed going to Hell. I’ll no doubt see you there.

    I’ve said for YEARS it doesn’t pay to piss off cops, and it doesn’t. It might not be right, it might not be fair, but damn if it isn’t Darwinian!!

    Well done.


  3. Sweet! Being so dim as to go out of your way to annoy a law enforcement rep and being hammered by a creative interpretation of the law, priceless! Bravo, Lawdog! Reminds me a bit of an experience I had in the Air Force. As a Facility Manager out in the Minot AFB missile field in the 90’s, I would stay out for 3 days at a time, along with 6 AF Security Police and a cook. Four or more of these folks would be @20 years old. And some would like rap “music”. I beg to differ that cuss words to a bass beat qualify as “music”. However, I finally realized I could twist the system to my will. I got out the trusty ‘DYMO’ label gun and made up a “MUSIC WITH OBSCENE LYRICS WILL NOT BE PLAYED ON THIS EQUIPMENT” label and attached it to the site stereo. Worked like a charm! I would hear a whoomp, whoomp, listen for the first swear word, and out of my office I’d launch to tell them to change the music. I did once have to redo the label as some wiseacre removed the “NOT” from the label. Hey, I’ll give them credit for creativity…

  4. Law Dog,
    heh-heh-heh. Next time he’ll know to wave with ALL of his fingers !

  5. Fantastic! Next time you can write him a ticket for having his arm upraised and failing to turn right…just a thought!

  6. Way to think outside the box. Had me chuckling up soda on my keyboard.

  7. must have missed the Class I beverage alert somewhere

    cough, snort


    time for a fluid resistant keyboard

    cough snort

    good one.


  8. That was -DEFINITELY- a Beverage Alert!

    How do you get Newcastle out of a keyboard?

  9. LOL Bravo LawDog if only that sort of intelligent use of the law would happen more often down this side *sigh* hmmmmm…. coffee flavoured keyboard

  10. One day, you have to find a way to bottle the sensation of morally and verbally bitchslapping a teenage airhead. I would buy cases and cases of the stuff.

  11. Love that ticket LD.

    My teen spanking was given to the local mortician’s heir apparent. At 16 daddy bought him an SS 396 El Camino which Junior loved to show off. He smoked his tires right in front of my black & white to show a couple of cuties how smart he was. When I pulled him over for it he grinned and told me that his throttle must have stuck. Instead of writing an Exhibition Ticket I called daddy to come get him and a wrecker to pick up the El Camino. “Unsafe Vehicles” may not be driven until repaired and pronounced safe by a “Certified Repair Shop.” Daddy made him mow lawns to pay for the certification and Junior didn’t get his wheels back for over a month.

  12. Sorry, don’t agree. If you had ticketed him (legitimately) for speeding or reckless driving that would be one thing. But this falls into the category of arbitrary, petty harassment and abuse of power. If you ever wonder why cops aren’t trusted, this is Exhibit A.

    1. Exactly. Theyโ€™re exercising their power over someone for no reason than uncontrolled emotions.

  13. That tickled me. Lesson learned for that kid.

    max – that El Camino story was priceless.

  14. Hehehe! That was smooth!

    And I think “pn nj” doesn’t get it (i.e.: actions have consequences: it has nothing to do with abuse of power, rather the correction of contempt of authority).

  15. “the correction of contempt of authority”

    That rationale can justify many abuses of legal rights. For example, gun grabbers can argue that the mere possession of firearms by private citizens constitutes contempt of authority. Taking away such guns is merely a “correction”.

    Yeah, actions have consequences. But if cops overreact to such minor provocations why should I trust or respect them?

  16. In response to pn nj:
    I personally applaud what Lawdog did and I am not a police officer. This ticket might get that little twit to actually consider his actions. IMO, one of the biggest problems we face in the USA is a lack of civility. You can see it in our politics and you can see it on the road. Flipping off someone because of their job is another symptom of this. Yes, he has the right to express his opinion. He also has the obligation to accept the consequences for expressing his opinion in an obscene manner.

  17. pn nj –

    Perhaps if Daddy had taught him how to behave in polite society.

    To me a large part of this country’s problems can be put to a simple lack of courtesy.

    All this kid got this time was a little slap on the wrist.

  18. Within living memory, in my town, if someone acted as that kid did, he would have received a baton vigourously applied to the head and chest. LD’s response was creative and reasonable.

    He did violate the law. He learned his actions have consequences. Also, if you tolerate the petty crime, that’s creates fertile soil for larger ones.

    Is there room for redress? Sure, the ticket could have been disputed. The kid could complain to LawDog’s boss. The kid could run for Sheriff and become LawDog’s boss. Plenty of ways to do that. I agree, this would lead to the kid being laughed at (all but the last)

    Frankly, I trust a person whom I know will do their job and set firm limits than some patsy who will let themselves be walked on.

  19. Seem to me that expressing your opinion in an obscene manner still falls under the protection of free speech. Just because LD has a badge doesn’t mean he’s entitled to revenge. LD’s lack of self-control places him on the same level as the kid.

    Even LD knows he overreacted. Look at the title to his post.

  20. pn nj,

    Living aboard USS Blaire, the US’s slowest aircraft carrier, I’ve gotten used to a rather heavy-handed approach to the wrong things from LEOs (coming down hobnails first on a flicked cigarette butt, realising they’re late for the tea-break when one’s house is burgled). To be honest, I’m laughing over LD’s post. Hell, at least he’s got a sense of humour. I wish we had more cops like him over here than the jobsworths we’ve got.

  21. Time to move on, but one last point. As William The Coroner notes above:

    “if you tolerate the petty crime, that creates fertile soil for larger ones”.

    I could easily change the wording as follows:

    “If you tolerate petty LEO abuses, that creates fertile soil for larger ones”.

    I generally enjoy this blog and LD’s humorous anecdotes. But in this case I think he’s wrong.

  22. “Yeah, actions have consequences. But if cops overreact to such minor provocations why should I trust or respect them?” – pn nj

    You shouldn’t. You should speed by with your arm out the window and middle finger in the air. Then refuse to sign the ticket and throw it back in his face.

    That’ll teach those jack booted thugs.


  23. Generally I enjoy this blog. Curious what the fine was, and what it did to his insurance.

    This is why I’m always polite and courteous to cops. Also why I don’t get involved with them, confide in them or volunteer information. The incident itself is minor, and I have the overall impression that Bugscuffle County must be safer and freer than where I live, but it feeds the impression I have that rules are applied in two different ways for police and regular citizens. Would a teenager who flipped me off get a ticket?

  24. Cops make me nervous because they seem to be looking for the slightest infringement on the law up here in our “police state” Minnesota. So they get to me because they’re on the prowl too much like they don’t have enough to do except look for petty stuff. But when it comes to being downright disrespectful, I would expect retaliation, even if it was personal.

  25. Now that is how it’s done!


    That story is a perfect example of the the difference between a peace officer and a law enforcement officer.

    By your control of the situation and knowledge of the law you were able to keep the peace… while enforcing the law, and hopefully teach a lesson to boot.

  26. pn nj, my suggestion is that you worry less about rights and more about responsibilities, courtesy and politeness. I know a lot of people who see having been given the bird as an invitation to a serious fight.

    Hard to care much about Rights when you’re beat to a pulp and in a hospital bed. Not very attractive to those Sweet Young Things he was trying to impress with his “coolth”, either.

    If the doofus didn’t learn something from LawDog’s lesson, the next time might not be so easily dealt with…


  27. I was quite surprised to read that someone disapproved of LD’s reaction. I actually thought it was a good answer to being treated so disrespectfully. But I realized that I don’t consider rude gestures something that needs to be protected as free speech. If the kid was saying he hates cops because they killed his brother, and LD found a trival law to charge them with, I would get upset. But giving someone the bird is not part of debate and is not a view point; its sole purpose is disrespect. Because of that, I’m okay with a non-violent consequence.

  28. I laughed, very creative interpretation of the law.

    As for rights, the kid has the right to express himself, and in most states, the police have the right to stop any driver under the age of 18 for anything they want (most DLs for minors are probationary).

    The kid could have contested the fine, and he might have gotten off without penalty, but he would have to explain to a judge why he had his arm hanging out a window in such a fashion as to attract the attention of a LEO.

    Mayhaps his parents did not want that explanation in a public record somewhere.

  29. Others have said it above, but what is it with folks who want to upset the cops? I don’t get it.

    I’m out late at night, or rather early in the morning, every morning, and I have been pulled over once in a while, mostly for a light out or something minor.

    Now here’s a guy who is younger than me (usually) and most probably way more fit than me. He’s got a pistol on his belt, along with pepper spray. And a baton, if the aforementioned items aren’t enough. He’s driving a police cruiser with a shotgun therein, and for all I know, a nuke in the trunk. And he just might be having a very bad day.

    Free speech is all well and good, but I want to go and finish my job. If the officer decides that he doesn’t like me, rightly or wrongly, abuse of power or not, he can pretty much ruin the better part of my next 24 or more hours, causing me emotional turmoil and flattening my wallet a bit at the very least.

    Am I going to give him a hard time? To me, simple self-preservation rules that out entirely. Not going to do it. Wouldn’t be prudent. It’s his job, after all, and giving him a hard time is a bit too much like bearding the lion.

    Pretty simple, really. To me anyways.

  30. He was merely indicating that you were numba one!

    Why did you ticket him?

  31. “Seem to me that expressing your opinion in an obscene manner still falls under the protection of free speech. Just because LD has a badge doesn’t mean he’s entitled to revenge. LD’s lack of self-control places him on the same level as the kid.”

    Seems to me this pn nj character doesn’t know about the difference between protected “free speach” and “fighting words” which aren’t Constitutionally protected.

    The kid was being a jerk. The jerk needed an attitude adjustment. LawDog gave the jerk said attitude adjustment without becoming violent.

    This problem in the country with lack of courtesy… I’ve noticed it too. Try holding doors open for folks and see who says “thank you”. The idiot kids who look like ebonics speakers… they won’t even look up and nod much less touch the door as they pass through. Same goes for contempt for others regardless of who’s wearing a badge.

    mustanger98 on THR

  32. Curious what the fine was, and what it did to his insurance.

    $65. Equipment citations don’t affect insurance.

    Would a teenager who flipped me off get a ticket?

    Sort of. He’d be cited for Disorderly Conduct — $270 fine and costs — and driven to the jail where his parents would be notified. Once the parents arrived, they would be informed as to his court date — just so it wouldn’t slip his mind — and he’d be released to their custody.

  33. keep up the good work LD at least someone out there has a sense of humor :))

  34. LawDog you are so my hero!
    It’s nice to see that on some days karma lines up on the side of the good guys.

  35. Hmmm …

    pn nj … (sniff sniff)

    Smells very much like a troll to me.

    I was on a ride-along one Friday night here in the Smoke. Now … this city is a maze of one-way streets. The lights are synchronized so that if you get your speed down correctly, you can drive along for quite a while.

    We were stopped at a red light. As the light changed to green, two young males blasted by us in the inside lane. Acting Sgt R. hit the roof lights and they stopped ahead of us. (That was a very good thinking on their part.) We both walked up to the car. I was on the sidewalk; he came along to the driver’s side.

    He got the driver’s license, ownership and insurance papers. As we walked back to the cruiser, he asked me whether they had their seat belts on. (This was a relatively new requirement in the Great White North at the time.) I replied that I didn’t see the two with their belts on.

    For bouncing a police car, they were ticketed for not wearing seat belts. They had their fun. We replied in kind.

    If drivers are reasonably observant of traffic rules, etc., they become invisible to the police. That’s been my experience in 45 years of driving.

    If you’re polite and courteous, I have found that the treatment coming back is reciprocal.

    One Sunday morning a couple of years ago, I was driving to meet a friend for coffee. I wasn’t paying attention and ran into a radar trap. This was 7:30 am … and I think I was the only car in sight. Frankly, I was probably thinking more of the upcoming “date” than a strict adherence to the speed limit.

    When she pulled me over, the officer stated that I was clocked at 76 kph in a 50 kph zone. She was probably right; I was in 4th gear at the time … so I really couldn’t argue.

    I didn’t give her any squawking and acknowledged she had to be right. I didn’t give her a hard time. I couldn’t see the point. When she returned with the ticket, I thanked her and said I would be more careful.

    As she walked back to her cruiser, I noticed that she had not shown my speed. I am convinced that she deliberately invalidated my ticket … just because I hadn’t given her any guff.

    It pays to be nice.


  36. Nah! You aren’t going to hell. If anything, you may be the only thing/person keeping young no-good even remotely close to the straight and narrow. I hope he appreciates it someday.

  37. “Would a teenager who flipped me off get a ticket?”

    You betcha, Anonymous. I used to live outside of Houston, TX, in a nice, middle class subdivision. Well, we had a “juvenile delinquent” that lived across the street from us. Of course, “juvenile delinquent” is putting it very, very, very mildly. One step away from prison is much more descriptive. For example, he had a party, and there were so many people there, my sister and I couldn’t even get to our house because of all the cars blocking the street. We called the cops, of course. Then, another party. Sis was back at college. This time, I heard the fight, and got my Dad and younger brother(big, football player) while I called 911. By the time my Dad and brother got dressed(we were all in bed and asleep) and got out there, a knife had already been pulled. Thankfully, aside from being a pastor, my Dad also substitute taught at the local H.S., so many of the kids at this party knew him. So, they listened to him, even in their highly inebriated state. Nevermind that one 14 yo kid who was there was so drunk that he almost got hit by a truck pulling away from the party.

    Anyway, this rotten kid STILL hadn’t learned his lesson, and continued to be on the wrong side of the law(took a baseball bat to his mother). He had ANOTHER party. By this time, my Dad had passed away, but I still called 911. A new neighbor, another woman had also called 911. Well, we were watching the police round up people and disperse said people from this party. Of course, one stupid idiot decided to stick his finger through his sunroof and flip off my neighbor and me. Luckily, there was a constable right there who heard us commenting on it. The delightful constable asked us what the guy did, and we told him that he flipped us off. That constable then got in his cruiser, and did just like in the movies. He floored his car in reverse, about 1/3 of the way down the street, into the intersection, whipped it around, and went after the jackass…ummm, kid. He gave the guy a ticket for flipping us off. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will NEVER forget that! That made my day, and a good portion of my life.

    “Seem to me that expressing your opinion in an obscene manner still falls under the protection of free speech.”–pn nj

    Go back and read the Constitution. EXPRESSION is NOT protected in the first amendment. Freedom of speech is protected.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Amendment I of the Constitution.

    Speech: 1 “a : the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words”
    (C)1997, 1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved

    That kid was NOT speaking. He was using an obscene gesture. He deserved what he got, and shame on you for supporting a delinquent, and condemning a police officer. “Woe unto those who call evil good, and good, evil.” Be careful whose side you take.

  38. As i am not american myself I think i would like to pop in an outsiders perspective. LawDog’s action was completely appropriate in this matter pn nj seems to think that the cops all abuse power at the drop of a hat but doesn’t seem to realise that said officers have chosen to work in a job that puts their lives at risk to protect YOU.

    Hell if I could I would up sticks and move to bugscuffle immediatly because there it seems respect is taught. Down at this end of the world I have to hear about and read about cops getting murdered EVERY *&@#ing DAY simply because they’re trying to make the country safe…

    If I was in LD’s shoes I would have apllied said baton with extreme force. His solution was dynamic and creative and taught a well learned lesson I truly applaud him

    Cave Troll (no not an internet troll see LOTR ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  39. You big meanie. I’m sure the wee lambikin was just saying “Dog’s Number One!”

  40. “Seems to me this pn nj character doesn’t know about the difference between protected “free speach” and “fighting words” which aren’t Constitutionally protected.”

    Took the words right out of my mouth.

  41. “Articulate a reason.” Priceless.

    It’s nice to see this all from a better perspective. You must know that this story will be told in other places quite differently…

  42. By the way, here’s the law…
    Texas Penal Code section 42.01
    (a) A person commits an
    offense if he intentionally or knowingly:

    (2) makes an offensive gesture or display in a public
    place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate
    breach of the peace;

    1. AND. The only incitement was the leoโ€™s feelings. Sorry, hurt feelings donโ€™t count as a breach of peace.

  43. Hey ‘Dawg, you can kick it in my condo in Hell, until yours is ready. I hear yours will have a nice lakeside (of fire) view…

  44. pn nj,

    my suggestion is that you worry less about rights and more about responsibilities, courtesy and politeness. LD was within his perview to light the kid up, there is a part of the WAC that deals with disruptive behavior and such.

    Where and when I grew up, flying a bird was an invitation to a hickory shampoo or a severe case of loggers pox

    Hard to care much about Rights when you’re beat to a fuzzy red mess and in a hospital bed. Sort of hard to be cool there while needing to have help to pee…

    If the Punk didn’t learn something from LawDog’s lesson, the next time might not be so easily dealt with…and he might not survive it.

    And I’ll agree…ye smells trollish…(sniiiffing the air)

  45. Good for you LD, if you let the witless get away with something like that, they are usually emboldened. Pushing the limits may lead to stupidity of a really serious nature.

  46. Great story!!

    I have, however, a couple of questions. I probably won’t be able to get an answer due to a huge number of comments, but, what the Hell!

    1) LD, you said you asked for “his drivers licence, insurance and registration.” In Texas, we are not required to carry “registration”, are we? My understanding is that this line is used by California troopers, where you are required to have registration papers with you…. Am I wrong?

    2) Unless I’m mistaken, there is no maximum distance you are allowed to signal for a turn (left or right). In other words, I can signal left in Houston, and as long as I do not make any RIGHT turns, I can make my turn in San Antonio. So technically, I think the kid could have beaten the ticket…… (again, I could be wrong on this one – I would like to know if I am)

    Regardless, the kid TOTALLY deserved it! You flip off a COP and you’re surprised that you get a ticket????

  47. If you search TFL or THR (I don’t remember which at the moment) for “Lawdog turn signal bird” you should be able to turn up a similar instance in which the miscreant got a warning.

    I’m guessing this particular goober has a history, based on Lawdog’s surprise that he didn’t have any warrants. I’ll just take ‘Dog’s word for it this time.

    (Somebody asked if the kid would get a ticket for flipping her off. Well, I can’t speak for Lawdog, but I think it’s only fair to ask whether the kid flipped a random bird and happened to point it where he did, or whether he wouldn’t have been doing it in the first place if he hadn’t been trying to show contempt for the first cop he saw.)

    Actually, lemme go a bit further: Mr. Dawg did that kid a service.

    It is not good for a boy to grow up thinking that he’s smarter than everybody else and will thus escape the natural consequences of his actions. It breeds stupidity of the painful kind.

  48. I think I’ll side with pj nj, despite all the rest of you. Maybe it felt good to read about this kid getting his supposed comeuppance, but you are all missing the deliberate misapplication of the law that, as has been pointed out, even LD felt uncomfortable with. The finger was neither given nor interpreted as a turn signal, and ticketing it as such is an abuse of the intent of the applicable law.

    The story about the cop forgiving a ticket because of respectful treatment is an experience I share, but it is also a symptom of this sort of problem. We need police officers who apply the law equally and accurately, not miniature tyrants who use the law to force the rest of us to stroke their egos.

    Contempt toward authority? I didn’t know the UCMJ now applied to idiot teenagers. That’s the only jurisdiction in the US that I know of that has such a crime.

    I hope you all never have to experience the irony of having the law twisted to deprive your liberty.

  49. Because of the nature of their profession LEOs and Peace Officers are given a certain amount of discretion. If they were required to enforce every law on the books regardless of the situation we wouldn’t need human’s in these positions we could use automatons. I personally prefer to have a living, breathing, THINKING, human being making these judgement calls. Certainly there are instances of abuse, but I believe that these are outweighed by the advantage of someone who can apply a little discretion to the situation and make an intelligent decision.
    I heartily applaud LD’s actions and I think that the shame in the title is probably for having such a good time delivering the lad’s comeuppance! Chuckle on with ghoulish glee if you must, but continue dispensing life lessons and justice!

  50. Y’all may be surprised to learn that I somewhat agree with “pr nj,” and with “Oz.” And please don’t call them “trolls” because they don’t automatically agree with LawDog– LD doesn’t require a chorus of sycophants. He’s bright enough to make his own case. And there are bright people who might disagree with him. Doesn’t make them trolls, especially when they put their disagreement respectfully.

    You may be further surprised to find that I suspect that LawDog agrees, to an extent, as well.

    LD and I agree that we deserve no entitlement, and no bowing and scraping from the citizens we serve. We are not badge heavy cops, either one of us.

    But we have, on occasion, suffered from severe bouts of “humanity.” This means that we’ve occasionally found a little bit of pleasure in applying the law in its strictest reading.

    The kid complaining that LD couldn’t be offended? Well, as a rookie cop back in the day, I wrote that citation, Disorderly Conduct, to a 19 year old boy. He had angrily come to the PD while I was writing the report about the party at his house that I had been to (19 citations for MIP and Consumption By Minor), and when I stepped out the door to the P.D., I was treated to a loud, angry torrent of F-bombs and insults to my family, my character, my kind, and my creed. I asked him for his driver license, and wrote him a citation for disorderly conduct. Worse still, when I noticed that his license reflected an address that I knew he hadn’t lived at for a year, I wrote him an extra charge for Fail To Notify Of Change Of Address.

    I’m ashamed of that. It was a P.O.P. ticket, and I’ve never written one again. I never will.

    When my chief said, “You can’t be offended– you’re held to a higher standard!” I asked if it counted if the words were uttered within earshot of another, without regard to whether they were offended. Well, yes… I argued that J, the homeless lady sleeping 40 yards away, could easily have heard it.

    I’m a little ashamed that I rationalized it, too.

    But, for all this shame going on…

    …it’s still a little funny. And interestingly enough, the dumb kid who had to tell the cop off paid his ticket, too.

    _ _ _

    Oz, for what it’s worth, L.D.’s cite was still a legal citation: there’s no state of mind required for a traffic ticket in Texas. If you accidentally bumped your turn blinker and drove down the road with it, you’d get the same citation. If your turn signal was broken, you’d get a similar citation. All legal and proper.

    _ _ _ _

  51. Hey, I can sympathize with some occasional slips in the otherwise solid facade. I was just saying that he was correct to feel uneasy about what he did.

    I think there’s a tangible difference between an inadvertent use of the car’s turn signal, which can’t be interpreted as anything else, and a thrown finger, which was recognized for what it was. The hand turn signals are much less used (if even remembered) and to hear the story there was zero ambiguity. If I extend my arm reaching for the trash can on my way out of the drive thru, would you fine me if I then turned right? Probably not, since despite the general position of my left arm any observer would be able to tell that I was throwing out some garbage and not signaling my intended maneuver.

  52. They have LEOs patrolling the freeways here in SA on the lookout for aggressive driving behaviors/road rage. Methinks flipping off a police officer could well fall under that category. I don’t know if it’s a statewide deal or a San Antonio one, though.

    Personally, I’ve never had a problem with a police officer, probably because I don’t give them a reason to give me a problem.

  53. Thanks, LD, for the story.

    Per the meta-discussion: The kid was anti-social, and out to create a disturbance and get the Lawdog out from under the porch. Hey, he succeeded!

    The LD pushed the boundaries of propriety to bite him in that fashion. Instead of a heavy-handed “smackdown”, or straight bullying – the LD used wit, humor, and brains to one-up the wayward driver.

    Maybe said driver will learn something about thinking ahead!

    But, overall, yes, the LD ws wrong.

    And I’da done (assuming I could think that fast) the same damn thing had I been in his shoes. Cause it was the right thing to do at the time.

  54. Point of interest: The Legal History of Flipping the Bird

    (My understanding is that there is also a SCOTUS case that has held that flipping off a cop is legally-protected speech, but I couldn’t find it. That said, the punk wasn’t cited for being offensive, he was cited for a traffic violation, which he did commit, if under a creative interpretation. I’m going to stay out of the right-or-wrong fray on this one.)

  55. I come from a time when the police officers were called `fuzz’ and worse. Back then I was harassed a lot.

    Maybe something to do with my hair being two feet longer than it should or maybe because the music blaring out of the custom built 8 track sound system wasn’t Lawrence Welk or maybe because I was just driving a convertible sports car. Or maybe because somewhere there was a hint of the evil weed.

    I think mostly I was harassed because the law wanted me to know they had their eye on me and I had better keep it clean.

    Now my mama didn’t raise me stupid. I was always courteous and cooperative when I was stopped for no reason at all. Pragmatism dontcha know.

    One time an officer pulled me over accusing me drinking a beer while driving. I had gotten a sandwich and beer for lunch at the deli and consumed both at a picnic table by the football stadium across the way. Threw my stuff in the trash and proceeded to drive to the library to study a bit before the next class. That’s when I was pulled over. I denied his accusations. He persisted. It finally dawned on me that if I lied and admitted to his accusations that he’d let me go with a warning. Been jaded ever since.

    Like when pulled over and `Boy, you got a broken tail light’. `No I don’t, I checked ’em before I left’. `Well let me just see here (whack, tinkle tinkle, tinkle). Yeah it’s broken alright’. `Thank you officer, I’ll get it fixed right away’.

    Rule #1 is `do not ever piss off a police officer’

    Corrolary to rule #1 `Do not give finger to a police officer’

    I am now old enough that I have friends that are in law enforcement and I have friends children in law enforcement. Even still, I never make eye contact with a law enforcement officer and I try my best to not give them an excuse to stop me.

    I admire Lawdog and think he is decent folk. Like I said, I am jaded from this long ago period of time that I still distrust law officers.

  56. outside_of_apex,

    So in essence you are saying that you implicitly condone abuse of power because you are spineless. Congratulations.

    For what it’s worth, I fall squarely on the side of “Petty abuse of power by LEOs causes greater tension between LEOs and the public and should never be condoned”. Just a few posts back LD spoke about not acting the boogyman, but LEOs abusing power can have the same effect.

  57. Thinking of not making eye contact with cops, I wonder if that may give them cause for suspicion for whatever some cops want to imagine. Now, mind you this is just me thinking, but we’re all supposed to be on the same side. I’m on friendly terms with an assistant DA in my local area, eye contact, wave across the restraunt, handshake, “hi, how are you” and all. We’re both citizens and we’re both people… he, we’re both 1911 shooters too. I can understand somebody having had a bad experience, but while some cops give off the feeling they’re waiting to zap you any time, the guys at the local S.O. here have helped my family on several occassions and one of those could have been real serious with a car bought in good faith having been misplaced and listed as stolen in another jurisdiction. So I can see both sides on this one.

    mustanger98 on THR

  58. >> So in essence you are saying that you implicitly condone abuse of power because you are spineless. Congratulations.

  59. *sigh* I still fail to see how this is an abuse of power when a violation clearly occoured and the wit and intelligence that lawdog used solved the situation nicely. for those of you complaining about said power abuse lets take a stroll through the murky mists of time shall we…

    I am in South africa… now not that long ago we had a little something called ‘apartheid’. during this time cops would repeatedly stop the black people on the street and 9 times out of ten would result in the cops practically beating the person mushy for being in the wrong area for 0.5 minutes THAT is an abuse of power (for which i trust their continued existance is in hell if there is one) not intelligently finding a way to get some stupid kid to respect the LEO he might need to call on later. If he had hauled out a baton or arrested the kid etc then yes he would be no better than said apartheid twits, but he didn’t

    Cave Troll

  60. Question, LD. What might have happened if this kid had been polite and respectful to you when you pulled him over, instead of mouthing off? Also, what if he had confessed to flipping you off, then apologized for it, and admitted he was wrong for doing so and that is was an irresponsible thing to do, and that he will not ever do that again? I have a feeling the outcome might have been different in this situation.

    “You’re a cop! My daddy says you can’t be insulted by anything!”–Idiot Teen from LD’s story.

    I do believe this sentence says it all. Maybe “Daddy” should teach him some better life lessons AND respect!

  61. That is it LD, the people have spoken. You are to turn in your badge and walk in shame to the lion pit. Where, upon a brief apology, you will be cast into the lion pit.

    Actually, we have a slight logistical problem. We don’t have a Colosseum or the lions…..instead seven extremely fuzzy kittens will lick the back of your knees until they are raw.

    Appease the horde of blogger moralist!

  62. I like that… “spineless”…

    And from an anon of course. Easy to talk if no one knows who you are.

    Let’s try “discretion is the better part of valor” or “don’t piss off the CO unnecessarily”.

    You’ve got to pick your battles. And picking one that you’re sure to lose is a bad idea.

    Abuse of power? I don’t think so. The kid was being a smartass and LD was a smartass right back. There are probably many people would’ve beat the snot out of the kid for flipping them off and ain’t none of them cops.

    I hope that kid learned at least one lesson. “There are always consequences for every thing you do”. I think he got off easy.

  63. I see some indignation with “misapplication” of the law.

    I see it differently. I see it as humane application of the law.

    “$65. Equipment citations don’t affect insurance.”

    Slap on the wrist. Kid was NOT cited for the actual infraction, which would have been Disorderly Conduct.

    “He’d be cited for Disorderly Conduct — $270 fine and cost . . .”

    There is (so far as I know) no citation for “terminal stupidity” so creative use of a lighter citation which had no longer-term effects (like a ding on his insurance) is appropriate.

    You have to define boundaries. When you allow unbounded conduct because it can be construed as “within his rights” you encourage progressively more outrageous conduct until, at some point, actual harm results.

    LawDog exhibited judgement commensurate with the kid’s demonstrated intent vector.

    This is a commendable thing.

    It’s the action of a PEACE OFFICER rather than a law enforcement drone.

    Well done.

    ~~ ArfinGreebly (THR)

  64. I found the story overall amusing. It certainly was a creative use of a minor traffic violation.

    However, (you knew there was a ‘however’ coming) since the “actual” action the kid took was the flipping off, and LD acknowledged that, giving a citation for a infraction that he knows didn’t occur isn’t, in the end, amusing.

    Not that I’m not still smiling. (I hate when I do that)

    Now, if he had pulled the “flipper” over and given him a field sobriety test because he appeared to be driving in an odd manner with his hand out the window. Or otherwise simply detained him for an extended period because the “computer was down” while checking his DR and Warrants, well. Even though no less dishonest, would at least not been a misuse of a legitimate law, not had any monetary penalty and maybe still would have made the flipper think twice before flipping again. (I said maybe)

    And yes, I did have a similar but more devious (on the cop’s part) run-in some 27 years ago with a not so pleasant cop, as LD appears to be.

    So, it’s too late to say “long story short” but, bottom line, while I appreciate the humor of the story, I believe the law was improperly applied. And even though “the kid could have fought the ticket”, it was a ticket that shouldn’t have been issued in said case. IMHSO (In My Humble and Skewed Opinion)

    And dammit, I’m still smiling.

  65. “LawDog exhibited judgement commensurate with the kid’s demonstrated intent vector.

    This is a commendable thing.

    It’s the action of a PEACE OFFICER rather than a law enforcement drone.”

    Wish I was able to say the above as well as Arfin did. I have no sympathy for the kid. And the next time I’m pulled over, I hope it’s the ‘Dog

  66. Arfin,

    I enjoyed your post, and see that you have some very good, very well thought out points. Thank you. And, I am in agreement with you on your points.

  67. About damned time someone enforces those signalling laws. Keep it up!

  68. Well now i just have to weigh in. Here is something to think about. Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter. Sure we live in a free country and we can express ourselves. Just remember that during the course of expression, if you piss someone off you have to answer for it. The kid was having fun and LD had fun also. No big deal. From what i have learned, people who have the ass at the cops are usually the same people the cops are busting their ass. I have lived 39 years without a run in with the police so i am sure others can do it to. If you want to play you have to pay.

  69. In this case, I think the actual violation was “contempt of cop” and the miscreant received a relatively minor penalty.

    In 20 years or so, the kid will realize it was a cheap and relatively gentle lesson.

  70. I liked LD’s solution. The kid is not likely to learn anything, but one never knows.

    This was not an abuse of power or a misapplication of the law. This is an example of a reasonable officer of the law performing his duties to the best of his ability.

  71. This is absolutely fabulous. Serves the little bugger right!

    It only would have been funnier if he’d contested it.

  72. Since there are a lot of long winded posts around already, and I didn’t want to add to the confusion here, I went ahead and put it on my blog. If you’re interested, check it out. If not, don’t worry about it.

  73. Nice one, Centurion. Like it, like it.

    Question: what are blocks 9 and 23? I assume they’re in your ticketbook, but what do they mean?



  74. Read this one for the first time last night. Loved it so much, had to come back for more today.

    You go, Dog!

  75. To Kiki B.
    Just a small thing about " Freedom of speech"; I'm not sure what the cut off for that is now. The Supreme Court tossed out campaign contribution limitations because donating money is expression and limiting contributions would be limiting freedom of speech…

  76. WAY-late comment:

    We all do stupid things occasionally. But how it happens that we do them, matters.

    There's inattention. There's sloppiness. And there's malicious intent.

    The kid's behavior was clearly inspired by malicious intent. Lawdog responded not only to the action, but to the intent – and by citing the kid for the "turn signal," rather than for disturbing the peace, scaled that response more appropriately to the actual harm done.

    I wouldn't have minded in the least if Lawdog had posted a report from the fly on the wall when the kid's dad learned about the incident…

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