Getting Away With Murder

Two deaths and two injuries. That’s what happens when you text and drive. The punishment for such a heinous act? 30 months probation, two years paid salary and possible personal injury workers’ compensation. No, the perpetrator is not God — just a state trooper.

Former Illinois State Trooper Matt Mitchell crossed over the median and hit a car carrying four teens head-on — at 126 mph, while sending text messages to, and reading messages from, girlfriend.  Mitchell pleaded guilty and only received thirty months probation. In the current system, pleading guilty to even completely obvious crimes with dozens of witnesses gets you a lesser punishment.

Because Mitchell was “doing his job” as a state trooper, he may be eligible to receive state mandated workers’ compensation in addition to two years of salary.  According to attorneys, even if an accident occurs when the employee is negligent, exercises poor judgment, or even is found to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, workers’ compensation is in order.

Others who have texted, driven a vehicle and killed have faced much more serious consequences than Mitchell. Craig Bigos of Taunton, Massachusetts killed a 13 year old boy under similar circumstances. He was charged with motor vehicle homicide. Like Mitchell, he was sentenced to 30 months … in jail, not on probation. If anything, the circumstances of his crime were less damning than Mitchell’s: He struck the child at night in an alley, where visibility was more of an issue .

Cases involving texting and driving are not only disastrous to those directly affected, but also pose a threat to liberty and serve as an excuse for expansion of government. It only takes a few of these accidents in the news to inspire campaigns for police crackdowns and new legislation. A media hysteria campaign can make it seem reasonable for the police to level up their Big Brother status.

There are quite a few solutions to texting and driving that could exist without government.  Certainly risky behavior should not be controlled due to its nature, but there are simple market incentives for indirect maintenance.  For instance, with insurance in a completely free market, perhaps companies would not cover such accidents, resulting in a strong incentive to be a focused driver.  It would not be advantageous to irresponsibly kill innocent people; there would be extreme costs incurred from doing so.  Results would often include ostracism, public scrutiny and media attention, tarnishing the image of the reprehensible aggressor.

Want to get away with murder?  Become a member of the state’s apparatus of rulership, act as if you’re doing “official business,” and then you can even get compensation for any injuries obtained!  No conspiracy even required.

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