Opinion — Unintended consequences – death!

Published 1:45 pm Thursday, March 3, 2022

Sometimes readers wonder if what happens in Richmond and Washington will really affect their lives. This past week, there are horrible examples of the consequences of poor decisions.

In Mecklenburg County, we needlessly lost a young man that had his future before him in a needless wreck, leaving loved ones to mourn. To understand what happened, one needs to look back two years ago when the Democrats took control of both the House and the Senate and controlled a compliant Governor. Liberals decided that traffic laws were racist. They looked at statistics showing minorities were being stopped at a disproportionately higher rate than other drivers. They didn’t try to research the data beyond race to determine what type of stops were occurring and were there mitigating factors. Their sole interest was to do something with no consideration of the safety of others on the road.

The “something” they chose to do was to tie the hands of law enforcement. Among the actions they chose to take was to change many traffic offenses into secondary offenses rather than primary offenses. Put another way, an officer can visibly see that the law is being broken, but they are barred from stopping a driver unless they catch them speeding or driving recklessly.

This brings us to the wreck that killed a young man. The driver of the other vehicle had modified it to raise the front illegally higher than the rear. This limits the driver’s sightline directly in front of them. When one crests a hill, frequently they can see nothing but sky. Reports are this is exactly what happened last week. By the time the driver may have been able to see the road ahead, he had crossed onto the wrong side of the road, crashing head-on into the path of the other driver. His jacked-up vehicle going over and crushing the innocent driver and his vehicle.

This has many asking why there is no law against what is referred to as the “Carolina squat” modification. There is! It has been on the books for decades. Experienced State Troopers told me they always carry a measuring rod. If a vehicle appeared to be above the legal limit of about 20 inches from the road surface, they wrote them a ticket. Their goal and the purpose of the law was not to harass but rather for the safety of others on the road. If one vehicle’s bumper is significantly higher or lower than the norm, then the bumper cannot do that for which it is designed.

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear a bill that would return focus to safety rather than equity. The House has agreed, now the Senate must.

MEANWHILE IN WASHINGTON

As in Richmond, when Washington is focused on the wrong things it leads to disastrous results. After President Biden was sworn into office, he blocked avenues that had made America an energy exporter. Such as blocking the Keystone Pipeline and limiting the opening of new areas for the exploration of oil and natural gas. This has caused prices to skyrocket, which in turn has enriched Russia, enabling Putin to bring war and death to the people of Ukraine. The prices that we see at the gas pumps today will be dwarfed if the war continues for long.

An American economy that has struggled to recover from the impact of Covid and the questionable policies stemming from the virus will once again push our economy to the brink.

After our deadly retreat from Afghanistan, Putin and President Xi Jinping of China concluded that America has been weakened under the presidency of Joe Biden. We should expect that the attack on Ukraine will be followed by continuing threats toward Taiwan.

IN SUMMARY

Public policy is important to each and every one of us. Some think that what we do in the political process means nothing to them. They believe they can ignore what is happening in Richmond and Washington. They believe they don’t need to vote.

The results of what happened in the elections of 2019, 2020 and 2021 are perfect examples of why you need thoughtful people representing you. All must be aware that elections have consequences, and those consequences can be a risk to you and your family.

FRANK RUFF JR. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen. Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.