Leibo at Large: Monkey Madness

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

You want to know the most abused word in the English language? Hero, hands down.

The shabby treatment heroism gets came to mind the other day when I was looking at this picture.

The guy shown – allegedly – is a Phoenix resident by the name of Dave Vontesmar. You’ve probably read about this clown: His claim to fame is, he likes to speed along the 51 freeway on his way to work at Sky Harbor Airport, roaring past the photo radar cameras at top speed while wearing his monkey mask. So far, he’s racked up 37 outstanding photo radar tickets, with fines totaling nearly seven grand.

For this blatant disregard of the law, some folks in the Valley call Vontesmar a hero.

He’s not. And I can prove it.

Heroes act selflessly. They run toward a source of danger. Heroes represent the best in us, the urge to sacrifice for something larger than our own gratification.

Vontesmar is literally the opposite of heroic. He is a source of danger, and a selfish one at that. The only thing he’s going to sacrifice is a life. Let’s hope it isn’t someone else’s.

As for the subject of photo radar, frankly, I can’t say I understand all the complaining from Monkey Man and his worshipers. Stats say they make our roads safer and the presence of the cameras free up real cops to do real policing. Plus, it’s not like the cameras are subtle: The state tells you where they are and gives you 11 mph leeway.

If you don’t want to get a photo radar ticket, hey, here’s a thought: Don’t speed.

And if you don’t like photo radar, put your aggravation to good use: Protest at the Legislature or work to gather signatures to put banning speed cameras on the ballot. But don’t make a mockery of the law.

Sounds like hard work, I know. But since when has hard work ever scared off a hero?