Recently by Karen De Coster: Pork: The Government’s Other WhiteMeat
Just recently, a friend of mine was stopped by the Michigan State Police for having committed the insidious crime of driving her vehicle that has tinted front windows. Tinted windows are regulated by individual states, and in the era of vehicle customizations for artistic purposes, they have become immensely popular, and thus they have also become a favorite target of the police harassment state. You can read an overview of the individual state laws here.
My friend was given a hefty ticket, and she could only avoid the monetary punishment by producing a prescription or a note from a doctor. She only recently bought the car, in used condition, with the windows already tinted. So she immediately reached out to two doctors she sees regularly, and she obtained, yes, a prescription from one doctor and a ‘doctor note’ from her second doctor. It’s easy to make crap up — these docs can spin it any way they want. She sent me copies of the doc note and the prescription, and I found both of them to be hilarious and heroic.
I have another friend who lives in the city of Detroit, where he has been ticketed numerous times for his window tint. He usually gets stopped by the same couple of cops. He is black, a large man, and he is a Muslim — and with his facial hair one can certainly tell that he is a Muslim. Each time he is stopped he is needlessly harassed, and still, he has refused to get rid of the tint. He is a very security-oriented person, and he likes his privacy, especially for his wife when she is driving alone.
On that note, I’ve always wanted a dark tint for both of my front windows, but I haven’t wanted to bring on the harassment that is sure to come with it. When I am stopped by bully cops for other reasons, the results have never been gainful. I have a Honda Element that has the rear windows tinted dark at 35% (legal in Michigan), with no significant tint on the front windows. Quite frankly, I am tired of being ‘checked out’ by strangers in vehicles next to me, especially at red lights.
I often have males — usually in work trucks or raggedy jalopies — making very blatant and unshakable visual contact with me. Even if I creep upward a few feet at the light to avoid their disturbing stare, they also creep up in order to roll right next to me. I’ll creep forward again, and they do the same…again. These are not rare occurrences. It’s gone so far as to have men (and cars full of male teenagers) roll down their windows and verbally harass me, even while I continue to look straight ahead and ignore them.
Dark tinted windows would help to solve some of these troubles I experience. Additionally, here in Detroit it is disturbingly common to have your windows punched out in order for thieves to steal the contents inside the vehicle, even when vehicles are parked in very public (busy) places. One bag or box in your vehicle is a huge enticement for the scavenger thieves to bust in. Dark windows are an impediment to theft because street criminals are more likely to take the risk of breaking into a vehicle when they can observe the vehicle’s contents.
The tale is that tinted windows became an enemy of the police state because of cops being shot while approaching vehicles with dark tinted windows. Dark windows do limit visibility, but if that were true, the same could happen with passengers behind the front seat in any car, or especially from the rear in an SUV. However, many states allow darker tinted (or unlimited tint) windows in the back of vehicles, as well as the rear of SUVs. Often, the allowance for tint on the front windows is dictated by how dark the back windows are tinted.