Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Follow-Up: Littering Jerks

Not more than two days ago did I post a lament regarding jerks that treat the world as their trashcan. I commented specifically in that post about people who flick cigarettes out their car windows, but I stand strongly opposed to any form of litter, from household trash to fast food wrappers to unwanted pets. I pointed out the apparent disconnect in Washington State between the strictness of litter-related laws and the apparent lack of enforcement. These kinds of things just frustrate me.

GUILTY of litteringHowever, today I was heartened by a tale of litter laws enforced—not in Washington, but all the way on the other side of the country in New Hampshire. A police officer in Hooksett was driving home from work behind another driver when he noticed "at least four objects fall from the car window onto the roadway within about a two-mile stretch." Unfortunately since he was off-duty, he was unable to pull over and ticket the flagrant offender, but he wrote down their plate number and got a good look at the driver. The following week he personally delivered a $288 citation to the driver of the vehicle.

You may be wondering at this point why this story was deemed newsworthy enough to be printed in a paper. All jokes about the general amount of newsworthy stories in New Hampshire aside, the reason the Union Leader picked up the story was that the littering offender in question was a four-year-old girl. Of course, a four-year-old girl can't be issued a $288 citation, so the ticket was issued to the girl's mother, who was driving at the time. The parents of course are furious. "This isn't funny — it's ridiculous," exclaimed the father, who is rather upset that the police would dare to enforce the law. According to the article:
Carter said he's angry enough to fight the ticket, but would rather see the whole thing dismissed. Even better would be a written apology for what he believes is an overblown reaction to an innocent mistake.
Here's a newsflash for Mr. and Mrs. Carter: You are responsible for the actions of your four-year-old daughter. If you allowed her to have toys and an open car window, resulting in her throwing four items out her car window, that is your fault. You have three choices: Close the stinking window, don't let the kid have small toys while in the car, or pull over every time they throw something out the window and go pick it up. If your kid throws stuff out the window, that is littering, period. What's "ridiculous" and "overblown" is your refusal to take responsibility.

The really sad part about this story is that this whole incident should teach Mr. and Mrs. Carter the lesson that they should keep a better handle on what their child does, but instead they'll probably come away thinking that they were wronged by the government.

Source: New Hampshire Union Leader via Obscure Store
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