I recently discovered a new Wisconsin laws that says that you can be stopped and fined if your trailer-ed boat has its drain-plug in. (They think that they can regulate the movement of zebra mussels and other invasive species. Good luck with that.)
In the magazine article that I discovered this new law in (reading the actual rules and regulations is painful and confusing) the writer commented that there are two ways to deal with being stopped by the cops or game wardens: be very cooperative even to illegal searches or to be polite but ask for warrants before agreeing to be searched.
This reminded me of reading one of P.J. O'Rourke's books in which he commented on roadblocks in very poor countries. It seems that the guys manning some roadblocks will shoot you if you try to evade the roadblock at speed, and so you must stop. At other roadblocks you'll be robed or forced to bribe the roadblockers or you'll get shot, and so you should bypass these at speed. And both styles of roadblocks look the same, so how are you supposed to know which is which?
How are we supposed to know whether to agree to illegal searches or which questions to answer when we deal with police?
Its not too difficult to find awful cops. And I overhead a guy last week, who had just returned from the army, say that he wanted to be a cop, but too many of them are so bad that he did not want to be involved with them. And one of the largest drug operations in Wisconsin was ended a year, or so, ago when the offending cops were arrested.
My heart nearly stops every time I see a police car, and I've never committed any crimes (other than speeding and not having a front license plate).
Then we keep giving the cops more laws to enforce: no talking on cell phones, seat belts required, drunk drivers are worse than pedophiles, etc.
Trivial problems like not wearing a seat belt (it can harm no one but yourself) would have been ignored by cops years ago, or so I'm told. But no possible good can come from dealing with cops today, at best you'll be left with only having lost several minutes to being questioned.
I'd like to ask whoever it was that told me last week that we are more laissez faire than we used to be to repeat that claim.