A county sheriff sets up a speed trap and issues twenty-one tickets in two hours to drivers going more than ten miles per hour over the posted speed limit of 35 mph. That seems to me to be quite a bit of tickets and proves that the street has a problem with speeding. So, why would any resident complain about their streets being made safer?
Elected officials of Cornelius, North Carolina, and the home of Jetton Road where the speed trap was, immediately received calls, likely from the folks living at the end of Jetton Road where houses sell normally for more than one million dollars. Heavy taxpayers, the wealthy and 94% white residents of the area, demanded answers for many questions. The pro tem Mayor of Cornelius had no knowledge of the speed trap, so Michael Miltich invited Sheriff Garry McFadden to meet with the Cornelius town commissioners and residents.
Now, think about it: a speed trap, many drivers “caught”, word of the trap spreads, drivers slow down. Where is the problem? Try this for an answer: The people of that area are wealthy and mostly white. They were inconvenienced and some were caught speeding. They resented the presence of twelve deputies in their neighborhood. So, because of their wealth and privilege they “invite” the county sheriff to come visit and discuss vital issues surrounding the speed trap. Here are some of the questions they asked Sheriff McFadden:
Why were the Cornelius Police not notified of the pending speed trap?
Why was the speed trap on the Sunday of the NBA all-star game?
Why were there twelve deputies involved in the speed trap?
What was the expense of the speed trap?
Now, I don’t know about you, but only one of those questions seems valid to me, and the Sheriff promised to improve communications with towns in Mecklenburg County. And, that question could have been settled by a phone call or email. But the last three are questions only privileged folks dare ask. Can you imagine a resident of West Charlotte asking any of those? That never would happen for the reasons of wealth, whiteness, and the privilege granted by our culture to those who possess such power.
Yes, Sheriff McFadden is an elected official, thus he is bound to answer just questions of any county resident. However, to ask him such a question as the second is absurd and points to the arrogance of white power. And, sadly, Sheriff McFadden knew this during the meeting.
I applaud Sheriff McFadden. He was summoned to a meeting in Cornelius which would be, if not all, a room filled with white folks. He was summoned to answer questions that sought understanding and wisdom but demonstrated power. The folks in that room had been, as I said, inconvenienced. They, in their insulated lives, felt threatened by a public servant trying to make their streets safer. So, not possessing the courage to examine their habit, they attacked. How dare he invade their golden ghetto on a special Sunday afternoon of planned parties?
I live on Isle of Pines Road in Mooresville, and we have a problem with speeders. Sheriff McFadden send twelve deputies with radar guns here. I will not complain.