Steel City Cowboy

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

All They Want Is An End To The War!

From WTAE News comes a little blurb about a gas price war. The good bit is at the end.

WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. -- There was a gas war in Westmoreland County on Tuesday, but it didn't last long... Two gas stations dropped prices dramatically to compete with each other.


Prices for regular unleaded made their way to $2.36 per gallon.

Pretty good. The free market at work! Apparently lots of people agreed:

Cars began lining up to take advantage, causing a traffic jam that included one minor accident.


And now, the fun part:

State police then asked the stations to end the price war, and both agreed and raised their prices.


That's right. The police showed up and, instead of, say, ticketing motorists who were violating the law by parking on an open roadway, or directing traffic around what could be considered a spontaneous public gathering, they asked the gas stations to raise their prices!

As an officer of the law, how exactly do you say that?

"I'm sorry, sir, but your gas prices are too low."

Don't you need a warrant to force someone to raise gas prices? I'm sure any judge would be happy to... oh wait. Law enforcement has absolutely no authority to do such a thing.

So now, the Pennsylvania State Police are no longer content to just try to change the attitudes of young people and eradicate bad habits. Nope. Now, they're insisting that stores not sell things at a price that people will really really like. Because it's... I don't know. Making their job harder?

See something you don't like? Don't think about it! Give an order!

So what's next?

"Excuse me ma'am, but your outfit is too sexy. If you're going to walk around downtown like that, you'll be distracting male drivers. You need to put on a longer dress. Here, we have this hijab in our trunk, and I think it's just your size."

Okay okay! I don't want to be too hard on the Police in general. When they do their job, and it is a hard one, they do it well. And we need them. But silly, stupid incidents like this remind us that they often think that they are in charge of us, the sheep of society, as opposed to being there to serve us.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, I'll offer them this alternative approach: "All these people want to buy this gas at this price, which is perfectly legal, so we should see to it that we can facilitate this in a way that doesn't harm public safety."

Would that have been so hard?