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FRONT PAGE  |  10/7/2015
THURSDAY, JUN 6, 2002  |  2 comments
Traffic Ticket Spurs Fight on Religion

Amish men heading to court in Ebensburg, Pa., to hear a constitutional challenge to a traffic law.

EBENSBURG, Pa., — It was a picturesque scene as 22-year-old Jonas Swartzentruber, a typically shy member of an ultra-plain sect of the Old Order Amish, guided his horse and buggy along Lemon Drop Road while S.U.V.'s and other engines of modernity passed him by.

Then a state police officer stopped the youthful farmer and wrote a ticket for not having an orange and red reflector triangle on the buggy's rear as night fell here in the rolling Allegheny hills.

Mr. Swartzentruber, arguing instead for a red lantern and plain gray strips of light-reflecting tape, quietly set a new course across the land, one that landed him in jail for three days. It has sparked a constitutional fight playing out appropriately enough in the name of William Penn, the Quaker patriarch who went to prison six times in the process of founding this state as a "holy experiment" in religious tolerance.

Mr. Swartzentruber ...

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News Item6/10/02 4:07 PM
Robert Perry | Longmont CO  Contact via email
I've been using reflective tape on my bicycle for years. The grey stuff works great, and I'm surprised that Pennsylvania doesn't accept it. It's better than blaze orange, IMO, since it reflects headlights wonderfully.

I suggest that Pennsylvania require the deer out there to wear orange triangles, since they obviously pose a risk to motorists. After all, setting and enforcing reasonable speed limits is not a viable option.


News Item6/8/02 3:47 AM
Dave Dorsett | St. Louis Suburbs  Contact via email
With the worldwide bombings and destruction by, especially, one religion whose enemies and targets are all people who are not in that religion; and while Our President is creating a more effective system to provide all American citizens a safer environment with increased protection from the enemies of our nation's residents - and providing us a more tranquil day-to-day existence, we contemplate many threats and inconsistencies of law enforcement throughout The Country.

Tranquil ? The Amish communities are the epitome of tranquility. So we focus our might in attacking the horse and buggy "traffic !" We route heavy vehicular traffic around exclusive areas, elsewhere, and impose extremely slow speed limits in "rich" communities. What are the speed limits through Amish communities and Amish-owned lands?

Big news today is not why 100,000 additional police were demanded to be budgeted-for and hired. That was seen as irrational previously.

Do we really need any more at all .

Today, we have the 27 Amish fined more than $2,500 for not having "carnival style" yellow stickers on their buggies.

But that's not all ! In a St. Louis suburb an 18-year old was arrested, by a plain-clothes police investigator, for selling the policeman a "Pez" candy dispenser for $ 3.00 ! The boy didn't have a merchant license. It din't seem to matter that a significant, 5th annual, "Pez collectors" convention is going on. The conventioners, upon learning of that harrassment, vacated their hotel accomodations in that suburb (Frontenac) and relocated into a nearby, better-situated, visitor-friendly suburb with superior services available and provided.

Is this a matter of not enough "law enforcement personnel" - or a matter of "efficiency" in utilizing existing, budgeted, well-directed and managed systems with appropriate goals and behaviors of well-trained personnel ?

And all of that pertains to "Pez" handling, stickers for buggies, and destroying Terrorism and Terrorists: all on a national scale plus our global interventions.

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