U.S. Government Today: Two Vignettes From Real Life …

government Service

government Service

A charming grandmother of our acquaintance needed, she informed us, to renew her drivers’ license. Her time allotted for that was to expire at the end of this month. So she drove across the city to the nearest Motor Vehicle office provided by her state to accomplish her renewal. Upon her arrival, she was surprised; the usual lengthy line of folk awaiting attention was missing. Most unusual!

She selected the requisite application from the stack on the counter, completed it and handed it to the clerk. “Sorry,” said that functionary, “Our computers are down; we can’t process this.” Apparently there is something in the air of that state that is antipathetic to computers; the story is not a new one for applicants for state services. The clerk said that the computer outage was statewide and that she had no idea how long it might continue. Our acquaintance then responded that she had but a few days before her allotted renewal time expired and asked what she should do? The helpful clerk shrugged and said: “All that I can tell you is that when your time is up, you must stop driving.”

Our second story was reported in the city’s newspaper recently. A 28 year old man was seen walking along a city street, on the sidewalk in an area with little sidewalk traffic. He was carrying a pellet gun. Those, for the uninformed, are more sophisticated versions of the BB gun (or air rifle) mostly used by young boys. A shot from one could blind an eye, but they are killing weapons mainly for birds. In the instant case, the man carrying the pellet gun stopped once to fire at a glass bottle on the ground and continued on his way. He did not point the pellet gun at anyone, nor make threatening gestures with it. And at this point, he left the scene.

But the scene did not forget him. His presence was called in to the emergency report 911 service, requesting police protection. The police duly arrived and closed off the street, while a neighborhood school was shut down. Officers came and searched for him. In short, a great Panic Party was held for the entire area for some hours. The actual shooting victim, the bottle, had not complained.

Eventually, the police retreated empty-handed, the school reopened, the street barricades were removed and things returned to what passes these days, for normal.

The city’s newspapers ran the story the next day. Somehow, the report reached the “gunman” who then duly reported to the police. That was several days ago; He was immediately arrested, charged with a felony and jailed. He remains there at this writing. If he is a habitual criminal or was wanted for anything else, our newspaper did not report that.

These are real, not apocryphal, stories from the immediate present. They are not rare events, either; they are if anything, at least in our judgment, rather typical of government. Which politicians assure us, is only there to ‘help’ us.

At this point, we leave you to ponder these true life events for yourself while recalling that the government functionaries who carry out these and all other government-involved events, are financed by the citizens whom they are said to serve … and at no little expense, too.

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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3 Responses to U.S. Government Today: Two Vignettes From Real Life …

  1. I can’t tell much about either story because vital information is missing. Computer outages are extremely common in all states, but they ordinarily do not last for more than a few hours at worst. Why would there be an expectation of one lasting for days? If there was, wouldn’t that get reported by your local news?

    Secondly, you gave no indication of what your local laws are concerning firing air rifles in public. I have no way of telling whether your police overreacted, or are just following the law as it stands. In my little town of 9,000 no firing means no firing of any projectile, period, within city limits. That also means no paintball guns, no lawn darts, no bows and arrows either. We have a lot of deer and other wildlife walking through town, and they are a tourist draw, so we protect them from potential harm.

    • Jack Curtis says:

      Well, the Motor Vehicle event occurred today and the shutdown was (or remans) of unpredictable length; no one waited to see an end. It has been a fairly regular issue.
      The ‘gunman’ was charged with a felony; shooting the bottle was a misdemeanor. In my own opinion, everyone overreacted and have covered their embarrassment at the man’s expense. A bunch of chicken littles finding a scapegoat … But that is only my view. Both events are real, current and seem fairly typical of today, at least to me.

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