Mark your calendar: On July 16, Arizona's famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) speed cameras are shutting down. And depending on your perspective, this will either prove to be a day to celebrate freedom from government intrusion into our lives, or as an editorial in the Arizona Daily Republic puts it, the situation will be "turning the state's highways into an amateur version of Phoenix International Raceway."
The controversial fixed and mobile mounted highway speed cams were established on Arizona's highways during the administration of the last Governor, Janet Napolitano. At the the time both safety and financial issues were cited, suggesting that the unmanned radar-operated cameras could reduce accidents and help the Grand Canyon State's sagging coffers. Like a lot of other controversies, it depends on who you listened to as to if any of those projections really came true.
One thing is certain, the highway cameras did fire up plenty of opinion, and action. The negative responses tallied in from the childish--shooting of "silly string" over camera faces--to the completely villainous--shooting to death the civilian employee operator of one of the mobile mounted cams. One area judge ruled the system unconstitutional, and dismissed more than 8,000 of the speed cam generated citations.
Just how traffic will react, and what the final outcome will be will have to be determined long after the cameras vanish--like a fading Polaroid picture left out in the desert sun.
photo: Pistols Drawn on flickr.com by creative commons license.