Many have done this: Flashed their own lights at an oncoming vehicle which has yet to turn on its own lights, or to warn of upcoming poor road conditions like standing water or a lane obstruction. But when it comes to flashing one’s lights to warn oncoming traffic of a speed trap, there is cause for pause. Maybe one is afraid to intervene because the warning is considered illegal in many states. Or maybe one thinks the guy speeding toward us deserves to get caught – it would serve him right!
Either way, a federal court in Missouri has now ruled that penalizing drivers for the headlight flash violates their First Amendment right to free speech. “The order,” reports the Associated Press, “stems from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri on behalf of Michael Elli. On Nov. 17, 2012, Elli flashed his headlights to warn oncoming vehicles of a radar set up by Ellisville police.”
So what is so wrong about warning drivers of impending consequences? Well, if you are the police, the warning may rob you of meeting your quota for speeding tickets. If you are the municipality in which the warning takes place, you may be robbed of your income from the offender’s fees and fines. But if you are the offender who receives and heeds the warning, you have everything to gain.
The Missouri judge, in his ruling, said that the flashing of headlights was essentially a good thing, sending “a message to bring one’s driving in conformity with the law – whether it be by slowing down, turning on one’s own headlamps at dusk or in the rain, or proceeding with caution.”
What is your excuse for not warning a brother or sister of impending consequences for their reckless behavior? Maybe you are simply afraid to intervene – afraid of getting involved in a sticky situation. Or maybe you think they deserve what is coming – it would serve them right!
Maybe we should all approach a fair warning to an erring brother like the federal judge in Missouri, considering a warning essentially a good thing, sending a message to bring another’s behavior into conformity with God’s law, sparing them and others of the harmful consequences. In the end, when we help others safely and cautiously navigate the roads of life, we all have something to gain.
“Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1).
Think About It!
Have A Great Day!
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Hamilton, Texas 76531