I'm a little stressed right now. I've got a traffic ticket I'm fighting tomorrow in court - no lawyer, just me - for supposedly "following too closely." It's the cop's word against mine, but that doesn't mean I'll win. I'd just feel even worse if I didn't at least stand up for myself. I know that, because I've been on the side of just being a victim with the cops.
Several years ago in Denver, I was working at a downtown restaurant, driving two other waiters home after our shift ended, when I needed to detour around one of the big festivals that was in the process of being set up on the streets. Unfamiliar with the area, I inadvertently turned the wrong way down a one way street. It turned out to be a one way street for one block only, but that block was smack dab in front of the police station. A few seconds later, I saw flashing lights behind me and pulled over. The officer had me and one of my passengers get out of the car while he and his partner frisked us. In my case, the officer put both of his hands in the front pockets of my uniform pants at the same time and groped me, and then grabbed my cash tips for the night and asked, "What is this?" The other waiter said he was also groped. It was a disgusting and humiliating experience, but there was no way to prove it. Still, I've been angry about that for years and I always wish I'd at least stood up for myself in court instead of just paying the fine. I might lose my case tomorrow, but at least I won't be a wimp.