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Anti-Speed Camera Activist Buys Police Department's Web Domain 680

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-bought-the-law dept.
Brian McCrary just bought a website to complain about a $90 speeding ticket he received from the Bluff City PD — the Bluff City Police Department site. The department let its domain expire and McCrary was quick to pick it up. From the article: "Brian McCrary found the perfect venue to gripe about a $90 speeding ticket when he went to the Bluff City Police Department's website, saw that its domain name was about to expire, and bought it right out from under the city's nose. Now that McCrary is the proud owner of the site, bluffcitypd.com, the Gray, Tenn., computer network designer has been using it to post links about speed cameras — like the one on US Highway 11E that caught him — and how people don't like them."

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Anti-Speed Camera Activist Buys Police Department's Web Domain

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  • What a schmuck. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @10:59AM (#32496904) Homepage Journal

    Domain hijacking isn't cute, particularly for something so petty as a parking ticket.

    I wonder why the city had a .com to begin with - it would've been more appropriate to have a .us or .gov

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @11:12AM (#32497086)

    Let's say he was speeding.
    What's your point?

    Laws are funny things. An offense against the State, an imaginary entity, is considered a violation of the law.

    Now these laws are designed to keep people safe right?

    Did he hurt anyone? The answer is no. He was driving over the speed limit. No one was hurt and no property was damaged. Is there a need for justice? Restitution?

    I think the law is stupid and I don't follow it. I also am prepared to pay for the penalties.

    I won't follow unjust laws.

    This goes with

  • by mea37 (1201159) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @11:12AM (#32497096)

    Traffic law enforcement is a complicated issue in my mind. I don't have a lot of sympathy for speeders who don't like paying speeding tickets, but I do think there's a reason that speeding is the only moving violation you really see enforced these days (and I don't think "safety" has much to do with it).

    That aside, there are lots of things wrong with typical camera-enforcement schemes. They tend to be operated by private firms who profit off of the tickets. (This is a bigger problem with red-light cameras, because light timings can be manipulated for revenue-genration purposes, but I digress...)

    Also, they usually don't even try to prove who's driving. For example, here in St. Louis County, a camera-enforced ticket is a non-moving violation. It's like a parking ticket - the ticket is against the vehicle, not the driver. They don't try to prove who's driving and they don't care - the owner of the vehicle gets the ticket. This also means no points on the license; the "enforcement" is purely monitary.

  • Re:Uhh.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Myopic (18616) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @11:35AM (#32497536)

    He gets enjoyment for the $80. He got nothing but frustration for the $90. Sounds to me like the former is money well spent, and the latter not so much.

  • by TomXP411 (860000) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @11:40AM (#32497624)
    Technically, squatting isn't competition. It's extortion: they're forcing you to pay an excessive amount for something that should cost $6. I was looking for a business domain a while back, and I couldn't believe how many domain names were being squatted on. Anything even remotely related to business was already taken, most of them by squatters. We ended up paying a squatter $1000 to get the name that this business legally owned a trademark to. I wonder what would happen if the first-time registration costs for .com was raised significantly and the "free refund" policy was revoked, forcing squatters actually pay for resources they're effectively stealing. Apparently, a lot of squatters play the float - they register and then unregister domain names just inside the free refund period. Between that and the $6 registration fee, one person can tie up hundreds of domain names very cheaply.
  • Re:Use ads (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @11:50AM (#32497828)
    That would be called harassment, and pretty soon you'd find a district attorney involved.
  • Step 2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @11:54AM (#32497918)
    Buy all sorts of iterations of Bluff City PD to make it veritably impossible to get their web presensce back. This is actually a funny, passive aggressive prank and it will teach the police a lesson about responsibility. Citizens still have some freedoms and Brian McCrary did absolutely nothing wrong!
  • Up here in Dallas, they seem to set speed limits based on driving revenue. Central Expressway, I-35(E/W), and 635 are all 60 MPH. Dallas North Tollway, 121, and PGBT are 70. The difference being you pay about $1.50 per 10 miles on the latter group. Gee, wonder why they upped the speed limit? Maybe to get more people to use them and get more money for the NTTA?

    Doesn't stop everyone and their brother from doing 85 on Central, of course.

  • Re:What a schmuck. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @12:02PM (#32498090)

    I wonder why the city had a .com to begin with - it would've been more appropriate to have a .us or .gov

    Well, since the police became a tool for revenue generation, it would seem that .com is highly appropriate.

  • Re:How come... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @12:18PM (#32498420)

    Erm... sorry man but I have to point out that the National Speed Limit of 55mph was intended to reduce gasoline consumption by 2.2% in response to the 1973 oil crisis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Maximum_Speed_Law

    So in this case the "reason" wasn't safety, it was financial which I believe may be in line with the main article and the opinion of many other posters here.

  • by virtualXTC (609488) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @12:25PM (#32498586) Homepage

    With some googling I found out that in the year 2000 [unitedjustice.com] 15,517 people were murdered while 41,611 died in car accidents. That means that if we could prevent all car accidents the benefit in human lives would be almost three times greater.

    You might only be driving 55 on a 50 mph zone, but a lot of people are driving much faster and statistics show it is fairly dangerous.

    Where are these stastics that say ignoring the speed limit and driving the road for what it was built for is "fairly dangerous"? I seem to have found some statistics that claim quite the opposite [gov.bc.ca](pdf warning).

    Moreover, by your rationale, I shouldn't be allowed to eat butter or salt as more people die from heart attacks than from car accidents or murders combined. Or to flip it, since you'll likely try to spin this as something I'm doing to you; no one should be allowed to serve things containing cholesterol or salt.

    -- ...only life can kill you

  • by Odinson (4523) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @12:32PM (#32498688) Homepage Journal
    Kinda like testing a banking program for buffer overflows by sequentially adding incremental sums. Doesn't reflect real life risk. Want actual safety? Real simple. Send a bug report in for every single crash. Every crash earns someone a point ticket (or several). There are no accidents, only errors and oversights. Either equipment failed or somebody overestimated. Ticket! Use bad judgment AND break a rule? Two tickets. Know yourself and your vehicle, or pay the price.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @12:52PM (#32499098)

    If it were about safety, then cops would be issuing criminal citations. I once got nailed by a "speed van," where a COP was sitting in a plain van (because drivers are too alert to speed by marked police cars), radaring and photographing cars, and then the owners (usually the drivers, as it was in my case) would get their civil citations in the mail 3 weeks later. Think about this: a cop (public safety official) observed something supposedly unsafe, and then didn't do anything to stop it?! He thought I was a danger to other people, and then let me go on doing the same thing for 3 weeks without even a warning?

    Imagine if I can killed someone down the road from there. Would people be screaming about that cop who knew there was a public menace but then didn't do anything, like some kind of pre-9/11 FBI fuckup?

    I can understand a non-cop not wanting a confrontation, but for a cop, that's part of the job and they have the initimidating power. Ergo, one can conclude that nobody, neither the cop nor the city councilors who enacted the ordinance, actually thought there was a true safety issue. If they thought there was a safety issue, they would have made the policy be that .. oh this is sooo radical! -- cops confront and ticket speeders.

  • by pluther (647209) <pluther@u s a . net> on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @01:30PM (#32499782) Homepage

    A drivers license is proof of identity and citizenship.

    No, it is not.

    While it is true that sometimes the border guards along the Mexican border of the U.S. will let you back in without a passport, just a license, they don't have to. It mostly depends on their mood, how polite you are to them, and the color of your skin.

    What's really fun is when you're traveling in a car with several other people and they decide to let some of you back in because you remembered your passports, but keep the ones who didn't bring theirs until they can prove their citizenship.

  • by nbauman (624611) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @01:42PM (#32500002) Homepage Journal

    I live in Houston on I-10, and due to a huge environmental/safety push they lowered the speed limit from 70 to 55. It was a joke, the highway is built for speed and it has excellent lines of visibility and intelligently designed merging sections, and they make you crawl down it.

    The highway may be built for speed, but the cars are not.

    Standard cars can survive a front-end collision at about 50mph, and much above that they start to fall apart. They have about 50 inches of crush space in the front, and it takes all 50 inches to decelerate a car from 50mph. Above 50 mph, the engine goes through the passenger compartment and the passenger compartment falls apart. Once the passenger compartment falls apart, the likelihood of survival is much lower -- almost nil. There are engineering limits to the accident speed that you can design a car to survive.

    The most dangerous accident is a rollover. Even if you're wearing a seat belt, there's a lot of energy to dissipate and it's impossible to design a car to reliably protect passengers in a rollover at speeds above 50mph.

    But when auto engineers collect 100 reports of fatal or near-fatal accidents, they can see clear patterns and one pattern is that fatalities increase sharply above 50mph, for reasons that make a good high school physics class. (The classical paper is by Nils Bolin in the Stapp Car Crash Proceedings in 1967, if you want to look for it on the Internet.)

    There's the old question of what speed do you want to drive at and how many lives do you want to sacrifice for it. With the present speeds we lose (Fermi estimate) 50,000 lives a year. So we're talking about a lot of lives.

    You can say, "It's my life and it's my decision what risks I want to take." I'm sympathetic to that.

    The problem with that is that most people have a very poor sense of what the risks actually are. You drive on the highway all the time and it *looks* safe, and you've never had any trouble. Life-threatening accidents are rare events. You might have only 1 or 2 accidents like that in your entire life -- and just 1 is enough. You're like the guy who jumps off the 50-story building and passing by the 10th floor says, "OK so far!" But you're going to be driving at night, in bad weather, after a couple of drinks, after a prescribed medication, talking on the phone, while sleepy, with mechanical failures. All it takes is one time.

    The other problem is that you're sharing the road with other people. First, if you're driving fast, you're going to hurt them more if they have an accident. Second, they have to keep up with your traffic flow.

    65mph was probably the best compromise they could get, but above 55mph you're exceeding the designed crashworthiness limits of the car. It's like climbing without a rope. If you get into the fatal crash of your life, you'll be dead or severely injured. You probably know people who have died in auto accidents above 50mph. Was it worth it?

  • by dajalas (244809) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @03:44PM (#32501780)

    1) Demand a jury trial.
    2) When called to serve on a jury, vote to acquit the defendant if a speeding camera is involved.
    3) Contribute to and vote for politicians who will remove the cameras.
    4) Repeat until speeding cameras are withdrawn

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:18PM (#32502332)

    We in Europe have the German Autobahn. It's a real-life test what happens when, in low-population areas and on low-traffic roads, you remove the speed limits altogether. They have comparable accident rates to most nearby countries that enforce a 50mph limit when you enter the country.

    It's a fun race track too - my personal top is 130mph downhill. In a car that's so small they won't consider selling it in the US (Seat Ibiza). And, it runs on the fuel of demons (Diesel).

    Maybe we'll just let you stick with the idiotic limits, petrol powered guzzling SUVs. We'll drive the quick nimble and fuel efficient small diesels on roads without speed limits. You'll even get to keep the name "Land of the Free".

  • by moortak (1273582) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @06:37PM (#32504092)
    Average call to shock time in Milwaukee is 8.6 minutes. That is call until paramedics are at the door. Police times aren't tracked in Milwaukee, but Cleveland, Atlanta, Detroit, Baltimore, and St. Louis, which aren't exactly known for their police response all average well under 20. I sincerely doubt that Milwaukee takes more than four times as long as any of those cities. When you compare the number of tickets issued with overall crimes rates there isn't any relationship. http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2006/2006-048.pdf [stlouisfed.org] shows tickets increasing, during a time when crime rates fell. It doesn't seem that those two are all that closely related.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:20AM (#32507128) Journal
    "So, is "reckless driving" related for driving too fast for reaction/stop times or is it related to tailgating, aggressive driving, and weaving in and out of traffic"

    Both.

    "I hypothesize that more accidents are caused by said aggressive, distracted, impaired, or unskilled driving outnumber accidents genuinely caused by speed way more by several orders of magnitude. But such a study will never be conducted on the fear that police will lose justification for bullshit speed traps."

    I grew up in 1960's Australia. There were few cars, no seatbelts, few speed limits and nobody cared about drunk drivers until after the accident had occured. In my state of Victoria the highest ever road toll was in 1969, 1500+ people.

    In 1970 madatory seatbelts were introduced, and during the 70's there were a lot more cars and speed limits. By the end of the decade the roll toll was hovering around 1000.

    During the 80's speed cameras and booze busses were added and society in general became less tollerant of drunk drivers. The road toll at the end of the 80's was down to ~600.

    In 1990 they started a "shock value" advertising campaign (search for "TAC advertisments" on youtube) that shows people the most common ways of killing themself and others with a car, 2 years later the road toll had dropped to where it is now 300-400. In that first 2yrs the TAC* also saved $2B in payouts for deaths and injuries. The ad campaign is still running today.

    Of course this is based on deaths but injuries have also seen seen similar drops.

    The evolution of regulations over the last 40yrs here has seen deaths drop by 70-80% while at the same time the total number of cars must be at least 10X what it was 40yrs ago. Sure, getting a ticket is annoying, but to say they are ineffective in cutting the road toll is complete bullshit.

    * TAC = Transport accident commission, basically a state run insurance company that imposes mandatory third party insurance for death and injury as part of the car's registration fee.

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