Sometimes I use a dash cam to record what I see as I'm traveling around, and I've made a number of historical posts based on that very revealing little tool. But a dash cam is characterized by a very inconvenient limitation: the technology at my price point is still very crude. The resolution is not sufficient for capturing vital details.
And sometimes I need absolute proof of details, such as license plate numbers. I used to also keep a pad of paper and pencil on the center console of my vehicle. When I would see something really atrocious, I would grope for the pencil and scribble down the license plate number without taking my eyes off the road, and also any other details such as name of the company if the roadway incident involved a commercial vehicle.
But even this additional measure hasn't proven to be sufficient for my purposes. Case in point. One day a few years ago, I saw a big rig driving very dangerously in Pasadena - so dangerously that it blew my mind. I wrote down as many details as I could, and then I pulled into a parking lot and called the company whose name was painted on the truck cab. As I was describing what I had witnessed, the company representative on the phone became increasingly frightened. I finished my story by saying, "I'm just relating these things to you so that you can discipline your driver." The panicked person at the other end then replied, "But you don't understand: we don't have any assets anywhere in the state of Texas. What you saw was someone who had counterfeited a truck to make it look like one of ours, and God only knows what illegal cargo they hauled through Pasadena today."
There's some merit to all that rhetoric that comes out of Homeland Security, eh? (See also local resources here). Ordinary citizens really are in the best position to spot what's wrong out there in our daily world. I'm not talking about paranoia - I'm talking about being in a situation where you know there's something wrong, such as the incident described above.
Given that it was their corporate identity that was infringed upon, I left that company to pursue this truck-spoofing issue with the authorities, but at that point I resolved to do a better job of capturing the details of what I see as I'm out there on the road. Much of the time, I now travel with my DSLR right in my lap. I can't take my eyes off the road, but I can raise the camera up much the same as I would lift up a can of soda, and I can just start taking pictures blindly when I see something interesting or dangerous. If I simply take many, many pictures, one or two are bound to come out clearly.
So let's focus on a phenomenon that I encountered yesterday afternoon. This next series of photos shows one example of a disturbing trend I've noticed lately on the freeways: Truck drivers intentionally frightening motorists for sport.
The usual disclaimers apply: As with everything else I write on this blog, what I'm presenting here are my opinions as to what transpired in this event. I saw things happening that involved me, and I interpreted those events within the context that made maximum sense to me. I intentionally took pictures to document what I observed, but I'm not a police officer and no crime has been proven to have been committed here. Other people might look at these same events and photos and reach different conclusions.
|Where he had a bit of straightaway at his disposal, he was driving like a bat out of hell, so there was some lag time for me to catch up with him and his next chosen victim.|
|As I was watching this whole spectacle unfold, I wondered what in the hell could motivate any trucker to risk his life, risk other innocent drivers' lives, and risk his own livelihood for the sake of this dangerous entertainment (as I personally interpret it). |
It wasn't until I got home and examined these photos blindly taken that I began to formulate a theory. This guy is from Laredo (a fact I did not realize at the time because I was watching the road, not my camera). Even if someone were to report his dangerous driving to the authorities, by the time word gets out, he's probably long gone from our freeways. I'm wondering if he's thinking he's simply unaccountable, above the law, when he's having fun at our collective expense way up here in good ol' Houston, Texas.
But guess what, Jorge? You, too, live in the Information Age. The good people of this world may not be able to pin any specific incident such as this on you, but sooner or later, you will get your just deserts.
And now I will do what I have done at previous times: I will take this material and forward it to the law enforcement agencies that might have an interest in it. Occasionally in the past, very interesting developments have occurred after I have done that kind of thing. But I won't go into those details here.