Three names stand above the rest in 21st century patriotism: Pat Tillman, Edward Snowden, and, today, Long Island’s Stephen Ruth, with his long painter’s pole of justice.
Like too many champions of the people, Ruth finds himself on the wrong side of the law, in custody at Selden’s 6th precinct facing four counts of criminal tampering because he posted a few Facebook videos showing people how to disable red light traffic cameras.
“I’m going to show you how easy it is to take the power back,” Ruth says in one video, dapper in a shirt and tie, because when you extend a hand to dance with Lady Liberty, you gotta look the goddamn part. “And the gratification’s huge.”
“All you need is a pair of balls and a painter’s extension rod,” Ruth says, dictating the words that will one day be chiseled into the granite of the Ruth National Memorial.
Missouri’s citizens have been fighting these statistically hazardous, unconstitutional, cycloptic highwaymen with some success at the state supreme court. But the wheels of justice are slow, and sometimes a man needs to step up. Not a boy. A man. A man who encourages us all to grow a pair and carry a long pole.