- Category: Opinion
- Written by Jim Dee
Lately, I've noted an abundance of radio ads warning citizens to abstain from breaking laws -- especially driving laws. Click It or Ticket, they say, warning about the universally unforgivable sin of driving without a seatbelt. You can now drive a motorcycle 65 mph across much of our country's highway system unhelmeted and gloriously free to burst your own skull like a water balloon at any time; yet it's an $80 fine to drive my Trailblazer six blocks to the local supermarket at 20 mph, unbuckled. For any of you out there keeping score, this is the same lunacy as the " jarts are illegal yet 50 caliber assault rifles aren't " logic.
Or, how about the "don't drink and drive" ads? Hell, everyone knows that drunk driving is illegal. I even heard Paris Hilton has now stopped swilling down her Valtrex with Canadian Club while behind the wheel. So, why do states spend taxpayer money buying radio airtime to remind us all not to break this particular law? Is this everywhere, or just in Pennsylvania?
Oh sure, there are other public reminders of various laws out there. Here in Pittsburgh, there's a huge billboard campaign warning against insurance fraud. I have less of a problem with this, as it's almost certainly funded by the insurance industry. Although, to tell you the truth, I'd rather pay lower insurance rates and not have to see these billboards -- just as I'd rather pay lower taxes and not have to hear reminders not to break certain laws.
There are two kinds of people who break laws: (1) those who ignore them because the law is bogus and thus aren't influenced by ad campaigns, and (2) those who break them because they're bad people, or pushed into the circumstance, but in either case also aren't influenced by ad campaigns. Anti-crime ad campaigns, to me, are about as effective as road signs touting politicians. Vote for Jerry Smith! the sign says. Why should I vote for Jerry Smith? Because his name appears on a friggin' sign? That's not a qualification, last time I checked.
But back to anti-law-breaking ads. Does our government think its citizenry is so evil that we require constant reminders to be law abiding -- even when the laws are totally bogus like the Click It or Ticket stuff? I guess the answer is yes. Or perhaps they know some of these laws are a joke and this is their way of legitimizing them -- via wasteful spending.
But, it does raise the question: If we're going to fund seat belt and DUI warning-ads, then why not fund anti-other-law ads as well? Doesn't anyone else feel bad for all of those other laws for which we're not producing public pleas for restraint? Public masturbation is illegal, for example. Yet I see no road signs or hear no radio ads about that. Or, what about the BIG one ... For example, why isn't this a radio commercial:
HUSBAND: That bastard Ferguson has pissed me off for the last time. Honey, hand me my Smith & Wesson, I'm going to go off his ass. ...
WIFE: Now, dear, you should remember that murder is illegal. You could go to jail if you murder Ferguson, no matter how much of a scumbag he is. Then you'll surely be butt fucked against your will in the communal showers.
HUSBAND: [sighs] Oh ... alright. Ferguson can live.
ANNOUNCER: This reminder of how evil you are was paid for by the Federal Government's Department for the Suppression of Your Natural Urge to Kill.
[Ed. note: A quick thanks to the Google spell checker for gently reminding me that "butt fuck" is two words, not one.]