Everyone likes a good yarn. I’m not talking about the kind the kittens play with, but a good old rip roaring story told around the camp fire or beer pong table.

Everyone’s laughing and each story seems to be a little crazier than the last. Some are believable, with maybe just a little embellishment. For example, instead of just one cop chasing you naked down the street, it was two naked cops chasing you down the street. Who knows for sure?

[media-credit id=20201 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]Some stories are a little more difficult to tell if they’re true or not. For example, how you spent last summer with your uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines. As neither an expert in Alaskan wildlife nor state hunting regulations, who am I to doubt the veracity of a story like that?

Most of the time these are all stories told for fun and we are just trying to outdo each other. Sometimes the stories are pretty incredible and get passed on from keg to keg. Before you know it, you’ve gone from telling a cop who gives you a ticket that you might have a general inclination toward the idea that maybe this ticket was not really the best thing in the world, to becoming the legendary guardian of Isla Vista by standing up to the authorities who attempted to issue that ticket by affirming the due process clause inherent in the Constitution that protects you and your fellow citizens from the violation you stand accused of, upholding Truth, Justice and the American Way!

Sure, and like “Clash of the Titans” it might have been a good story, but now it’s just a lot of crap.  However, stories are meant to entertain us. It’s just that when someone tries to apply the story they heard about your ticket to a real situation they get into, it doesn’t go very well.

I was arrested for being drunk and asked several times to have my rights read to me. The cop refused and even laughed at me. I was told this was a violation of my civil rights! Is that true?

Ahh, the curse of the evil disease “copdramatis bullcrapius.” In just about every cop show or movie, right after the crook is arrested the cop starts walking him to the car and recites the Miranda rights to him.  This makes a great dramatic effect, but in reality it doesn’t work that way. The Miranda rights were created to let you know what your rights are when you’re in custody or arrested, and questioned about a crime. In your case, and in almost all public intoxication arrests, the officer already had the information he needed to make the arrest, so additional questioning and the Miranda rights were not necessary. If he sat you down and began to question you about where you were drinking, how much, how you got the alcohol, etc. with the intent of using that information to prosecute you, then he would be required to read them to you.

Someone left a bike in our front yard and it’s been there for about two weeks. Everyone in the house is starting to use it to get to class. Will I get in trouble for using it?

The real question here is, “Do you know who the bike belongs to?” It’s highly unlikely it was left by the bike fairy as a gift. Unless the bike fairy is a six-foot drunk hairy guy with a T-shirt half covering his belly that says “I’m With Stupid” with an arrow pointing up? I’m thinking that’s not the bike fairy, but more likely someone who just stole a bike while trying to get home from a party.

So, if you choose to ride the bike and use it as yours, you are in possession of stolen property. Any time you find someone’s property, you are required to make an attempt to locate the owner and return it. If you don’t, you can be cited or arrested for possessing property you know, or should have reasonably known, is stolen.
If you find an abandoned bike that you would like to claim, bring it by the police dept. and check to see if it is reported as stolen. If not, it can be returned to you after 90 days and it becomes your property.

I hope you all had a great holiday break and welcome back to Isla Vista! Every year a few Grinches make their way through town and take advantage of all the empty homes. If you find that some Grinch has gone off with your gifts, trees and other items, be sure to report it to the I.V. Foot Patrol at 681-4179. If you don’t report the theft, we have no way of getting your stuff back to you. And while you have our ear, don’t hesitate to Question Authority!