What happens when the municipal government shortens the length of yellow lights to boost the revenue generated by its red light cameras? If you’re a good person you strike back by disabling their red light cameras. Unfortunately, if you’re a good person you also face years in a cage for fighting back against the municipal pirates:
Stephen Ruth, who remains free on bail, was arrested in April shortly after he told a CBS affiliate that he was the culprit and that he dismantled the cameras “in order to save lives.” He said the county shortened the yellow light duration from 5 seconds to 3 seconds in a bid to make more money.
He’s accused of 17 felonies and faces a maximum seven-year prison sentence if convicted on all the charges. He pleaded not guilty Friday in a local court and wants to go to trial for snipping the wires on as many as 16 red light cameras on intersections on Route 25 between Coram and Centereach.
The lesson of this story is that you shouldn’t publicly announce your good deeds to the world. In this case the municipal government actually put people’s lives at risk by shortening the duration of yellow lights just so it could boost its revenue. That’s the kind of corrupt shit that happens when a handful of people are handed absolute power. But that power can be checked somewhat when good people undermine the government’s revenue generation.
Stephen Ruth is the type of everyday hero we need more of.