Casual Notice Presents Infopamphlet #31942: What to do if you’re pulled over

Editor’s note: The author is not a lawyer or officer of the court. This advice should not be taken as legal advice. If you need legal advice, talk to a lawyer; don’t go to an internet site, especially not one that focuses on oddball humor.

Other Editor’s note: I’ll be referring to the officer using the common idiom of the male pronoun. That is linguistically correct if you are unaware or unsure of the subject’s sex. If this offends you, feel free to suck it up and read something else.

You’re driving down the street, rocking out to Bananarama or Flock of Seagulls or whatever you kids listen to these days, when suddenly you see trippy red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror. What do you do?

1. Pull Over

If you are on a limited-access highway, turn on your turn signal and gradually reduce your speed as you pull into the emergency lane. Pull as far away from traffic as you can while still remaining on the pavement. If no emergency lane is available, you got me. I’d slowly work my way to the nearest exit and pull off the highway entirely, but you have to do what you think is right.

If you are on a regular road, slow down and pull into the nearest safe place to stop. A parking lot or unused side street is good. Don’t try to find a great parking space, but also don’t stop right in the middle of a busy street.

Don’t speed up. Try to indicate to the officer that you are attempting to comply with his lawful order that you pull off the road. In fact, the idea, here, is for you to stop somewhere where both you and the officer will be safe while you conduct your business.

2. Stop your car

Once your car is stopped, put it in park and turn the engine off. Take your keys out of the ignition and place them on your dashboard near the middle (so they don’t accidentally fall into the defogger vent). Some newer cars have a handy pad in front of the onboard display; if you do, put them there.

Roll your window about halfway down. This allows the officer to have a reasonable discussion with you while affording you protection against assault in the rare case that this is not a real police officer.

Tell anyone else in the car to shut the hell up and let you do the talking. They have no stake in this, unless they mouth off and force the officer to drag them down to jail for being a dumbass.

Put your hands on the steering wheel, at the top, and leave them there.

3. Listen to the officer and comply with his lawful requests

Depending on your state, the officer will ask to see your driver’s license and either your registration or your proof of insurance. This is a lawful request. He has already observed you in violation of at least one traffic law, and has every right to demand that you show proof that you are entitled to be driving your car on that state’s roads. Hand them over.

If you need to reach for anything, inform the officer beforehand. “My license is in my wallet,” and, “My insurance card is in my glove box.” are reasonable things to say, and allay any concerns the officer may have as to whether or not you are reaching for a weapon. Remember, he doesn’t know you; you could be a terrorist leaning over to set off your car bomb.

If you have any weapons in your car, inform the officer of them and their location. “Officer, I need to inform you that I have a loaded pistol in a console holster. I am licensed to carry,” is the sort of thing you should say, substituting the actual location and details of your right to have the weapon and whether or not it is loaded. The officer may ask you to remove the weapon and surrender it to him. He is within his rights. Again, he doesn’t know you, and part of his job is resolving the issue without anyone going to the hospital or the morgue. Without making any sudden or suspicious movements, or gripping the weapon in a threatening way, surrender the weapon to the officer. He will return it when he lets you go.

4. Be Polite but do not admit to wrongdoing

Greet the officer cordially, “Good afternoon, officer, may I help you?” is a nice way to do this. He may ask you if you know why he pulled you over. Politely assert that you do not know why. Don’t worry, he’ll tell you. Don’t argue with him. He’s not a judge, nor is he a prosecutor; he saw what he saw. Not only that, he told his dispatcher what he saw; he’s not going back to his car to say, “Never mind the traffic stop, dispatch; they say they didn’t do it.”

It’s important to remember that this guy (or gal) works a ten to twelve hour shift, encountering people on what is, at least the worst day of their week–possibly their year. He doesn’t need to hear how you’re a sovereign citizen and the US is just a corporation that only holds legal jurisdiction if you let it. He doesn’t need to hear about the YouTube video you saw that says you don’t have to provide your driver’s license or proof of insurance. He doesn’t want a debate. He doesn’t want any trouble at all.

The truth is, he probably didn’t want to pull you over, but your dumbass ran the red light or blew through a school zone at 50 miles per, and he didn’t have a choice. You violated one of our many sensible traffic laws that keep kindergarteners from being knocked forty feet across the road.

The point is that you made the dumbass choice to break the law, the least you can do is not give the officer any shit when he calls you down.

5. Sign the ticket

Listen while the officer explains why he’s giving you a ticket and what needs to be done, next. Sign the ticket. It is not an admission of guilt. All your signature at the bottom of a ticket says is that the officer presented you with a summons for the cited violation and you took it. Again, not an admission of guilt, just an admission that you received the ticket. Officers have to account for every ticket that comes out of their book, because they’re made of platinum, apparently.

If you do want to admit your guilt and simply pay the standard fine–and, man, I wish some of you would–there is a space for that on the back. You sign, you mail the court a check, done (unless you’re a serial dumbass, in which case the court may demand an appearance). If you only get one ticket a year, and your state/county/city allows it, you may be entitled to have the ticket quashed by attending a defensive driving class. You still have to appear in court, and the judge has to approve it.

6. Thank the officer

You don’t have to, but it’s a nice thing to do. Don’t apologize to him for being such a dumbass, but do thank him, in a general way (“Thank you, officer,” works, if you can keep the snideness out of your voice).

7. Resume your journey

Once the officer lets you go, get your keys, start your car, and carefully re-enter traffic. Don’t wait for the officer. He has some paperwork to complete, and he might find it weird that you’re just sitting there, staring in your rearview mirror. Don’t forget to make your appearance, or better yet, just pay your damn ticket.

Other questions

Can the officer search my vehicle? Yes and no. A traffic stop does not, in and of itself, constitute enough justifiable cause for a vehicle search. If you and your idiot friends make a scuffle hiding the bag of weed on your console, or if (bless your tiny little mind) you leave that bag on your console in plain view, then that does constitute reasonable cause. Basically, don’t give the officer a reason to be suspicious, and he won’t have a reason to search your car and he won’t have a rationale when the judge asks him.

I’m a reasonably attractive young woman; should I offer the officer my phone number or a blow job? Oddly enough, no. That comes off as an admission of guilt and an attempt at a bribe (how much of a bribe depends on how impressed the officer is with your attributes). Even before the days of dash and body cameras (with sound), this was an iffy proposition. Now, it’s just a good way to turn a misdemeanor traffic stop into a felony.

In closing, don’t be an idiot.

Casual Notice Presents Infopamphlet #35486

Your Go-Bag and You

It happens all the time. You have to get out, and you have to get out, now. This is why you should have a bug-out plan. If you don’t, be sure to check out Casual Notice Infopamphlet #35422: You should Have a Bug-Out Plan. But the best bug-out plan in the world is useless, if you don’t have a well organized go-bag. This infopamphlet will teach you

  • How to select and pack a good go-bag
  • What items should go into your go-bag
  • Where to keep your go-bag
  • Who should know about your go-bag, and when you should tell them.

Selecting your go-bag

Whether your cashgrab cult of personality is being investigated by the feds, your violently insane ex saw you at a gas station, or you just realized that the shady government organization that’s been employing you to kill people for the last five years may not be the good guys after all, you’ll need a sturdy and reliable way of transporting the necessities of a new life to a new location.

While many professionals will suggest that a gym bag or small duffel is the ideal go-bag, we, here at Casual Notice believe that a mid-sized student’s backpack (such as the Zammo! brand Casual Notice backpack, available in our online store) is the wiser option. The multiple pockets and sections afford better and longer-lasting organization of items, and we’ve found that the top loop included on most quality backpacks makes it a more manageable ad hoc weapon.

In any case, your go-bag should be sturdy and unobtrusive, with few noticeable details and secure fasteners.

Packing your go-bag

What should you have in your go-bag? This depends on a variety of factors, including, whether you expect the bug-out to be permanent, whether you expect to engage in a multi-target vendetta during your bug-out, and the price of replacement items in your area. However, in general, a well-packed go-bag should contain at least the following:

  • Three (3) full changes of clothes
  • Two (2) changes of identity, including at least one passport per identity
  • Ten Thousand US Dollars ($10,000) and a comparable amount of local currency
  • A shave kit and scissors
  • Colored contact lenses
  • The keys to a safe house within one hundred miles
  • At least four (4) Casual Notice brand PowerNola bars to maintain vigor during your bug-out.

The observant will note that we didn’t include a back-up weapon in the inventory. You should certainly keep a weapon near your go-bag; however, we have found that, in times of duress, having the weapon inside the bag often leads to the bag being messily unpacked, resulting in a loss of precious time and organization.

Stowing your go-bag

Until it’s needed, you should keep your go-bag in a secure, accessible, but hidden location. It’s tempting to leave it under a loose floor board or behind an incongruous painting in your residence, but you never want your go-bag to rest where you sleep. Putting aside the discourtesy of exposing anyone who may share your residence to the threat of your pursuers, it is possible that–after the initial bug-out–you may see the need to return to your residence for a forgotten keepsake or microfiche containing evidence that will blow the conspiracy apart.

We recommend the rental lockers located at any fine transportation terminal. Airport terminals are best, since they combine permanence and privacy with a certain level of security. Railway terminals are second; what they lack in security, they make up for with the fact that no one rides trains, any more. Bus stations are less expensive, but they are significantly less secure, and they are often gathering places for vagrants. If there is no other recourse, a bus station will have to do, but be prepared to smell like urine until you can locate an open Brooks Brothers.

No one who is not you should know the location of your go-bag, and the time you should tell them is never.

We hope you’ve found this Infopomphlet useful, and that the advice inside allows you the sort of temporary mobile security you deserve. Be sure to check out our other Infopamphlets, like Long Range Assassination for Recently Activated Sleepers, and So You Want to Play the Bagpipes.

The Great Wind

By Brett Hainley

Barry Wilson was entirely unremarkable. He was average height, of average build, with eyes and grayish-brown hair that was probably thinning a little, but not dramatically. He stood at the exact center of every possible demographic. He was white, but had ethnic blood in his ancestry. He worked a clerical job for a corporation that made things and sold other things. If any woman could be reasonably expected to remember him as soon as her back was turned, his wife would probably be middle-height with mousey brown hair. It wasn’t even as if he was invisible, like those people who seem to slip beneath notice until they do something and everyone’s surprised they were even there. Barry was simply unremarkable, like a number two pencil, or a golf ball.

The only place where he even stood out at all was that he had always been somewhat gassy. Most of the time, he would relieve the pressure through silent burps and the occasional poot, but there were times, depending on what he had eaten, when he would release a truly heroic belch or tragically comic fart. It was at one of these times, while watching a moderately popular series and farting loudly enough that he had to change the volume on the show, the Barry came up with his plan. He would become famous for his gassiness.
He decided he would belch the entire US Constitution and all twenty-four Amendments. This meant training. He set himself a dietary regimen of nothing but radishes and unsweetened citrus drinks. He found that orange juice produced the best tone, but that he got more volume from a punch made of orange, lemon, and grapefruit juices. Adding lime seemed to extend the time of the belch.

Sadly, he couldn’t stand the pressure. The amount of gas necessary just to recite the preamble and most of Article One was so great that Barry thought he was going to die, and his plan seemed to die.

When life closes a door, however, it opens a window. Barry decided that life needed to open a big window, because he was going to create the longest, loudest fart in history. This fart, he decided, was going to be titanic. This would be a fart that could be used to warn ships during fog. This would be The Great Wind!
For weeks, he ate noting but broccoli and American cheese, and every few days he would test to see if his theory was working. Somehow, the media got wind of his plan, and he was invited to present the Great Wind at an outdoor stadium downtown, in front of a host of spectators and honored guests.

The big day finally arrived; Barry would be opening for an aging punk band on their fifth reunion tour. The three surviving members, each worth billions (one was a successful conservative talk show host), were glad to have the Great Wind kick off their tour, to show their fans they were still edgy. Barry stood on the stage. This was his time. People would know him!

He closed his eyes and…passed gas.

He passed gas for a long time, in silence. He was still passing gas when the band came out and shooed him away so they could play their set. Luckily, there was a mild breeze. Barry was still passing gas when the show ended and through the bus ride home. He passed gas for seven hours and thirteen minutes, but no one was really aware except him. He had done something truly remarkable, but no one knew; no one really remembered that he had tried.

When it was done, as he sat in his living room, watching an ubiquitous show in syndication, he sighed, and said, “Excuse me.”

Camp Stories: The Seige

By Brett Hainley

The men of the Company of Nine were gathered around the fire. Garald, the captain, was away with the lords, planning strategy. Ulfstan, the Norther, was tending the fire and the pot of stew he had started. The others were caring for their equipment.

Einar, the smaller moon, shined above the battlements, his young face just beginning to give way to the scarred. Gianni, the Souther, noticed the new man, Donal, staring up at it. “What’s got your eye?” he asked.

Donal glanced at him. He was big, not quite as large as Ulfstan, but big enough to swing a longsword as if it were a spatha. He was new to the Company, but not to war. They wouldn’t have trust him at all, but Sean, the old veteran sergeant, had spoken for him. “I was just thinking,” he shrugged, “about the last time I sat in siege, and Einar started showing his ugly side.”

The other men got quiet, and waited to hear his tale. “It was ten, no fifteen years ago. I was a conscript archer for Duke Pellen in his drive against the Fomor.” There was a snort of disbelief at this broad swordsman ever drawing a bow. “I was young,” he replied, “with no more hair on my face than a babe’s, and had yet to come into my full stature. Anyway, my people are known for our skill with a bow.” He turned his attention back to his sword, alternately stroking the blade with his whetstone and wiping it with a cloth.

Arian spoke up. “What about the siege?”

Donal gazed at him thoughtfully. Arian was a young man, younger than any others at the fire, and this may have been his first campaign. “It wasn’t really much of a siege. Not a grand army against a fortified city, like this, here. We were just an early sortie in the larger campaign, sent to test the will and the might of the Fomor.

“We’d scored an early victory against one of the larger tribes, and had pursued them to their stronghold, a small wooden bailey in the hills. The stockade backed up to a high cliff, and the surrounding woods worked with a deep river to channel us into a frontal position. Count Sevier kept our main force back and away. He had the forward camps light fires so there were only a few men to each, and he held muster each morning in different positions, hoping the Fomor would think we had more men than we did. This had the added bonus of reducing the risk of men getting hit when the defending archers shot at the watch fires.

“We held the siege for maybe four weeks without incident, expecting that sooner or later the savages would relent. We’d struck early in the harvest, and we were sure that they hadn’t laid on any kind of emergency provision.

“It was on the second night of the fifth week that things started to go bad. My company was on a knoll above the left forward flank, so we saw it from the beginning. Einar had just risen above the battlements, his ugly side barely showing, when the fires at either end of the front line dwindled, and went out. I was sent down to inform Count Sevier what we’d seen, but soon learned he was already aware. He had sent men to find out what the meaning was. By the time I returned to the hill, two more fires had gone out on either side.

“We watched all night, but no more fires went out. Some supposed that the companies at those fires had deserted, sneaking off into the woods in the night, but the right flank was girded by a river, deep and strong, and surely someone would have heard splashing even if the men had dare the river at night. It was also noted that Count Sevier’s men had not returned, either, and they were veterans of his personal guard, loyal and true, not superstitious conscripts from the low valleys.

“Lord Sevier rearranged the watches, and moved more men forward with orders to shoot down any who tried to desert. But the next night, the same thing happened.

“We had settled in for a long, easy siege. Our supply lines were strong, and the Fomor were unlikely to receive outside aid. Most of those clans hate each other as much as they hate anyone else, carrying old grudges with them like priceless heirlooms. But, now, we knew we’d have to risk a frontal assault.

“The third night, Lord Sevier pulled the men back from the first rank after the watch fires were lit. Meanwhile, he moved the archers to the center and prepared us to move forward.
“In the morning, we advanced on the fort. While most of us offered cover, a small corps fired arrows rigged with lines at the gate, hoping to pull it down across the motte. The Fomor concentrated on us—fools! We were merely a feint.

“In the night, Lord Sevier had ordered ladder built, and while we held the Fomor’s attention, the lord and his guard quietly placed the ladders and breached their walls on both flanks. The valley was soon filled with their cries of surprise and despair.

“The vanguard opened the gate for us, and the main force drove in and we massacred the town, ever man, woman and child.” Donal looked at the stunned faces around him. “You think we were the savages? So did I, at first. But what you don’t know, and what we should have guessed, is what we found inside.”

He stared down at his sword for a long moment, fighting down emotion. “We found the missing men, hung by their feet, dressed like pigs in a butcher’s shop.”

Renters

By Brett Hainley

Greg King sat at the back of the Home Owners Association meeting. He wouldn’t be there at all, except that his friend, Eunice Waller had called him asking him to sit in, so they’d have a quorum. Greg had given up on the Yaupon Lakes Community Association long ago, and had no plans of bothering, now.

To be fair, Yaupon Lakes was not insane like some of the subdivisions where his friends lived. Deed Restrictions were modest, and mostly agreed with city ordinances on the subject of home care and responsibility. This had more to do with the vision of the developer, fifty years ago than the current board, but still, it was nice to be allowed the liberty of planting his yard the way he wanted and not according to some “perfect plan” developed by an angry retiree whose life centered on his neighbors’ faults.

Eunice sat down next to Greg as Albert Parks called the meeting to order. She was a handsome black woman dressed in conservative style. She owned a small, successful string of salons, and Greg often wondered why she didn’t live in a better neighborhood. Yaupon Lakes was nice, and the retention pond that served as their “lake” was well-maintained and beautiful, especially since the land around it had been deeded to the city as a park, but urban encroachment had been seeping into the neighborhood for a while, and the surrounding district did not reflect Yaupon’s family-friendly atmosphere.

Al read announcements and called for a reading of the minutes. He sounded like a fifth grader forced to read the morning roll call at school. Greg raised his hand. “Move to adopt without reading,” he said when Albert called on him.

“Can we do that?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, um, do I have a second?” Five people in the crowd said, “Second.” The motion was unanimously carried. Greg sighed happily that he wouldn’t have to waste ten minutes listening to Arbor Johnson, the secretary, struggle through the small-typed minutes prepared by the management company.

Eunice leaned into him. “You were always better at this. You should be up there.” Greg smiled gratefully at her and shrugged. He had been up there for three years. During that time, he had beaten a budget shortfall into submission and raised community activity in the Association, but he’d had to fight uphill all the way. An organized group, mostly original residents, opposed every action he’d attempted and tried to impose rules and practices that Greg found repugnant. When they’d forced through a payment policy that seemed more about punishing people for hard luck than it was about the financial health of the Association, Greg had resigned. He walked out of the meeting and never looked back.

Until Eunice called. She had asked him why he’d resigned back in the day, and when he told her he was tired, she had respected that. It would have been rude of him not to do her this little favor.
John Sharp, who was in charge of Deed Restrictions Enforcement, was going on and on about “renters”. There was something odd in his tone when he said the word that caught Greg’s ear. He leaned over to Eunice.

“Does he mean “minorities”?”

“He means “blacks”,” she said, her voice tight, “but I’m sure he’s thinking “niggers”.” When John moved on to a tirade about certain residents painting their brick in bright pastels, she leaned back to Greg. “He may also mean “wetbacks”.”

Greg shook his head and wondered how his neighbors had regressed so far. Had they always been this racist? He remembered an event during his own tenure where he had heard Arbor talking to a woman who wanted to volunteer. Arbor had sounded like she was talking the young woman out of the idea without actually telling her she wasn’t welcome. Greg thought, at the time, it had been just because the woman was so young, but she had been of East Asian descent, and now he wondered if that had been a factor.

Louise Fletcher, who always added, “not that one,” when she introduced herself, as if anyone would confuse the mousey little brunette with Nurse Ratched, was reading off the slate of nominees. This was why a quorum was needed. Nineteen residents had to be in attendance for the nominations to next year’s board to be valid. Greg noted two open At-Large positions, and silently noted that they’d managed to alienate that many people.

Al called for nominations from the floor, and Eunice stood up. “I nominate Greg King for President!”

“You can only make floor nominations for the two open At-Large positions,” Al corrected her.

“No,” Greg heard himself say.

“What?”

“Any position on the Board is subject to floor nomination.” He caught Al’s eye. “Read your by-laws.”

Al looked for support to the representative of the management company. She shrugged and nodded. “All right,” he surrendered, glaring at Greg, “Greg King for President. Is there a second?” A surprising number of voices were raised to second the nomination. Al said something else.

“Sorry?”

“Does the nominee assent?” Al said, sounding like he was reading from a foreign language phrasebook.

Greg considered it for a moment. Did he really want to be dragged back into this mess? Did he have a right not to do what he could? He sighed. “Yeah. Okay. Sure.”

The meeting was adjourned soon after. Greg bit his tongue and didn’t inform Al that he just needed a second for adjournment, not a vote. Outside, he lit a cigarette and stood talking to Eunice for a moment.

“I hope you didn’t mind,” she said.

“Mind?”

“When I nominated you. I was afraid you might think I tricked you into coming just for that.”

“That’s fine.”

“Good. I’ll see you next month for the vote.” Greg had the oddest feeling she had something up her sleeve.

“Yeah, bye.”

More people filtered out, on the way to their cars. Some stopped and congratulated him, shaking his hand. “I haven’t won yet,” he’d say, distractedly. He was trying to focus on a thing he heard. It was small and high, jus on the edge of hearing. Greg tried to locate the source.

Al came out with his wife, and they both started to berate him for “calling them out.”

Greg said, “Excuse me,” and walked past them to the hedge that grew next to the community building. He lay down on his stomach so he could see the little kitten, just barely weaned, sitting alone in the hedge and whining piteously. “Hey there stranger,” he said. “Would you like to come home with me?”

The kitten strolled out of its hiding place and walked right up to Greg, as if it had been waiting for his invitation. Greg stood, stroking the kitten’s forehead with one finger. He waved to the Parkses, and walked home.