Complete and Total Dick™

Representative Charles McBurneyYesterday, The Miami Herald reported, Lawmaker Complains About Getting Out of Speeding Ticket; Trooper Fired. This one is hard for me to take sides on: an entitled legislator and a cop. Let’s discuss, shall we?

Representative Charles McBurney was screaming down Interstate 10 at almost 90 miles per hour with his special legislator license plate. The woman in the car with him was his wife—unusual for a Republican, but these things do happen. According to McBurney there was no way he was going that fast because he had set his cruise control at only 5 miles over the speed limit. Note: this is one of the most common excuses people give when caught speeding. I figure when people notice their cars have cruise control, they think, “Great! Now I can tell cops I was using cruise control when they pull me over!”

Apparently, in Florida, there is an unwritten but faithfully taught rule that cops don’t give tickets out to legislators. But there is an actually written law that says they have to. Regardless, young Trooper Charles Swindle decided to let Representative McBurney off with a warning. He did, however, ding him for a $10 fine for not displaying his insurance information. And that’s where all the trouble started.

McBurney, Complete and Total Dick™ that he is, wrote to the chief of the Highway Patrol, “I am concerned that as Trooper Swindle acted in such fashion to me, that he would do so to any law-abiding citizen of our state.” There are a couple of problems here. Cops are encouraged to use their discretion in giving out tickets. So there is nothing particularly wrong with this. But more disturbing: McBurney’s problem is not that he wasn’t given a ticket; it is that he was given a warning even though he just knows that he couldn’t have been driving that fast because [insert favor lame excuse for speeding here].

Of course, McBurney is wrong to think that Tropper Swindle (Love that name!) would just go around being nice to normal people. McBurney was only the first state legislator who who he let off. Later that same day, he let off Representative Mike Clelland for going (Again!) almost 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. But Clelland is a Democrat and thus didn’t complain like a hurt boy on the grammar school playground.

I’ll admit that Tropper Swindle is kind of a dick—but he dickishness is all institutional. There is no indication that he is otherwise anything but a reasonable guy. McBurney, however, is a great example of Everything That Is Wrong With Our Society™. If there was a coveted Frankly Curious Dick of the Day award, McBurney would get it! But there isn’t, so he gets what you generally deserves: nothing.

Update (28 March 2013 2:56 pm)

Speaking of a Complete and Total Dick™, I just found this Politico article, ‘Rude’ Lawmaker Louie Gohmert Pulls Rank on Cops Over Parking Ticket. Go ahead and read the article. Gohmert really thinks he is above the law. Amazing but not shocking, because, hey, it’s Louie Gohmert.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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