Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Way of the Wilbury

"I just shook my head. What are you going to do? It’s a completely ridiculous story. Shouldn’t have happened. Dumb thing to do, but let me assure you it’s not the last dumb thing we’ll see happen," Christie told the crowd, which chuckled at his response.

He went on, "So we should stay calm. People are human beings. They make mistakes. Those people who made this mistake should be held accountable and I’m sure they will. And I’m glad nobody got hurt."

It turned out to be a good thing for Governor Christie and the media that he had a bill signing at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center on Monday for it turned out that the press got three stories for the price of one: the signing of the bill, the Gov's love letter to the Nets and his reaction to finding out that on at least two occasions in the past twenty-four months one or more members of the New Jersey State Police has served as an official escort for a "high-speed caravan" of luxury cars as said caravan has be-bopped down the Parkway at 100+ miles per hour.

A story that first saw light of the newsroom a couple of weeks ago centered on the participation by at least a couple of troopers in a high-speed road race to Atlantic City identified as "Death Race 2012". One part of the story that no doubt stoked the interest of more than just a few was the reported involvement in the caravan of Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs was a member of the two most-recent Super Bowl-winning Giants teams and he left Big Blue as a free agent for San Francisco earlier this off-season. He is among the motorists alleged to have followed his blockers (a/k/a two marked State Police vehicles with emergency lights activated) all the way to Atlantic City. It is almost unfathomable to me that anyone would hurry TOWARDS Atlantic City (a/k/a "New Jersey's Sewer by the Sea") but to each his own I suppose. One wonders what Jacobs shall do for sh*ts and giggles in San Francisco.

Then, Monday night a piece of video was posted on the Star-Ledger's web site that was to me - as someone who logs in excess of 35,000 miles a year (most of them on New Jersey's highways and byways) - as equal parts amusing and infuriating. It is homemade video taken in 2010 by the front-seat passenger in a vehicle heading south on the Parkway (the action appears to pick up somewhere at or near the Essex Toll Plaza), which vehicle is moving at a speed of 100 miles per hour or more and struggling to keep up with a caravan of very fancy looking sports cars. At the front of the caravan? You guessed it, a marked New Jersey State Police vehicle. If you watch the video - and you really should - make sure you do so with the sound up on your computer. The running commentary of the two guys in the car is - at points - laugh out loud funny.

I happen to agree with the Governor and his position that the reported antics of a couple of members of the State Police is not and cannot be an indictment of the brave men and women who comprise the State Police. Having the pleasure of knowing a couple of State Troopers, including one who retired after a very distinguished career, I know firsthand that is an organization full of quality human beings. That being said, because it is populated by human beings it is chock full of imperfect beings as well...including those who are knuckleheaded enough to think that escorting a passel of car enthusiasts clocking south at 100+ miles per hour is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Thankfully, no injuries were reported....other than the red cheeks on the face of the State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes..

"It was you to me who taught
In Jersey anything's legal....
as long as you don't get caught."

It is as true today as it was when Lucky Wilbury first said it a quarter-century ago. Then again, he was pretty damn smart....

....even for a Wilbury.


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