Political scientist Hannah Arendt once called the often brutal and inhumane callousness of the bureaucratic state a “tyranny without a tyrant.”
One Virginia couple recently learned just how accurate that phrase is.
Doug Nelson, a 73-year-old postal worker and Vietnam veteran, and his wife, Nancy, were carjacked at gunpoint over six months ago, according to WJLA-TV.
Now, to make things worst for the Veteran, officials demanded he pays the tickets the criminals racked up in his stolen car.
The carjacking incident started after Doug finished his late shift at the U.S. Postal Service and arrived home just after midnight when he was accosted by a criminal who put a gun to his head and demanded his car.
Without hesitation, Doug handed over the car, hoping that was all he would lose.
“As I was exiting the vehicle, this guy came up with the pistol and said ‘Give me the car. You know, what’s happening. Give me a car,'” Nelson said to WJLA-TV.
Doug and his wife Nancy Nelson thought their troubles were over when the car was returned, but they were just beginning.
“Over $2,000 worth of fines. Yes. Over $2,000 worth of fines,” Nancy Nelson said.
As it turns out, the criminals who stole the Nelsons’ vehicle racked up more than $2,000 in traffic fines by speeding at over 70 mph in 30 mph zones.
No police officer needed to see the violations occur in order to issue the traffic tickets.
Rather, six separate, mindless, and money-generating camera systems installed by the D.C. government caught the vehicle on their screens and issued tickets to the vehicle’s owners: the Nelsons.
Nancy Nelson thought it would be simple to show the local government, the District of Columbia, that the tickets and camera footage corresponded to the time the car had been stolen, as corroborated by police reports. So she mailed in the tickets with a note and evidence of what had happened.
That’s when the nightmare really began, according to WJLA.
The ticket came back with instructions that the Nelsons still needed to pay the fines.
The couple proceeded to send in the police report, which documented the car had been stolen before a speed camera took the first picture, but they were rejected a second time.
They then went in for a face-to-face meeting with the hearings officer and were told their request could not be accommodated until their vehicle’s tag number was placed on the police report.
They went to the police station and were told it was not possible to put a tag number on the police report but that it was “in the system.”
“I’m in tears about all of this stuff,” Nancy said, “because it’s $2,000 worth of tickets that’s not even our fault.”
“I called my council member, I called the mayor’s office, and they told me (to) hold on, and I never heard back from them either,” Nancy said.
After all of this, D.C. closed the Nelsons’ case, stating they would have to pay for the tickets because the couple did not know they needed to file an additional document requesting that the case remain open.
This lasted six months.
Before the Nelsons were able to make use of one last option, they would need to pay the fines that have been applied during the time they sought to dismiss the tickets. They would need more than $5,000 to do that.
The 7News I-Team reported that D.C. officials would not respond to their requests for two weeks while they sought a way to resolve the issue. Eventually, they released a statement saying the tickets had been dismissed.
DC DMV had been communicating with Mr. Nelson since he began the adjudication process related to the six citations issued on November 2, 2020. The initial police incident submitted as part of that process was incomplete and failed to establish that the vehicle was stolen when the citations were issued. Subsequently, DC DMV received a more complete incident report with additional details related to the carjacking incident involving Mr. Nelson’s vehicle. As a result, DC DMV Adjudication Services has dismissed the six tickets, as well as the related fines and penalties.
Despite the concession reported to the news station, the Nelsons said that they had never been notified by D.C. officials that the tickets and fines had been dismissed. They also disputed that the DMV had been communicating with them during all that time.
Democrats have made the statehood of Washington, D.C., a major issue in their political platform.