North’s first law of bureaucracy is this: “Some bureaucrat will enforce eventually the letter of the law to the point of absurdity.”
A case in point. The son of Loretta Robinson, who is black, was killed last year in an auto accident. The driver of the other car was deemed to be at fault. She was drunk. She was an illegal alien. She was driving without a driver’s license. It was an open-and-shut case. She was convicted and sent to prison.
Will she pay restitution? Of course not. Then who pays the bills? Taxpayers. For how long? Seventeen years. At what cost per year? At least $20,000.
But there was another problem. The accident had imposed costs on the highway department. For one thing, the highway department had to tow the dead man’s car away and impound it. For another, he had bled before he died. This had stained the highway.
Who should pay for this?
A bureaucrat in the highway department wasted no time thinking through the answer. He sent the $50 bill for blood stain removal to the grieving mother. Then there was the towing expense and the car storage expense. That also got tacked onto the bill.
This was all done by the book. The book is in South Carolina.
The bureaucrat might have thought through the implications of all this.
“Let’s see. The bills are minimal. The woman lost her son. This is South Carolina, which has not been known for its rigorous stand in favor of civil rights. The woman is black. This could wind up as a human interest story across the country. We would look like a bunch of imbecilic blood-suckers. Maybe the highway department can eat the loss on this one.”
Did the story get picked up? All over the country and then England.