Fair and equal treatment under the law is a topic that has manifested itself in several ways over the last few weeks. I’m not going to enumerate them, frankly, because I don’t know I could broach some of the topics and be able to keep my big mouth shut concerning how I feel about them. Sometimes – sidebar aside – there seem to be times when fair treatment and equal treatment begin to butt heads with each other, creating ridiculous situations that you almost can’t believe happened in real life. For example: Bogdan Ionescu was cruising down the street on his bicycle in Cologne, Germany, when he was stopped by a patrolman, who believed that the bicyclist’s equipment was faulty. The cop noticed – correctly, I’ll admit – that Ionescu only had one handbrake on his bicycle, clearly violating the safety standards in place for braking systems on two-wheeled transportation in Germany. Doing what officers of the law do, the cop stopped Ionescu and wrote him a $34 ticket for the violation. What a steadfast officer of the law!
He didn’t even blink when Ionescu – correctly, I’ll admit – pointed out that he only has one arm. For the officer, Ionescu’s missing arm was no excuse for the missing handbrake on the corresponding side of the handlebar, even if the handbrake had been reconfigured to where he would be able to operate it with his foot. And get this: once the officer’s superiors heard about Ionescu’s complaints about the “unjust” citation, they overturned his decision and returned the $34 dollars to Ionescu. See how the wheels of justice stop spinning once we take into consideration the factual differences between people and situations?
Imagine how embarrassing and degrading it must have been for that officer after the higher-ups stripped him of his unblemished authority to make judgment calls in the line of duty. But at least the officer can have some peace of mind, knowing that, even if Ionescu’s adaption of his bicycle from the accepted braking configuration based on his particular needs went against what the law mandated, it could ultimately be said that Ionescu did it for the greater good of his own safety and the safety of the people around him. Imagine how awful it would be to think that you allowed an exception in the law for a person, group of people, or corporation – the newest class of “people” – that would only end up hurting thousands of people for no real benefit for any parties involved.