Thursday, December 25, 2008


Isn't Bangkok known for its Draconian law enforcement? Isn't that where they put drug smugglers to death, or at least throw them into jail for life? (Go see the wonderful, scary movie Brokedown Palace, in which Kate Beckinsale and Claire Dane run afoul of the Thai authorities.) I guess that image must be hurting the tourist industry, if the cops are turning themselves into emoticons on motorcycles.

And now check out the approach recently put into play by the resort town of Southampton, on the East End of Long Island:

"Strictly Enforced" is putting it mildly, judging from the picture on this enormous billboard -- one of two flanking Route 27. That cop isn't taking a radar reading of someone's speed; he's in full combat crouch, pointing what can only appear to be a weapon at anyone foolhardy enough not to heed his warning.

The odd thing is that these signs appear on a stretch of road newly widened from two to four lanes -- where the original speed limit was 40, and where the speed limits to the east and west are, respectively, 45 and 55.

New York City adorns its cop cars with the acronym CPR, which stands for "Courtesy, Pride, Respect" -- it's not clear whether that's what they're supposed to be showing the public or whether that's what they're asking for, but a respectable goal either way, if in practice not likely to be attained. But South Hampton might as well stencil RAMBO on its units, if the menacing figure on the billboard is to be taken as a promise of a threat.

So, Officer, don't shoot! I promise to slow down. And consider putting a Smiley Face on that billboard, if you don't want to scare away next summer's beachgoers.