Local news reported yesterday about a scientist who successfully appealed his failure-to-stop ticket by explaining how it may have appeared to an officer that he didn’t stop when he actually did. The title of the article was “California scientist uses physics to dodge ticket,” and it explained that “[a] University of California San Diego scientist was able to use his math and physics knowledge to argue his way out of a $400 traffic ticket.” The emphasis is mine.
Here is the scientist’s paper, which is both clear and convincing. The guy is obviously well-educated and articulate, and based on his analysis, it’s tough to disagree with his conclusion that the officer’s perception of reality did not properly reflect reality. After reading the paper and assuming the officer only had his faulty perception on which to base the ticket, no fair judge could reasonably hold the scientist responsible for the alleged violation. The appeal should have succeeded because it had merit. Had it failed, it would have been a glaringly obvious miscarriage of justice.
News media here in Arizona always seems eager to shill for authority, something their bad reporting frequently puts on display. The scientist in yesterday’s article was accused of something for which there existed no reliable evidence. He had the training and intelligence to communicate that, and he prevailed. The media, however, didn’t report on the dismissal of a bogus charge or the failings of a system that didn’t get it right until appeal. Instead, it wrote that he was able to “dodge” and “argue his way out of” the ticket, like he somehow got away something. The fact most people around here get their news from an outlet with such obvious bias toward government should be cause for concern.