There isn’t a lot that sets me off on my soapbox quicker than those people who view the earth as a trashcan and an ashtray. I found some trash under a bridge a month ago and it just plain pissed me off so I called the local code enforcement officer. To my delight and surprise, he not only told me he was interested in the crime but he would be out there, personally, as soon as he could be. Less than an hour later the man arrives, and again, much to my surprise, he has an idea on how to stop people from littering under the bridge. He opens one of the bags, takes digital photos of an electric bill and some other papers, and then calls someone to come collect the garbage. And he asks me to keep an eye out, just to see if it happens again.
A week later there were three or four bags of trash in the same damn place so I call the guy and he comes out again. So what are we going to do here? Just keep taking photos of trash and sit on our hands? Why, no, in point of fact we are not going to do that.
This officer has hidden a camera up on the bridge and it is set to go off by motion. There’s people fishing and stuff like that, but there is also some guy in a beat up blue Ford who parks his truck and drops off his garbage every Friday afternoon, like clockwork.
So law enforcement pulls him in and asks him how his trash got under that bridge. Now, of course it would be illegal for anyone in law enforcement to show me the tape of the man being questioned but apparently he made up some story about someone stealing his garbage and trying to frame him for littering. Oh? Really? Yeah, people are really bad about that sort of thing around here. So they hand him a statement that says he didn’t do it and he signs it and he goes so far as making them write out a compliant that someone stole his trash and he signs that, too.
All the while this guy looks as happy as he can get because there is no way in hell they can prove he did it. The cop is sitting there nodding his head, agree with everything the man has to say and it looks a lot like someone is going to walk out free and clear.
Another cop comes in with a portable DVD player and bubbles are busted and so is this guy, ever so big.
So they give him a plea deal where he can spend one hundred hours on community service, which means five hours a day cleaning up trash every Saturday morning for the next twenty weeks or he can barf up two thousand bucks.
Of course, they couldn’t show me the video of the man walking around under the bridge picking up cigarette butts and putting them in a red solo cup, but the description was vivid. They’re thinking about expanding the program to busting people tossing butts out of car windows at intersections.
I would pay to see that.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit
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