Monday, August 8, 2016

Why Wisniewski – Why? Time to "Walk it Back" on your "Coffee Ban"

Everybody is  talking about the NJ coffee while driving ban – brain child of Bernie lead delegate, John Wisniewski – a Middlesex County Assembly member. 

He is trying to market this repressive legislation under the guise of “educational” and “not about punishment.”  For something that is not about punishment – there are an awful lot of punishments that are part of this purportedly safety minded proposal: $400 $600 or $800 depending upon how many times you took the caffeine at the wheel and got nailed by a trooper or a local yokel.

Plus license suspension.  Remember too that for many struggling workers and out-of-workers in NJ even a couple hundred of fines equals a short jail term in NJ’s debtor jails – I believe the rate is about $50 a day – whereas if you are poor as dirt for example and you have  $500 fine that you can not pay – you can often jail it off for 10 days sentence.

But this is about more than coffee. 

Technically it is already illegal to be doing distracting things like coffee or whatever while you drive but this will make it for a citable offense meaning you can get pulled over for it.  No doubt there are several other infractions built in – like is it just coffee or does it include water, a sports beverage or tea or hot cocoa?  Probably all.  And what about changing the station or quickly looking over to make sure your son is buckled in.

Basically what it comes down to – Wisniewski – intentionally or otherwise – is giving NJ cops another excuse and cover for racial profiling and other forms of harassment or investigative “look see” policing.

The judicial gives wide leeway to cops doing whatever they want on the highways and byways already.  Many – including those who are Black and Brown – in NJ and throughout the nation are already a little nervous about driving – having experienced the wrath of police stops and having watched the ravages of trigger happy policing of pull overs on the nightly you tubes.

One more reason now they have for random stops – I thought I saw him look down at a drinking receptacle, I noticed his eyes shift from the road, I saw a water bottle in the cup holder . . .
Boom – instant pull over excuse.  Opens the door to the daily dalliance between civilian drivers and the armed (with weapons and with impunity) officers in blue or grey or brown.

So why is Wisniewski – the guy that led NJ progressives for Sanders and spoke at community meetings about the need to fight for change sponsoring this?  Is this some guise to get cops more overtime hours?  Is there some sort of “real reason” deep police investigative strategy going on?  The safety angle sound s somewhat superficial in these days of daily confrontations between zealous, often racist and corrupt police and civilians just trying to go to work or enjoy the pursuit  of happiness.

Why Wisniewski – why?

Better yet – wake up and realize you made a mistake and walk it back.

We need decarcerating action from politicians – especially those that want to claim the progressive mantle – not more excuses to increase the tension between police and civilian drivers at a time when this issue is a major contributor to community anger.

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