No longer content to merely send the Sheriffs of Nottingham out into the field to collect gold, police departments increasingly are turning to cameras to do the job for them. Local hero Timothy Hill, of Grassington, North Yorkshire, England, isn’t on board with that approach, though. In a bold display of the same revolutionary spirit that animated those who created this side of the pond, Hill outfitted his Range Rover with a laser jammer to prevent the cameras from clocking his speed. For good measure, he offered a one-finger salute as he passed by them.
Rather than recognizing the stupidity of going to such lengths to raise money calm traffic and hosting a parade in honor of this modern day revolutionary, local authorities arrested Hill and sentenced him to eight months in prison for his willingness to embrace freedom and the open road. Ruminate on that for a moment. A man driving on roads he paid for found a way to circumvent Big Brother, albeit only slightly, and is now being sent to prison for his ingenuity and daring. For eight months.
As Federalist publisher Ben Domenech wrote, “This is why we rebelled.”
Seriously, the guy flipped off some inanimate objects while possibly speeding and that constitutes, according to the judge who sentenced him, a “strike at the heart” of the justice system. On what side of Oceania is that statement, and not the “crime,” not the real strike at the heart of the justice system?
Wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, before there could be a conviction, there had to be an arrest. Before the arrest, there had to be an investigation. Which is to say, we’re not just talking about a brave man being jailed for bravely fighting against intrusive injustice, we’re talking about a situation in which that man was first investigated and then arrested. For thwarting some speed cameras, he was interviewed not once, not twice, but three times.
Then there was the trial at which the judge declared the surveillance state über alles. From there, we get to the sentencing, not for speeding but for perverting the course of justice, and the jail time. Presumably there were some attorneys and other professionals involved in all this, which means there were definitely some costs associated with sending the man to prison for eight months for outsmarting some technology.
As to those costs, they’re not even close. According to Gov.UK, the minimum penalty for a speeding ticket is £100, or about $140 in U.S. dollars. Assuming that three tickets would have increased the penalty, there’s still no way the local government came out financially ahead with this outcome.
When it comes to control, though, and making sure citizens know who’s in charge, the message was loud and clear and the government did come out ahead. It came out rather handsomely, to be sure. It may be after 1983, the year in which all Brits became some form of citizen, but they are citizens in name only. When it comes to the law, to the Sheriffs of Nottingham and the ruling class, they remain subjects.
Timothy Hill pled guilty and will serve his time. His lesson will serve as an example for others who don’t mind law enforcement by Alexa. But for the rest of the country, and for those of us on this side of the pond who see the threat of mission creep here, it should offer us a different sort of cautionary tale. The digital boot is on the accelerator, without the same restraints as the citizenry, and it won’t stop until it is stamping on all our faces.