Sunday, January 08, 2006


Your tax dollars at work #546

I had an interesting (albeit infuriating) conversation today with a sometimes riding buddy of mine who owns an aviation maintenance company at Midland (TX) International Airport. It seems he has contracts to work on several law enforcement aircraft, including a helicopter owned by one of the local departments, and being a motorcyclists, has had multiple conversations with the LEO pilots concerning local sportbikers.

As the story goes, these helicopters and their hi-tech gear are being utilized for the surveillance of sportriders -- often from miles away -- with infrared cameras. My friend said the officers had shown him videotape of 15 or 16 bikes parked on the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere as two other motorcycles drag raced.

“You could mainly see the infrared hot spots on the videotape,” he remarked. “But it was definitely sportbikes.”

The tale caused me a silent anger far beyond my ability to fully articulate it. These bored LEOs, with apparently no real matters of law enforcement to contend with, are spending taxpayer moneys to the tune of around $2,000 per hour of aircraft operation to spy on a bunch of harmless motorcyclists doing a little late-night drag racing out in the desert, miles away from civilization. Behold, your tax dollars at work.

As for street racing being illegal, that’s another issue for another day. My main beef is that there has been a rash of unsolved burglaries and other crime in both Midland and Odessa since the beginning of the 2005 holiday season, and rather than doing their jobs, these guys are apparently out in their whirlybirds playing ‘I Spy’ all night while fiddling with expensive, unnecessary toys that were purchased by the likes of you and me.

At this point in American history, tales of government waste often come as no surprise to the complacent, desensitized ears of the American public. I suppose that’s the way of things these days, but it shouldn’t stop us from stopping it. Demand fiscal and civil responsibility by government, before we allow ourselves to be whipped into Orwellian submission at their hands.


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