Government monopoly on good deeds

The war on charity, which I’ve written about here and here, continues. This time, the politicians are not fighting against money-based charity, but against good deeds by the public. Just last week, one good Samaritan was ticketed for directing traffic when a traffic light went out and the police failed to act:

When a major traffic light in the area went out Thursday morning, Alan Ehrlich took matters into his own hands, directing traffic at Fair Oaks and Huntington avenues.

“I grabbed a bright orange shirt that I have and a couple of orange safety flags. I took it upon myself to help get motorists through that intersection faster,” said Ehrlich.

Before Ehrlich stepped in, traffic was backed up for more than a mile and it took more than 30 minutes to get through the busy intersection.

Ehrlich said the Sept. 8 incident wasn’t the first and that the light goes out regularly.

“It was just kind of chaos of cars . . . there were stop signs up. But people were challenging each other to get through the intersection,” said Richard Gerrish who works at an office located at the intersection.

Gerrish said Ehrlich cleared up the mess in 10 minutes. After 15 minutes, South Pasadena police say they finally received a call about their newest traffic officer.

Police responded to the scene and told Ehrlich to stop and issued him a ticket, but never stepped into direct traffic themselves.

“I don’t know if this ticket is $50 or $400 dollars. It’s a small price to pay for the greater good,” Ehrlich said.

Alan Ehrlich should be given a medal for helping his community. He should receive the key to city for service to his city. Instead, Mr. Ehrlich receives a fine from the city.

On this tenth anniversary of 9/11–when we memorialize the victims and heroes of that day–in a small way, Mr. Ehrlich is an American hero as well. And the residents of South Pasadena are victims of their government’s incompetence and hunger for power.

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