Three years ago, I received a reckless driving ticket in King George County, VA for doing 97 in a 55. It was very late at night, and pretty much the only person on the road besides me was the police officer that pulled me over. The fact that I got pulled over was indeed my fault and quite deserved, but the events of the next six months I blame entirely on my older brother who was in the car with me at the time.
In my driving career, I have been pulled over exactly nine times and each time with damn good reason:
- 1999: 51 in a 25, Alexandria VA – approx 11:45pm (ticket)
- 1999: 72 in a 55, King George VA – approx 11:00pm (ticket)
- 1999: Driving without headlights on, Alexandria VA – approx 10:00pm (no ticket, no warning)
- 2000: 40 in a 20, Anacostia Park, Washington DC – approx 3:15pm (warning)
- 2002: 50 in a 25, ran 3 stop signs, College Park, MD – approx 1:00am (warning)
- 2003: 55 in a 30, weaving through traffic, Downtown Washington DC – approx 4:00pm (no ticket, no warning)
- 2004: 97 in a 55, King George VA – approx 12:00am ($1250 fine, 90 day suspended jail sentence, 3 years probation)
- 2006: 42 in a 20, Reagan National Airport, approx 5:30pm (ticket)
- 2007: 70 in a 40, cutting off unmarked police car, Washington DC – approx 9:30am (warning)
There is a clear behavioral pattern to all of these. The cases where I didn’t get tickets were the cases where I admitted to the officer that a.) I’m an idiot (incidents 5, 9), b.) I was indeed going that fast and was unaware of the speed limit (incident 4), c.) I didn’t know you were the police and I thought you were going to kill me (incident 9), d.) yes, I’m driving without headlights because I forgot, the street is well-lit, and my girlfriend is pissing me off (incident 3), and e.) I’m sorry I’m speeding, I’m just late for an appointment and this is my first day on the job (incident 6).
Figure 1: Not Fighter Pilots
Basically, all the times I got away with it were the times I treated the cops with respect, admitted that they were right and I was wrong, and didn’t give them the runaround. If there were any justice in the world, I’d have been thrown in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison for incident 5.
But the incidents where I did receive tickets [1, 2, 7, and 8] were the ones where I insulted the cops’ intelligence by claiming I couldn’t have been doing more than 35, 60, 60, and 25 mph for incidents 1, 2, 7, and 8 respectively. My reaction to incidents 1 and 2 I can attribute to being young and stupid, and the reaction to incident 8 I attribute to being VERY tired.
Incident 7, however, is completely my brother’s fault. As the officer approached my car, I was fully prepared to tell him the God-honest truth: “I just graduated, I bought a fast car, I saw an open striaghtaway and I just lit it up. I honestly don’t even know how fast I was going. I’ve got no excuse, I’m sorry man…it was stupid. I’m really really sorry.” To this day, I’m sure this would have gotten me out of any trouble.
Instead, my brother – ever defiant against authority figures, even in spite of himself – instructs me as follows: “No matter what happened, you were NOT doing more than 60.” I, being panic stricken, was dumb enough to listen to my big brother – and when the officer inevitably asked me how fast he caught me going, I responded with a timid “Ummmm…..60?”, and immediately upon saying these words I knew I was in some deep shit.
The next six months of my life included the following:
- a formal arraignment
- a $700 retainer fee for an attorney
- a plea bargain that a.) kept me out of jail and b.) the judge nearly rejected
- a $1250 fine, 90 day suspended jail sentence, three years probation
- an official criminal record
- 6 months of taking the Metro to my job in Tyson’s Corner since I wasn’t allowed to drive in Virgnia
- the sale of my beloved Lancer Evolution
At this point (and probably at some point way before this) you’re probably asking yourself “what the fuck does this have to do with fighter pilots?” I answer:
Figure 2: Reckless Driving
Apparently, this sporting chap flew his $38 million F-14 Tomcat 10 feet from the deck of the U.S.S. Stennis because, as Bam Margera said to explain the penis branded on his ass to his mother, “it was funny.” For doing this, the pilot was grounded for 30 days. So let’s compare and contrast shall we?
- Lives endangered: 2
- Damage Potential: approx. $35K, + $1K for road cleanup
- Results: criminal record, fines, probation, suspended jail sentence
USS Stennis Flyby
- Lives endangered: >= 9 (there are at least 7 people visible on the deck, plus the pilot and his RIO
- Damage Potential: approx. $4.538 billion (the Stennis cost $4.5 billion to build, plus $38 million for the F-14
- Results: 30 day grounding
I fucking goddamn hate fighter pilots.