Last week, I was driving a colleague from Germany to a business dinner in Rye, NY. On the way, we passed through a gang of police checking every vehicle for compliance with the seatbelt laws. Not fewer that 6 police officers and 4 police vehicles were tied up in this endeavor. My German companion was astonished, and I confirmed to them that this kind of nonsense reminded me of how we were treated in kindergarten when teacher would make sure we had on our galoshes and mittens for the walk home. My companion asked why I did not protest, and I told him, half joking, that the cops would kill me if I did.
Good thing all the real crime has been prevented so that cops have the time and resources for seatbelt checks.
Now I learn from Wally Conger (http://wconger.blogspot.com/2005/08/click-it-or-die.html) that cops have, in fact, killed some poor soul who had a warrant for a seatbelt violation. My kindergarten teacher would never have killed me for violating the mitten and galoshes rules. I feel a lot more queasy about the cops than ever.