For the average risk-averse citizen, avoiding trouble should be an easy enough task. Stay in school, don’t do drugs, eat your vegetables. Never let an argument escalate to the point of no return. Always remember to wear a seatbelt.
Yet just when we thought we’ve mastered the art of staying under the radar, a recent scandal involving a Canadian man, a popular 90s dance hit, and an open car window has left us questioning the fabric of our inoffensive existence.
Taoufik Moalla was driving down a highway, singing his heart out to C+C Music Factory’s summer anthem ‘Everybody Dance Now’ when he suddenly found himself surrounded by four Montreal police cars. We’ve all heard the phrase at least once: bad singing is criminal. But for Moalla, it literally was. Moalla was, to his own shock, slapped with a C$149 fine for ‘screaming in public’.
In an age of hyper-surveillance, where cameras monitor our every move (or near enough), car karaoke sessions are one of the few luxuries a skittish introvert has left. But now? It’s probably safer to sing in the shower.
The former dance-pop enthusiast, current felon, had expressed his shock and confusion to CTV News: “I don’t know if my voice was very bad”.
To avoid becoming Moalla, we need to be wary of any action that can land us in hot water. Forgetfulness is another way the innocent go wayward. Remember the library book you borrowed ages ago and forgot to return? No? Well, the police do.
Just last year a Texan man was arrested for failing to return a GED study guide checked out over three years ago. 500 miles east in North Carolina, an unsuspecting driver was arrested for a similar crime: failing to return a rented VHS tape. The video store to which the tape belonged went defunct in 2002, but not before the store had lodged a warrant for the man’s arrest. Our advice? Skip rental. You’re better off purchasing on Amazon.
In the same town as our rental bandit, a man was charged for the most unlikely cause: verbal road rage. The crime? ‘swearing on a public road or highway’. While the exact profanity remains unknown, any drivers among us would likely admit to doing the same thing on a semi-regular basis. We’re all potential felons here, it seems. How do we keep out of trouble then? We can only speculate, but our advice: if you want to swear without consequences, it’s time to go down under. Our investigations reveal the man may have been better off in Australia, where a judge declared ‘cunt’ to not be an egregious swear.
So after all of this, you’re intimidated into becoming the model citizen. You sing privately, you never take out rentals, and you don’t swear. But it’s not over yet. As if the spectrum of criminality hasn’t widened enough, now more than ever regular citizens must be aware of actions that people have tried to get others arrested for.
Last year, a Swedish woman petitioned police to arrest her short-lived love interest for farting as he stormed out of her apartment. She explained that she invited the former lover into her home for sex, but after revoking the invitation, he had released a wind of particularly putrid gas.
Swedish police didn’t buy it, but maybe her case would have fared better in the UK. Our great country might fence sit on matters like immigration, health care, and minority protection, but they definitely don’t mess around when it comes to vengeful farting. In 2008, an Englishman was charged with battery after farting on an officer. In 2012, a Welsh woman narrowly escaped harassment charges after ‘viciously farting’ on her ex boyfriend.
Everyday, more and more ordinary citizens find themselves trapped in the web of law enforcement. One wrong step and you’ve walked right into jail. Make sure you’re not like the others. Simply stay updated on the never ending list of crimes, even at the expense and neglect of all other self care, and you, too, can keep yourself safe.
Image: Boris Lechaftois via Flickr