Back when I lived in Texas, I drove a beat-up 1985 Ford Crown Victoria station wagon. It looked like the Everymom car, so I decided to personalize it with a few bumper stickers and lots and lots of paint markers. (On two occasions my neighbors reported my car as having been vandalized, but it was actually my own doing.) Paint markers are great for cars, because they wash off when you go through a high-powered car wash.

The police officer who pulled me over at 2 am apparently didn't like my car. As he handed me a ticket for driving with a missing headlight, he made a sarcastic remark about one of my bumper stickers.

That made me mad.

So I went to court to fight the ticket. I had to drive an hour outside of Austin, to some podunk town that consisted entirely of a feed store, town hall, court house, and gas station, all sharing a lonely crossroads.

The officer and court officials were a little baffled as to why this goth boy was fighting what seemed like a cut-and-dry traffic ticket. The prosecution went first, confirming that I was ticketed for driving with a burnt-out headlight after sunset and before sunrise. Their curiosity piqued as my turn to speak arrived.

I said simply that I had been on my way home that night, and that my headlight had burnt out while I was en route. There being no 24-hour auto parts stores nearby, I had little choice about that. I continued by stating that under normal circumstances, my "offence" would deserve a warning rather than a ticket. So why would the officer decide to ticket me? Well, I told the judge that the officer apparently "disagreed with a political statement that he saw on the back of my car." The judge asked me why I thought that, and I told him about the cop making a snide remark about it as he handed me the ticket.

There is justice in the world sometimes, even in a small town in Texas. The judge turned on the officer and began yelling at him about the Bill of Rights! Luckily the judge didn't ask me what the sticker had said... "There's No Government Like No Government".

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