Monday, September 14, 2015

I Don't Think That's Exactly How It's Supposed To Work

Every day I get a form email from somewhere in the deep bowels of the University administration letting me know all the various goings on of the university. It's got stuff about upcoming speakers, new grants people have gotten, and various things to know about happening on campus and in the community. I usually give it a skim at best, but last week I found an actual reason to pay attention to these missives. Here's a screen shot of the section in question:

This…seems like an odd thing to announce in advance. I've actually heard that there's either a local ordinance or even possibly a state law that these things have to be publicized in advance (NOTE: I am far too lazy to spend the 5 minutes on google to determine if this is true or not), but that seems to pretty much destroy the entire purpose of these things, right? I mean, isn't a big part of a DUI checkpoint the elements of surprise*? I mean, if you saw this and then were out drinking that night, wouldn't you just not use that road, thereby greatly diminishing your chance of getting a DUI? Not at all to mention the idea that a DUI checkpoint would probably be a lot more effective on a Friday or Saturday night, right?

As with everything in Morgantown, this seems like a self-defeating, pointless waste of time, but then I'm no policing expert (NOTE: I am technically a policing expert). Nonetheless, if you ever find yourself in Morgantown intent on doing some drinking and driving, I'd recommend checking out where they've announced the checkpoints will be. Unless, of course, it's raining. In that case, you're apparently completely free to drink and drive. Because, come on, the police aren't going to stand outside in the rain. They're not superhuman.

*Semi-related to this: currently there's this ad constantly running on tv about how cops will catch you if you drive drunk. It features a bunch of people in work-type clothes stumbling out of a bar, and then some police painted to look exactly like what they're standing in front of so they blend into the background. So the drunk people, oblivious to these camouflaged police officers, get into their car and drive off, swerving all over, only to end up…at a DUI checkpoint. The voice-over then intonates something to the effect of "If you're driving drunk, the police will see you before you see them." Which while an empirically-flase statement on its face (lots of people drive drunk and never get caught, so they should say that if you drive drunk the police may see you), this makes no sense given the action on screen. Because it's not like the camouflaged police jumped out of the darkness to nab these unsuspecting people; in fact, the camouflage part makes serves no purpose, since the drunk people get caught by a stationary DUI checkpoint that is incredibly visible, with the police wearing bright yellow jackets, and with flares on the road, and cruisers with their flashing lights going. Hell, even in the very narrow sense of the video the voiceover makes is wrong, as the drunk people clearly see the checkpoint before the police there see the drunk people. I get that they're just trying to scare people away from driving drunk, but words mean things! You can't just string together a bunch of tough-sounding phrases when half of them directly contradict the other half! For God's sake, hire an editor! Or proof reader! Or someone who has passed a high school-level logic class!

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