Friday, December 09, 2005

In Atlanta: Stupid law, stupider enforcement

Textbook example of why more government is a bad thing.
Subway Rider Busted for Selling a Token

Transit police handcuffed and cited a man who sold a $1.75 subway token to another rider who was having trouble with a token vending machine. Transit authority spokeswoman Jocelyn Baker said Friday that the officer "acted within the law" after he spotted Donald Pirone, 42, selling the token Nov. 30 inside the West End subway station.

Instead of giving Pirone a warning, the officer decided to handcuff him and give him the misdemeanor citation under a 1992 state law that bars passengers from selling Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority tokens, she said.

"What you've got to keep in mind is that fare abuse is a chronic problem," Baker said. "It costs MARTA millions of dollars every year."

Baker acknowledged that Pirone sold the token at face value and did not make a profit. But the law is the law, she said.

Pirone told an Atlanta radio station that he'd tried to give the man the token but the man insisted on paying its value.

First, Jocelyn Baker should be forced to explain "fare abuse" and how it "costs MARTA millions of dollars." Unless there's someone out there stealing tokens or counterfeiting tokens it's hard to believe that scalping a MARTA token does any damage. If, for example, Pirone had offered the token at half-off, he still would have had to buy it from MARTA, and the loss would be his. If he offers to sell it for twice the amount, he stills has to buy it, and the loss would be the buyer's.

If the transportation system is simply trying to legislate against greed and/or charity by banning the use of its "currency," it is over-stepping its mandate.

Which is what good little bureaucrats do. All the time.


At 11:14 PM, Blogger The Phantom said...

Your point is correct.

The worst enemy of good law enforcement is a police officer who is stupid, who lacks judgement. That is the case here.

At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think this case is a farce, be sure to contact Judge Stepanie Davis, who bound it over for trail, and Fulton County Solicitor Carmen D. Smith, who brought the charges. Betters yet, vote for their opponents in the next election.


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