These are not only the lyrics to a classic song by Otis Redding, they’re also the new job description for park rangers at Highline State Park. And this is not news to my fellow Craig — Meis that is, who brought to light the crime wave sweeping our Colorado lakes and rivers: 14-year old Hell’s Angels on jet skis waiting for dad to back up the SUV to the boat launch.
So aside from the fact that Craig made a Meis of things, let’s have a look at his actions. Actions, when taken in context, are those of a father and a citizen. Let me begin by saying that as a fellow Craig who has spent a lot of time (unsuccessfully) trying to get out of tickets, I would not have approached this matter in the way that Mr. Meis did. Although my end result — losing — would have been exactly the same.
As many of you know from the witch hunt going on in our local daily paper, Craig received a citation for allowing his 14-year-old son to operate a jet ski in violation of some law of some subsection of some codicil, part one, dash two. While receiving the ticket and cooperating fully and politely with the officer, Craig is said to have asked for a warning for his son instead of the citation, mentioned that he was a county commissioner, that he knew the prosecuting attorney (boy Pete, glad it’s not an election year!) and reiterated that the cost of the ticket is not worth the amount that a prosecution of the case would be in a Mesa County court.
The officer did say that Craig repeated several of these things over and over. While I doubt Craig sounded like a boat ride in “It’s a Small World,” he was well within his rights to state facts to the officer. And as far as I can tell, the above things I have written about are indeed, factually accurate. I can also tell you that Craig can be a tad overbearing —something in a name, I gather — so the officer could have selective memory as to what was oft repeated in his report. But the fact that things were said during this happenstance is no reason for tying Craig to a chair in the opposite end of a fulcrum and dropping him into Highline Lake to see if he floats or doesn’t drown after 20 minutes under water.
I have looked over the material provided by the local media as it relates to this case and I see nothing in any communication involving Mr. Meis as trying to use his position to get out of the citation. In fact, I see the opposite occurring. I see a ticked off dad trying to make a point about law officers using discretion based on circumstances. I also see a valuable civics lesson. And finally,
I see a man being convicted of the most heinous conservative-based crime of all: Knowing people.
Now you might ask why Meis brought up the fact that he was a county commissioner to the officer if he wasn’t trying to influence the situation. That’s a valid point, but in my opinion irrelevant, since Craig got the ticket anyway. And in all of Craig’s communication thereafter, he never asked to get out of the ticket as he had become adamant in pursuing his God-given right to “petition his government for redress of grievances.” And redress Meis did, all the way to being found guilty by a jury of his peers!
Now, I’m not privy to the transcripts of Mesa County’s “Trial of the Century,” but as I stifle my collective yawn, I’ll tell you how I see the whole episode. First off, I must praise Officer Johnson’s incredible talent of being able to ascertain how old someone is in a sitting position on a jet ski, actually heading away from his perspective at a distance of 100 yards. No wonder warnings are not given on these tickets, the cost of the covert training alone must run into the millions to prevent this epidemic on our waterways. Therefore, I nominate Officer Johnson for director of Homeland Security, because I’ve never seen in this day and age of political correctness an officer of the law get away with such obvious profiling.
Additionally, how many times have you vented to your friends about a ticket, a perceived slight or even a righteous indignation from those in authority over you? I do that every two weeks in my allotted column inches that I make my editor reserve for me (Now that I think of it, I wonder when Phil or Mike will attack my authority across the page from my ranting?) So we vent to those we know and sometimes to those we don’t. As a fellow Craig, I plead guilty as charged.
The final fact is that Craig’s son’s hair wasn’t on fire as he sped off full full-throttle shooting an Uzi at unsuspecting water skiers (Although given the colonoscopy focused treatment Craig received, it’s possible to me that someone could have been getting away just that on the lake more than 100 yards out). The young man was on a jet ski, waiting to load it up with his dad who was backing up the trailer. How is it that our eagle-eyed officer couldn’t comprehend the entire context of the situation? This is something we need to have zero tolerance for?
And that was exactly Craig’s point.
Craig Hall is owner and publisher of the Business Times. Reach him at 424-5133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.