Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. They Called the Police on Me Because of COVID-19 Restrictions

 

On Sunday, I went to the town transfer station (the dump) to dispose of some old boards that I had loaded into my trailer. The station’s supervisor called the police on me. I do not appreciate being treated like a criminal for going to the transfer station.

I drove into the transfer station and waited for the supervisor to come over to my car, and I asked him where I should put the boards, most of which were half rotten. He said they were not taking construction debris (“CD”) anymore. I asked if I should put the boards in the household trash compactor in that case. He said no, I would have to go home. I suggested that since my debris was all natural wood I could dispose of it in the brush pile. He grew exasperated and asked me, “why do you have to be like this?” And told me I could not leave the boards anywhere. I was also exasperated, and hyperbolically said I wasn’t leaving without putting the boards in either the open CD containers, the compactor, or the brush pile, and asked what was he going to do about it. He called the police. 

I stayed and waited for the police officer to arrive because I didn’t want him to think, or me to feel like, I had “fled the scene.” To be honest, I don’t think anyone has ever called the police on me before and I was confused how to act, especially because I don’t view going to the transfer station as nefarious.

To be clear, my grievance is not with the supervisor or the police officer. And I told that to them both and I believe that we were OK by the time I left. 

My problem is with the town’s board of selectmen. The board has arbitrarily and capriciously ordered that the transfer station not take CD. The reason the supervisor gave me for this decision was, to paraphrase slightly, “to maintain distancing and protect us [the employees] and you [the townspeople] from infection.”

This makes no logical sense. The CD containers are outside and there’s no reason to come within 50 feet of another person when unloading your trailer. It’s the compactor for household trash where you’re much more likely to come close to another person. Yet the household trash compactors (also outdoors) remain open for use. In fact, while I was speaking to the supervisor and the police officer I observed numerous town residents coming in close proximity with each other and with transfer station employees. I pointed this out and the police officer told me that the distancing guidelines are optional. So the guidelines are optional at the compactor but not the CD containers? This is maddening.

Do we really want to live in a society where you have the police called on you for going to the transfer station? (Even if you get angry and say something slightly bombastic but don’t actually start chucking wood off your trailer in the middle of the parking lot?) It wasn’t exactly fun to stand there being confronted by an armed police officer while countless fellow town residents drove by, assuming who knows what about the reasons I appeared to be under interrogation. The police officer is very professional, but let’s be honest: When the police are called, the threat of arrest (loss of liberty) is always present. We have all seen the videos from across the nation of people being arrested for no good reason: for paddle-boarding alone in the ocean, for letting their children play on a playground, for playing catch with their daughter in a park, for sitting on the beach.

It’s time to fully reopen the transfer station, the rest of the town, our states, and our country.

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  1. EODmom Coolidge

    This is an example of why I have been harassing our (mutual) Governor with emails. It’s just wrong and wrong headed. I know he’s not listening to me but so far I’m not blocked. Maybe I’ll see you in Concord next weekend. Meantime there is no doubt in my mind that small town bureaucrats will fight to the end to retain power over what amounts to fish bones – the smallest bone a dog could fight over. We will have to wrench it out of their hands one way or another. 

    • #1
    • April 26, 2020, at 1:25 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  2. Buckpasser Member
    BuckpasserJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    We are very close to some serious “uncivil disobedience”.

    • #2
    • April 26, 2020, at 1:33 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  3. Roderic Reagan

    Many of these restrictions make no sense and probably do nothing to suppress the virus. The regulation about the dump is a good example. There’s very little science to back up those sorts of restrictions. If people can go to the grocery store then surely it’s safe to go to the dump. But the place to go object to this is the local government. We can make it clear to them that they are running a risk of losing their offices by making these unreasonable edicts.

    • #3
    • April 26, 2020, at 1:35 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  4. Judge Mental Member

    “Alice’s Restaurant 2020”.

    • #4
    • April 26, 2020, at 1:38 PM PDT
    • 24 likes
  5. MarciN Member

    Our construction debris area is closed too in our town. And all of our recycling bins as well–including cardboard. We were told that the reason was that the town has no way to get rid this type of waste right now, that the companies that used to take it have been shut down by the virus restrictions. I can at least add my weeds to the town’s compost pile. And recycle the returnable cans. 

    I can’t wait until this is over. 

    Yesterday there was a traffic jam at our town’s rail head for the Cape Cod Rail Trail. What a lovely sight! All those happy families out for the day. :-) 

    • #5
    • April 26, 2020, at 1:44 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. MarciN Member

    We all need to carry a pad of paper and a pen with us at all times so when we meet the petty tyrants, we’ll be able to write down their names.

    • #6
    • April 26, 2020, at 1:45 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. JosePluma Thatcher

    What state is that?

    Here in Texas one of my next-door neighbors and both of the folks across the street from me are doing home improvement projects without any apparent hindrance.

    • #7
    • April 26, 2020, at 1:46 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  8. Sisyphus Coolidge
    SisyphusJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I expect that some day I’ll see the lot of you on the group W bench.

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    What state is that?

    Here in Texas one of my next-door neighbors and both of the folks across the street from me are doing home improvement projects without any apparent hindrance.

    That’s okay, refugees from the Left Coast are streaming your way to escape the Leftism on the coast while voting it in in the Lone Star State. They call it a civilizing influence.

    • #8
    • April 26, 2020, at 1:55 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  9. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnellJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Many, many local bureaucrats are seizing the virus crisis as an opportunity to push, and test, the limits of what they can get away with. Sort of the “camel’s nose in the tent” thing. If they aren’t required to face the consequences of their overstepping at the ballot box, it will continue. This is a racheting process that only moves in one direction; when they gain a little more power they will not willingly give it up until and unless forced to at the next election.

    • #9
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:00 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  10. Vance Richards Member
    Vance RichardsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    “Alice’s Restaurant 2020”.

    Definitely! And now Max won’t have to worry about getting drafted.

    • #10
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:05 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  11. EODmom Coolidge

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Our construction debris area is closed too in our town. And all of our recycling bins as well–including cardboard. We were told that the reason was that the town has no way to get rid this type of waste right now, that the companies that used to take it have been shut down by the virus restrictions. I can at least add my weeds to the town’s compost pile. And recycle the returnable cans.

    I can’t wait until this is over.

    Yesterday there was a traffic jam at our town’s rail head for the Cape Cod Rail Trail. What a lovely sight! All those happy families out for the day. :-)

    The recycling companies haven’t been buying for months. Easily 9-10 months. The – primarily Chinese- processing companies overseas were over committed and had nowhere to sell their processed stuff and haven’t been buying from the US. Towns have always had to pay extra for it to be picked up and never made anything from it. So that explanation has nothing to do with this exercise. Just convenient for them. Lots of people out yesterday -sun’s out fun’s out. 

    • #11
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:09 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. Jules PA Member

    Roderic (View Comment):
    But the place to go object to this is the local government. We can make it clear to them

    ^this^

    I agree that the transfer station policy is ridiculous and contrary.

    But if you knew it was closed, you shouldnt have put the em0loyee in that predicament. You should cut your rotten boards and put them in the open disposal container.

    Now that you have this confrontation on the books, you could follow it up with tho people who made the contrarian rules.

    The person you put on the spot is not the person with the power, and had no authority to do anything other than inform you of the current policy.

    I think you knew that, and went to poke the bear. You got growled at. Move along to the next step.

    And be sure to honor and respect the employee for doing their job.

    • #12
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:13 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  13. Sisyphus Coolidge
    SisyphusJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Max Ledoux: I drove into the transfer station and waited for the supervisor to come over to my car, and I asked him where I should put the boards, most of which were half rotten. He said they were not taking construction debris (“CD”) any more. I asked if I should put the boards in the household trash compactor in that case. He said no, I would have to go home. I suggested that since my debris was all natural wood I could dispose of it in the brush pile. He grew exasperated and asked me, “why do you have to be like this?” And told me I could not leave the boards anywhere. I was also exasperated, and hyperbolically said I wasn’t leaving without putting the boards in either the open CD containers, the compactor, or the brush pile, and asked what was he going to do about it. He called the police. 

    You are guilty of challenging the authority of an officious, dull-witted stooge who, nonetheless, was in authority. Which doesn’t mean you were wrong, this is not Germany, yet. The implicit charge is that you were being disorderly. I would have spoken to his manager, but maybe you did. I still would. If you had left, the police probably would not have pursued it. What would the charge be? Leaving the scene of an annoying conversation? Staying for the police actually makes the police’s job harder, especially if the stooge wants to keep pressing. He’s clearly too junior to leave it alone easily. And there is always the chance the police will be unreasonable, and then it’s you versus a stooge and an annoyed cop in front of a judge.

    And. if the stooge has been this annoying to everyone, you won’t be the only one talking to the manager and the guy that the stooge got so steamed that he went home for his piece to teach the stooge a lesson won’t show up while you are there and accidentally ding your kidney with salt shot. It could have gone worse is all I’m saying.

     

    • #13
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:19 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  14. Al French of Damascus Moderator

    On the other hand, Oregon Attorney General has sent a threatening letter to the Oregon City mayor for discussing whether to open up his city contrary to the governor’s shutdown order.

    • #14
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:20 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  15. OldPhil Coolidge

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):
    But the place to go object to this is the local government. We can make it clear to them

    ^this^

    I agree that the transfer station policy is ridiculous and contrary.

    But if you knew it was closed, you shouldnt have put the em0loyee in that predicament. You should cut your rotten boards and put them in the open disposal container.

    Now that you have this confrontation on the books, you could follow it up with tho people who made the contrarian rules.

    The person you put on the spot is not the person with the power, and had no authority to do anything other than inform you of the current policy.

    I think you knew that, and went to poke the bear. You got growled at. Move along to the next step.

    And be sure to honor and respect the employee for doing their job.

    Max said: “To be clear, my grievance is not with the supervisor or the police officer. And I told that to them both and I believe that we were OK by the time I left.” 

     

     

    • #15
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:26 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Brian Watt Member
    Brian WattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I would suggest that it’s time to discard the town’s board of selectmen. Seems like it’s a board that has rotted. Will they fit in the CD bin?

    • #16
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:28 PM PDT
    • 22 likes
  17. RightAngles Member

    As I commented elsewhere, this “crisis” has created far too many officious little Barney Fifes with their One Bullet. It had better end soon because the longer it drags on, the less they’ll want to relinquish their tiny little power.

    • #17
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:45 PM PDT
    • 18 likes
  18. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    Jules PA (View Comment):
    I think you knew that, and went to poke the bear.

    Isn’t poking the bear the original national pastime? It’s a game played at all levels. Maybe the low-level employee is an automation, doing what he’s told. But maybe that employee wants to make a point to his supervisor, that the policy is bad, or perhaps the supervisor to the selectmen. Our illustrious 16th President raised bear-poking to a cause, perhaps a duty, in saying “The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.” 

    • #18
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:51 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  19. Full Size Tabby Member

    The dump rule actually makes sense if we go back to what the original rule was. The basic original rule was that no one is allowed to leave his or her own residence for any reason. If an infected person left his or her residence, that infected person would infect everyone else. If a non-infected person left his or her house, that non-infected person would become infected if the non-infected person came into contact with an infected person who had violated the “stay home” requirement. It was (and as usually worded, remains) a personal restriction, not a business or activity restriction. The objective was to replicate the Chinese isolation but try to avoid the Chinese practice of welding apartment doors shut to keep people in.

    But, the self-proclaimed rulers who adopted this rule realized that full compliance would mean that over time we would starve to death in our houses and apartments, that trash and human waste would accumulate and become its own breeding ground for disease, etc. So the rulers started exempting certain “life sustaining” (which became “essential”) activities from our stay home orders. We were allowed to gather food. Since even the rulers realized that for most of us “gathering food” involves visiting a grocery store rather than harvesting crops from our own field, the “stay at home” rule was relaxed to allow us to retrieve food at the grocery store. That in turned required that the “stay at home” rule be relaxed as to the people who run grocery stores. So the rules ended up looking like they are restrictions on businesses. But the businesses defined are (theoretically) only because those businesses provide goods or services that are supposedly “essential” to your immediate survival (you, the person who has been ordered to stay inside).

    Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s order for Walmart and Target to rope off the gardening and clothing sections of their stores is logical. You (the consumer) are not permitted to leave your residence to shop for gardening supplies or clothing because those items are not essential to your immediate survival. Therefore, Walmart and Target should not be offering them. 

    As to your town’s rules, you are violating the stay at home order as applied to you by taking your construction debris to the transfer station. Removing construction debris from your property is not essential to your immediate survival. The town puts rules on the dump (transfer station) to discourage you from violating the stay at home order that is supposed to be keeping you at home. 

    If I look at the business rules as enforcement mechanisms directed at the basic rule that I have been ordered to stay within the walls of my primary residence at all times then the business rules don’t look so illogical. Consistency between business rules is not relevant to the underlying objective of keeping residents locked inside their residences.

     

    • #19
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:52 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Max Ledoux Admin
    Max Ledoux

    Roderic (View Comment):
    But the place to go object to this is the local government. We can make it clear to them that they are running a risk of losing their offices by making these unreasonable edicts.

    I agree that that’s the place to complain, but unfortunately in my town the same three losers keep on getting elected no matter what they do. They have substantially increased spending in recent years. My property taxes are 50% higher than they were just five years ago. The elections are in March and have very low turnout. Not many in town appear to agree with me that the town is being mismanaged.

    MarciN (View Comment):
    But the place to go object to this is the local government. We can make it clear to them that they are running a risk of losing their offices by making these unreasonable edicts.

    Oh, well, in my particular case I know everyone involved… And they know me. To be fair to them, I am a pain in the butt. That’s why the guy got exasperated and said “Why do you have to be like this?” Because I don’t go with the flow in town. I’m trying to say this more as a matter of fact rather and not with a perverse sense of pride. Because pride is a sin, and being a pain in the ass is not necessarily a virtue.

    JosePluma (View Comment):
    What state is that?

    The ironically-dubbed “live free or die” state — New Hampshire.

    Sisyphus (Rolling Stone) (View Comment):
    I would have spoken to his manager, but maybe you did.

    He is the manager. He’s the supervisor of the transfer station. He’s the boss. The selectmen enacted the rule, but he wrote it out for them and gave it to them to sign. That’s literally what happened. It’s on video. But still, they are the ones who voted on it.

    • #20
    • April 26, 2020, at 2:58 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. Henry Racette Contributor

    And here I thought you were a nice guy.


    Yes, it’s time to reopen every jurisdiction that is not struggling with hospital capacity problems.

    • #21
    • April 26, 2020, at 3:01 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  22. Full Size Tabby Member

    To continue my previous comment (#19), I am just trying to find the logical consistency. I separately think the idea of essentially placing all residents under effective house arrest is legally suspect.

    • #22
    • April 26, 2020, at 3:03 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Painter Jean Member

    In our little town, the compost site is open, and actually there are more people there than usual because people are working on their lawns since they can’t go to work. Every one is cheerful and chatty. Down at the pier, people are fishing or taking walks – life looks pretty normal in this town, at least on the surface.

    • #23
    • April 26, 2020, at 3:14 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    Roderic (View Comment):
    But the place to go object to this is the local government. We can make it clear to them that they are running a risk of losing their offices by making these unreasonable edicts.

    Every governor should be facing some kind of vote of confidence. Every governor needs to understand that he or she answers to the people and not the other way around. I’m sure our governor is being a [redacted] because it’ll be two years before he’s up for re-election again.

    I think we need to hold a recall ASAP.

    • #24
    • April 26, 2020, at 3:15 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):
    unfortunately in my town the same three losers keep on getting elected no matter what they do. They have substantially increased spending in recent years. My property taxes are 50% higher than they were just five years ago. The elections are in March and have very low turnout. Not many in town appear to agree with me that the town is being mismanaged.

    Do they still feel the same way, now six weeks into this nonsense?

     

    • #25
    • April 26, 2020, at 3:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. EHerring Coolidge

    My husband has been making two trips to “the dump” every week here in SC and hasn’t observed any reduction in activity although he did say the bins were full one day. Judging from the traffic, few are at home. Greenie weenies want this to go on forever, so what does it get them? Many cars idling in line in restaurant drive thru lines, idling and burning fossil fuel.

    • #26
    • April 26, 2020, at 3:18 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Judge Mental Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    To continue my previous comment (#19), I am just trying to find the logical consistency. I separately think the idea of essentially placing all residents under effective house arrest is legally suspect.

    And given the results of antibody testing thus far, mostly ineffective.

    • #27
    • April 26, 2020, at 3:19 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Judge Mental, Secret Chimp (View Comment):

    “Alice’s Restaurant 2020”.

    Yesterday, I went to a place called Alice’s Restaurant here in Central Texas. It is kind of out in the sticks. I got my order-ahead take-out dinner and since they had acres of space and few scattered picnic tables I plopped down to eat my sandwich. The weather was perfect! After a few bites an employee came out to chase me off, because if somebody saw me “they” might close down the business. I don’t know who “they” are, but “they” have the restaurant scared. It makes no sense.

    • #28
    • April 26, 2020, at 3:26 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  29. The Reticulator Member

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):
    But the place to go object to this is the local government. We can make it clear to them

    ^this^

    I agree that the transfer station policy is ridiculous and contrary.

    But if you knew it was closed, you shouldnt have put the em0loyee in that predicament. You should cut your rotten boards and put them in the open disposal container.

    Now that you have this confrontation on the books, you could follow it up with tho people who made the contrarian rules.

    The person you put on the spot is not the person with the power, and had no authority to do anything other than inform you of the current policy.

    I think you knew that, and went to poke the bear. You got growled at. Move along to the next step.

    And be sure to honor and respect the employee for doing their job.

    He did that. (Honor and respect.) But they need to feel the pressure, too, and pass it along. 

    • #29
    • April 26, 2020, at 3:37 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Max Ledoux Admin
    Max Ledoux

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):
    But the place to go object to this is the local government. We can make it clear to them

    ^this^

    I agree that the transfer station policy is ridiculous and contrary.

    But if you knew it was closed, you shouldnt have put the em0loyee in that predicament. You should cut your rotten boards and put them in the open disposal container.

    Now that you have this confrontation on the books, you could follow it up with tho people who made the contrarian rules.

    The person you put on the spot is not the person with the power, and had no authority to do anything other than inform you of the current policy.

    I think you knew that, and went to poke the bear. You got growled at. Move along to the next step.

    And be sure to honor and respect the employee for doing their job.

    He did that. (Honor and respect.) But they need to feel the pressure, too, and pass it along.

    Yes, I asked Tom (police officer) to file a report and quote me saying, “I do not appreciate being treated like a criminal when I go to the transfer station.” 

    • #30
    • April 26, 2020, at 3:52 PM PDT
    • 8 likes