Since I am what is considered to be a “senior” citizen, than I think that it is only right to have a “senior” moment.  When you get to be my age, you have seen, or read, or heard, just about every crazy, stupid, idiotic, or unbelievable idea or occurrence that could possibly happen.  You also start to believe that nothing outside the realm of possibilities is off the table.

In today’s Bismarck Tribune, there was a short article that caught my attention.  The piece was a story about a Bismarck woman who was arrested, jailed for three days, and ultimately sentenced to her time served in the Burleigh County jail.  What was this terrible offense that this woman committed…it was the possession of fireworks.

Now for those people who like me were ultimately unaware, I learned two things from this article.  First, that it is apparently illegal to possess fireworks unless you are celebrating the 4th of July or New Years.  On those two occasions, it is still illegal to possess fireworks inside the city limits, but true to form, during those times, it is obviously not enforced.  If it was, than why are there no saturation checkpoints set up to arrest these terrible offenders when they attempt to reenter the city limits after purchasing these dangerous items in the days prior to these two events.  Maybe it has something more to do with who owns the firework stands?

So, for all those people who currently reside inside the city limits of Bismarck, you had better collect all your unused fireworks and make sure you check your son’s and/or daughter’s rooms for any stray firecrackers because possession of these items is apparently illegal and you could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor…who knew?

The second thing that I learned was that the decision to charge a person of committing a crime and also placing them under arrest is up to what is referred to as “officer discretion.”  That means that the officer, in question, can decide who is going to be charged, and whether they are going to be arrested, detained, and possibly jailed.

So, that means that laws are not uniformly enforced and it may be based more on prior record, since the reason for the arrest was more for her being considered a flight risk because of a 2013 case, in which, this same individual failed to appear in court.  I was always under the illusion, that laws were enforced because they were considered to be offenses against society and in order to “keep the peace” and to “protect and serve” the community.  I also thought that more serious offenses should get a higher level of scrutiny based on possible danger to its citizens.   Obviously,  I am wrong and that is why we see hundreds of examples of people running red lights, texting while driving, and making left turns against oncoming traffic just because they are in a turning lane that are apparently ignored due to “officer discretion.”

Being a senior and being that I suffer from many “senior moments…my understanding was flawed because I thought that the reason that we needed a new and bigger jail was due to overcrowding.  I just was not aware that we had so much available space and excess funds to justify the arrest and jailing of someone with fireworks.  I also just never realized that I am more likely to die by the discharge of a Black Cat firecracker, than getting broadsided in an intersection.

 

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