Sunday, February 10, 2013

Well, I *HAD* Nothing...

Except, you see, my governor declared martial law.
Roads emptied out late this afternoon as drivers apparently heeded an extremely rare order issued by Governor Deval Patrick banning driving after 4 p.m.

Patrick announced the travel ban at a news conference this afternoon at the state’s emergency bunker, where he also announced that he was declaring a state of emergency to allow the state to take special steps and mobilize assets to ensure residents’ safety.

The penalty for driving after 4:00 PM on Friday? A $500 fine and/or up to a year in jail. A year in jail? Repeat drunk drivers don't get hit with that. Let that sink in. For the crime of getting into your car and traveling on the public road, you could conceivably be thrown in jail for longer than Unkie Alkie on his fourth OUI offense.

What bothers me even more is the general reaction to this order. Folks have been falling over themselves to congratulate the governor on this - as though forcing people to stay in their homes at gunpoint is something to be proud of. They point to the natural tendency of the vast majority of the American motoring public to be dumber than a box of rocks - A point I have made here for years - and that they need to be told to stay inside.

You see, we're too stupid to know what's best to do. We obviously need big nanny state government to do it for us. And for a large percentage of people, this is hunky dory. We're too stupid to stay off the roads! Please save us from ourselves! Now, personally, I'd much rather have seen something more like "Hey, this is a state of emergency; we advise strongly that folks stay off the road. If you do venture out and hinder the road crews, your car will be towed and a fine assessed." This way, you only hit the folks that deserve it.

But why wield a scalpel when a sword lets you intrude government more?

That is all.


ZerCool said...


We get innumerable callers asking if the roads are closed anytime there's more than a couple inches of snow.

After EIGHT YEARS, the roads have been closed TWICE. Once for snow, and once for flooding.

People ask what happens if they drive anyways. "You may get a ticket." Then they try to lawyer their way around it.
"So I can drive?"
"The roads are closed."
"But I can drive."
"The roads are closed. If you drive, you may be ticketed."
"So I can drive?"
"The roads are closed."
Repeat, ad infinitum.

Don't ask for my permission, I'm not going to give it. If you want to drive, there MAY be penalties. If you think it's worth it, then go for it and accept the risk.

My question that comes up in this: if you're out driving when the roads are officially closed and get in an accident ... want to take bets on your insurance covering it? :-\

B said...

Is that even constiutional?

I have never heeded an order to stay off the roads. Ever.

Of course, I ususally had business to do, and a vehicle which was capable of travelling on those roads.

If not, I always tried to stay home.

But no cop is gonna tell me I can't ravel where and when I choose.

Besides, they'd have to catch me first....

Ken O said...

The idiots here have started closing the beaches anytime we get a decent swell. They seem to forget that most local surfers are also avid off roaders- those sand dunes are a bonus, not an obstacle. (you can drive on Texas beaches)

I say go any damned place you want, whenever you want. If you get fined, claim it was an act of civil disobedience protesting the nanny state.

Daniel in Brookline said...

I think it has more to do with (a) idiots driving/parking on the roads and getting in the way of the snowplows, and (b) the expectation that, inevitably, someone would go out in the snow, get stuck, and scream for help from that very same Nanny Government.

(In re the first issue: how would you like to live on a street that doesn't get plowed at all, because some jerk didn't move his car and the plows weren't willing to just shove the car aside?)

Lord knows, I'm not defending Governor Erkel, and I agree that he didn't need to be so ham-handed about it. (Then again, how many MA residents are used to the Nanny State, and expect/need to be told what to do? Egad, what a depressing thought...)

Old NFO said...

Better y'all than us... And that's just a 'bit' over the top!

Old NFO said...

Better y'all than us... And that's just a 'bit' over the top!

John said...

Around these parts, before they close roads, especially Interstate highways, they issue towing bans.

Drive as you see fit, but if you go off the road your vehicle stays where it ends up until such time as road and weather conditions no longer pose a hazard to tow operators and to LEOs who would be tasked with traffic control.

Oh, and by the way, during said towing ban, if you dial 911 to report that you are now stuck in a ditch somewhere along I-80, do not expect a sub-8 minute response from the State Patrol or County Sheriff to rescue your stupid ass.

Officially, an effort will be made to get to you as soon as safely possible, but realistically, it's AMF YOYO!

(Adios M'er F'er, You're On Your Own!)


notDilbert said...

When I lived in Colorado they would regularly close the passes during a big storm and the penalty was that we would have to stay in Vail to ski in the deep powder the next day. ( Terrible …. I know , but somebody needed to put down those first tracks ). And frequently I-70 to Kansas would become impassable due to the white-outs and the 20 ft drifts. ….. but they never dared try to close all they highways in the Highways. I’m pretty sure that they mostly relied on Darwin to deal with the people who didn’t listen to the warnings.

Jay G said...

Closing roads != what happened in MA.

What happened in MA was that the governor decreed that all travel was punishable by a $500 fine and/or up to a year in jail.

Not a road closing. ALL roads were off limits.

I wouldn't have a problem with the governor closing, say, Route 1 going into Boston because of heavy snow.

There were sections on the Cape that only saw 6" from the entire storm. You mean to tell me the guy running out to a convenience store for milk should spend a year in jail for being out?

Anonymous said...

Obviously, your governor believes two things:
1) He should apply the full force of the nanny state to protect everyone
2) He has the authority to do it.

I suspect he doesn't, at least among free people. I recognize that people, in general, are idiots where inclement weather travel is concerned, mostly because they don't get enough practice to understand their limitations. That said, having grown up in those conditions, I have been in situations where even with an EarthF***er with chains on all four I've made the decision to just pour a few more ounces and watch it snow from in front of the fireplace. As notDilbert points out above, it's not infrequent for roads in the Sierras and Rockies to be closed for snow (I've seen feeder roads to I-80 near Rock Springs so bad I doubt even an Abrams would make it; when they send out the throwers in a conga line instead of the plows, that's called a "strong hint")

The key part of that sentence is "I've made the decision."

In MA you're far outnumbered by those who like the nanny state. I'd suggest heeding this: today it's a year in jail for driving, guess what's coming when SHTF and you actually defend your family?

I know you have a job and family there, Jay, but it's past time to cede the state as a lost cause and move far, far away.

wolfwalker said...

Anon, Massachusetts' governor does have that authority ... but I think there's been a bit of misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

I did some digging around in Massachusetts law, much of which is available online if you look hard enough. Under a law passed in 1950, the governor has extensive powers to declare and enforce a "state of emergency" for any of a variety of reasons. The "up to $500 or 1 year in jail" penalty is a generic one for any violation of any governor's order issued under this law.