Much has been said for and against the Supreme Court's decision that a policeman has a right to ask the driver of an automobile to get out of his car in the wake of a "traffic stop."
Many of those "against" comments have been directed at me by my liberal colleagues. Some of the younger reporters probably think I'm an antediluvian creep who doesn't really understand the facts of modern life. And perhaps I am.
Critics tell me that the court's decision will now make it possible for policemen to issue dictatorial orders to "people of a different color, or people with long hair, or some other characteristic policemen don't like." And I must concede that, here and there in this vast land, abuses undoubtedly will occur. But I suggest to my friends that they give a thought to Gregg A. Presbury, a Maryland state trooper who is still fighting for his life as these lines are written, but who is said to have only a slim chance to live.
In the course of his duties, trooper Presbury made a "routine traffic stop" Monday night. He was shot repeatedly and left for dead by a driver who had aroused Presbury's suspicions. For those who think it is unwise to permit a suspicious policeman to order people out of their cars, I have three questions: 1) If we're so worried about possible abuse of authority, why do we permit any policeman to carry a gun? 2) Would you like to be the clay pigeon who is charged with the responsibility for stopping traffic violators? 3) If you would, how come you haven't applied for a job as a policeman?