- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2001

It's not enough to punish traffic violators they're now to be analyzed, interpreted and made to "get in touch with their feelings." Several localities, including Arlington County in Virginia, as well as Prince George's and Montgomery counties in Maryland, are sentencing those convicted of traffic offenses to "anger management" classes rather than simply fining them and assigning points to their DMV records. "We've got to look at their behavior and making the highways safer," Deputy Chief John Haas of the Arlington Police told The Washington Post. Toward this dubious end, the Arlington traffic courts have been sending scofflaws to see head-shrinker Steven Stosny, who leads the assembled road ragers in monk-like chants:

"I forgive myself for feeling disregarded, unimportant, devalued and powerless when the driver cut me off…"

"I forgive myself for feeling disregarded, unimportant, devalued and powerless when the driver tailgated me …"

And so on.

This is called "Compassion Power" and is ostensibly going to convert heavy-footed gear-jammers into lambs o' the road. But it smacks more of political re-education than anything else and is thus fairly disturbing.

The Post quoted a man named "Chris" who was compelled to attend Dr. Stosny's indoctrination seminar at $150 for 12-hours of sessions. "I guess they're trying to make everyone conform to slow driving," he said. This is an interesting and arguably valid point. More than 20 years after the nation was cursed with the 55-mph National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL), which was subsequently repealed by Congress in 1995 the nation has been browbeaten by self-appointed "safety" experts into accepting the idea that anything other than the most timid behavior behind the wheel is anti-social and "dangerous." Often, this is far from the truth such as, for example, when a driver does not accelerate quickly to merge onto a freeway, forcing other drivers to violenty slow down or swerve to avoid him. Or when a driver in the left lane refuses to yield to faster-moving traffic, creating a passive-aggressive "rolling roadblock."

All it takes in Maryland is five points on your driving record hardly more than one ordinary ticket to be sent to the shrink for re-education. Had Burt Reynolds filmed "Smokey and the Bandit" today instead of in 1977, he'd be in line for a full frontal lobotomy.

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