Friday, October 05, 2007

The sly ones

Coming back from the phleb lab today, I tapped my brakes appropriately when I came around the bend and saw a Princeton Borough cruiser lurking there on the grass side of the street. But then, as I passed it, I could see there was no fuzz in there and it was just our tax dollars at work. The Princeton Police, with its infinite and well-rested staff and its surfeit of late-model cars, left a decoy on the side of the road.

Now, in and of itself, there's nothing really new to that, empty cop cars are often left on the side of the road as a deterrent. But usually they're visible from far away, so that they deter maximally. No no, Princeton is sneakier than that, it hides them so that -- instead of scaring drivers in a specific moment, it instills in them a general fear that there might be a cop lurking behind any corner or hedge. This is not unlike the practice of Stalin's secret police of randomly arresting and killing innocent people who had no idea what they'd done (nothing) just to instill fear in the populace at large. Admittedly, what the Princeton cops do is less fatal. OK. Fine.

But still.

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