Uncensored CΛRT Commentary|
by Ed Donath
Treat ‘em like speeders
ATHENS, NY—During a two-month timeframe that corresponded with the meat of the 1997 CΛRT race batting order, this renegade scribe spent a considerable amount of time “on the road” in North America a la the late Charles Kuralt—only without the big Winnebago.
My summer of inter-state/inter-provincial junkets played out on virtually every type of highway. Six crossings of the US/Canada border were included.
Although a concerted effort was made to conduct these road trips as stealthily as possible by utilizing very sensitive anti-police equipment and other ground intelligence, there were, nonetheless, a number of unpleasant contacts with various law enforcement officials; busts that occurred despite any obvious ethnic, racial, or socio-negative red flag-raising characteristics being displayed by either myself or an occasional passenger—unless you care to count a New York license plate as a badge of terrorism.
Only the RCMP officer who pulled me over on the 401 near Ingersoll, Ontario for doubling his national speed limit could be persuaded not to add a Canadian entry to my ever-growing rap sheet.
However, the Mountie’s fellow-Canadian female Customs Agent certainly made up for his leniency by detaining us at the Windsor/Detroit Tunnel border crossing as a result of her perception that we were big-time firearms smugglers. Ironically, the last gun I owned was a black Squeegie; confiscated in 1961 with its water chamber nearly full by my Seventh Grade music teacher, Mrs. Zankowich. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.
What I’m driving at—no pun intended—albeit in a roundabout way, is that it wouldn’t take very much effort to ramp up security within the interior of our nation and at its borders if the revenue-hungry speed patrollers would re-direct their attentions at the far more important and patriotic practice of making it difficult for real criminals and terrorists to travel with impunity.
To his credit, that Mountie didn’t pull me over on the 401 because of a speeding infraction per se. His main reason for the stop was the justifiable suspicion that a car traveling at such a high rate of speed just might be escaping from the scene of a crime or accident. So once his investigation convinced him that I wasn’t “his man” after all, he was OK to cut me loose after a stern-but-polite “Please slow down, eh” warning.
Then there is the issue of airport and building security. While it wouldn’t bother me at all to see machine gun-toting National Guardsmen positioned at strategic airport checkpoints and at the entrances of federal or state buildings, it should be noted that armed guards are never posted at the entrances of CΛRT’s paddocks.
Nonetheless, you’ve never seen anyone without a special ticket or press pass get past the chain-link fence, have you? Rest assured that this security success is not the result of gatekeepers being paid huge salaries. Neither can it be credited to the security guards’ completion of rigorous anti-terrorism training programs.
All the airlines need do to insure that only righteous ticket holders are allowed past the gates is to recruit bouncers from local sports bars and nightclubs—just as speedway owners do.
And what about those annoying retired guys who make sure fans remain behind the yellow line in front of catch fences? They can be pretty bad dudes, as well.
Similarly, our sophisticated night vision-goggled Coast Guard and Border Patrol have nothing on unarmed macho lifeguards who take pride in protecting fence-free beaches against unauthorized intruders.
Come to think of it, there was one act of race venue terrorism that I was able to pull off during the summer of ‘97. I climbed up into the starter’s box at Michigan Speedway the morning of the US 500 and snapped a photo of Jim Swintal’s flags tucked neatly into their compartmentalized rack.
My years of Stairmaster training at the gym really paid off that day. I was already hiding amongst fans 20 rows up in the grandstand by the time the Yellow Line Geezer Patrolman ever issued his walkie-talkie APB.
Copyright © 2003 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.
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