Friday, February 6, 2015

There Goes My New Front Tire!

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    I was in a rush.

    Fortunately, I was not riding Return2.

    Anybody who knows anything about riding iron ponies knows never to mount a mule when rushed.

    Cages aren't that far behind.

    Haste makes waste; or as my first mentor counseled, "Be slow.  Be steady.  Be solid."

    Buuuuuuut I've never claimed to pay attention to mentors, conventional wisdom, or even...

    That's why I've gotten into so much trouble in my life.

    Anyway, I was in a rush on February 2.

    Though I've given up speeding in cages - ;) for the most part since getting nailed by an Ohio trooper on Route 90 back in 1996, I was in a rush and took a cellular call while leaving Belvidere for a meeting in Aurora. 

    I wasn't speeding.

    Traffic was minimal.

    I was in the right lane. 

    I don't drink.

    I don't smoke.

    I wasn't putting on make-up.

    Buuuuuuut I had just taken a call on my cellular.

    Almost as soon as I took the call, I checked the rearview mirror and saw a police car turning around and racing toward me with lights flashing and...


    I thought the Islamofascistnutballs had invaded Boone County!


    He was coming after me!


    I got a $120 ticket for "unlawful use of a wireless telephone."

    First thought: "Well, there goes my new front tire for Return2."

    Second thought: "This could be embarrassing.  I'm his police chaplain."

    Third thought: "I hope nobody..."

    Notice none of my thoughts were about...guilt.


    The arrest began poorly.

    Hoping it was someone in the department that I knew, I started getting out of the car.


    Buuuuuuut when you're a police chaplain and responding to calls at all hours of the day and night for an annual compensation of $1.00 to cover insurance in case I get gunned down while working the next domestic dispute, gang incident, attempted/successful suicide, or...

    I just thought I might know the guy and...


    So we got off on the wrong foot.

    I asked if he was in a bad mood or something.

    That didn't help.

    If he wasn't in a bad mood, that had just changed.

    He said he could have thrown me into jail for trying to get out of the car.

    I offered thanks for that grace.

    It turned into a blurrrrrrr after that because I've been willing to lay down my life for law enforcement in Belvidere and Boone County for over a decade now.

    I have the highest regard for all of 'em, even the guy who busted me for talking on the cellular and cost me that new front tire for Return2, and would gladly lay down my life for any of 'em; even the guy who...

    Notice none of my thoughts were about...guilt.


    After he wrote the ticket, apparently he figured out or was told or...that I was his police chaplain.

    Reluctantly, I told him that he was right and that I broke the law...and asked him to just give the ticket to me.

    I was in a rush.

    While I still think he was having a bad day, I knew I was really have a bad day at that point and bit my tongue really, really, really hard.

    Sooooooo I didn't say, "Hey, Krispy Kreme closed!...If I guess why you stopped me, do I win a prize?...I guess you're from one of those denominations that fence the table and...Thank God there ain't no serious gang or drug or homicidal or serious crime goin' on around here..."

    Really, with what's going on in our world and nation and even the local scene, I sometimes wonder about the stewardship of enlisting our well-trained law enforcement officers to bust people for not wearing seat belts or...

    Notice none of my thoughts were about...guilt.


    He gave the ticket to me.

    I said I would pay it and not complain to my bosses who are his bosses about...

    Because, well, uh, even though we got off on the wrong foot when I stupidly got out of the car thinking it was someone I knew or someone who may have liked me or someone who would have at least listened to why I was on the phone - Geez!  I could have been taking a call from the department! - he was professional and competent and not in any way over the top in arresting and fining me for, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, gulp, sigh, darn, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh,....breaking the law.

    Truth is he was right.

    I was wrong.

    Sooooooo I paid the ticket in less than 24 hours.


    There goes my new front tire.


    Over and out.

    While I was still not speeding while driving to Aurora after locking my cellular in the glove compartment, I wasn't in the mood to listen to the Stones or LS or LZ or other favorite gospel groups or even Willie or Johnny.

    I realized I had just blown $120 for breaking the law.

    The officer was right.

    No matter what rationalization I generated for not getting a ticket, I was violating a law that had been established to keep me from a behavior that could endanger others as well as myself.

    I was wrong.

    Annnnnnnd the final confirmation came when I prayed and asked God why this had happened to me.

    Clearly and unmistakably, He answered my prayer audibly; and that doesn't happen that often.

    He said, "You're guilty!"


    It was/is/remains the truth.

    Sooooooo I called the chief to tell him that I was guilty.  I asked him to tell the officer that he was right and I was wrong.

    I left a note for the officer while making one of my almost daily stops at the station: "Love you, brother!"

    I feel better.

    Yeah, lighter too if you know what I mean.

    I can wait for the tire.

    I'm just glad that the officer did not relent, God confirmed him, and all is forgiven.


    While all of the preceding is true, it's also a metaphor for 1 John 1:5-10.

    It's better to admit guilt than try to get away with it.

    It may cost a new front tire; but it saves a soul's sanity.



    If you break a just law, just admit it, suffer the consequences, and move on.

    It's the only way to move on; even when you're in a rush.


Blessings and Love!


Je suis Charlie!


Tricia said...

Your adventure reminds me of what happened to a friend of mine down in Georgia about 15 years ago.

She was the city clerk and one day she got pulled over by a new cop in her town for speeding. She dutifully handed over her license and waited patiently for him to write up the ticket.

Apparently when he radioed in the info he was told that she was the person who signs his paychecks because he sheepishly returned her license to her and apologized.

Thank you for reminding me of this fond memory of my friend!

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...


My pleasure at my, uh, expense.

Bob said...

About a month ago, I got hit by the magic camera in a work zone on 695 Baltimore Beltway near my Mom's nursing home. But my ticket was only $40! Amazing! Thank you, Lord, for the grace to have only 1/3 the amount of Dr. Bob's ticket! Notice I'm not mentioning "guilt." And I did pay it.

Mark said...

They are writing a lot more of them these days especially in your county. It is the alternative method of funding the high pay of these public servants. Many of the cops here in Rockford are making well over a $100K per year.