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December 15th, 2017

Diversions

Government in Action

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Jan. 15, 2016

Government in Action

-- Charles Smith, 62, is set to drive municipal buses for Broward County, Florida, until he retires in 2020, even though his record includes 14 accidents in a recent five-year period (not enough for discipline, in that, according to contract rules, not more than four were labeled "preventable" in any two consecutive years). The bus drivers' union president told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he "can't figure out why" some drivers just get into more accidents than others. Elsewhere in transit news, notorious serial New York "joydriver" Darius McCollum, 50, commandeered yet another bus and was arrested on Nov. 11. He faces jail time, just as he has already served for more than two dozen bus- and train-"borrowing" incidents. (Based on news reports of McCollum over the years, he nonetheless might be a better bus driver than Charles Smith.) [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11-20-2015] [New York Times, 11-11-2015]

The federal government confiscated more property from citizens (through "civil asset forfeiture") in 2014 than burglars did, according to FBI figures publicized by the independent Institute for Justice (and that did not count state and local government seizures, which are not uniformly reported). None of the governments is bound by law to await convictions before exercising seizure rights. (Some of the seized assets must eventually be returned to private-party victims, but news reports abound of suddenly enriched police departments and other agencies being "gifted" with brand-new cars and other assets acquired from suspects never convicted of crimes.) [Washington Post, 11-23-2015]

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