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You Tailgatin' Me? You Tailgatin' ME?

Oh joy. John Hinckley is going to get a driver's license. I can see the bumper sticker now: "You don't have to be crazy to drive in D.C.--but it helps!"

The would-be presidential assassin's doctors say there's no reason for Hinckley not to have a driver's license, that it will help with his recovery, that he is no longer a danger to society. But consider: When was the last time you wanted to kill someone? I'm betting it was when someone cut you off on the Beltway or rode your rear bumper on I-66.

Driving in D.C. is not exactly therapeutic.

At least Hinckley won't have to be told not to smile for his photo. In every recent picture I've seen his face has the flat affect of the tranquilized.

Come to think of it, a Prozac drip with a Thorazine chaser would probably be helpful for navigating the highways and byways of our nation's capital. That guy whipping around you on the shoulder? That crotch rocket weaving between cars on 270? That retiree who's had her right turn signal on for the last eight exits? Relaaaax. Don't let them bother you.

This just in: Yesterday My Lovely Wife saw a woman eating corn-on-the-cob while driving on Randolph Road. Are there any other foodstuffs less suitable for consuming while driving than a hot buttered ear of corn? Crabs, maybe. I wonder if she flossed after finishing her corn. She probably has a Waterpik plugged into her cigarette lighter.

The other Hinckley news is that the judge granted a request allowing the would-be presidential assassin to volunteer in the Williamsburg area. I wonder what volunteer work Hinckley would be best suited for. Maybe picking up trash on the side of the road. ("Adopt a Highway Litter Control. Next Two Miles: John Hinckley and Jodie Foster." "John, I'm sorry, but you know we can't put her name up there, no matter how impressed you think she'd be at your trash-removal abilities.") Or delivering Meals on Wheels, now that he's getting his license and everything.

All I know is, if you should hail a cab and Hinckley's at the wheel, don't get in.

By John Kelly  |  June 17, 2009; 10:02 AM ET
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Sadly, I've seen quite a few corn on the cob drivers.

Weirdest ever? That would be a white lady who cut off several cars as she was eating some sort of Chinese noodle dish with chopsticks on 395 north.

Posted by: stikyfingas | June 17, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Don't you know? The Virginia speed limit is "8 inches behind the person in front of you."

If I was doing 130 on a nearly empty beltway with one other car (Not a cop car) while driving in the slow lane, that car would be tailgating me, I swear to God.

Posted by: Stuck_In_Traffic | June 17, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Driving without headlights on in the rain, driving under the speed limit in the left lane, and failure to use blinkers when changing lanes cause major road rage and are all dangerous and against the law - but police do nothing about it.

Posted by: millertek | June 17, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Jokes about mental illness are uproarious. More please!

Posted by: DupontJay | June 17, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

John, keep up the jokes about mental illness. Weingarten already has poop covered. So to speak.

Plucking absurd situations out of the headlines and making fun of them is a time-honored tradition. HL Mencken and Mark Twain come to mind. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: reddragon1 | June 17, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

slam on your brakes!

Posted by: nall92 | June 17, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I love how people use (or don't) their turn signals in this area. My personal favorite was the idiot who decided to cut across I-66 from the left hand land because they wanted to get off at exit 43B, causing multiple cars in all the other lanes to stand on their brakes while she did it, without any indication of her intent to do so, finally shoving herself in front of me while I was exiting on 43B to miss my front bumper by about four inches.

While those actions alone make her an idiot in my book, what cemented her status was that a full 30 seconds after she came to rest at the traffic light onto 29... She proceeds to THEN turn on her turn signal to tell me she's planning on turning left onto Route 29 at the light...

Turn signals in this country are useless automotive features. When I was learning to drive 30 years ago, you could be cited in VA for "failure to signal". Now? I doubt any cops even realize that law is still on the books. Why isn't it enforced? The fine associated with the ticket won't pay for the officer's time to write and then process the ticket.

The police in this area don't enforce the traffic safety laws, they only enforce revenue generation laws.

Posted by: mika_england | June 17, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The jokes about mental illness in this piece are in poor taste.

Posted by: rosepetals64 | June 17, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I saw someone eating a salad while driving. Yes, a salad. Holding the plastic bowl in one hand, using the fork with the other. If you do the math, that leaves 0 hands for driving.

Posted by: a1231 | June 17, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I saw someone once leave a Dairy Queen while driving and holding an ice cream cone.

You can't put an ice cream cone down and drive with both hands.

Posted by: dstrachan | June 17, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Should we be concerned about the fact that a driver's license is not only a permit to drive, but also enables people to buy guns at shows in Virginia and elsewhere where they still don't do background checks?

Posted by: cpwdc | June 17, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Per jokes about mental illness...

We're talking about John Hinckley, Jr. A man who was declared not guilty by reason of insanity. A man who has spent over 20 years in St. Elizabeths (and who, almost 20 years later, was *still* smuggling in materials about Jodie Foster).

He is the poster child of the *dangerously* mentally ill, right up there with Charles Manson. John is not discussing a person with autism or Down's - he's talking about a man insane enough to shoot 6 bullets in three seconds in order to impress an actress.

And by the way, John's observation is correct: Hinckley has shown no emotional affect in photographs since the assassination attempt. THAT is scary.

I for one, actually laughed out loud at this. It's one of the only ways I can get over how p*ssed off I am about this.

And I laughed doubly hard at the thought of the Waterpik in the cigarette holder.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 17, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Tailgating is rude, unlawful and unsafe. But add to the list two cars going the same speed on a two lane road like on 66 inside the Beltway blocking traffic in an inconsiderate manner. Impeding traffic is actually a factor in aggressive driving in Virginia regardless of speed. I personally get claustrophobic, then angry - then very angry in those breaking the law and trying to control others like myself. This anger causes impulsive behavior and is a reason I'll never carry a gun in my car. But others, perhaps like Hinckley may not do as well with anger management. Play safe, be considerate, let the cops control traffic, and stop lagging in the left lane please.

Posted by: GarrisonLiberty | June 17, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Last night had someone behind me who was at the same time:

1) Smoking a cigarette
2) Drinking water
3) Talking on a cellphone

He was holding the cellphone to his shoulder with his head, the water bottle in his right hand, the cigarette in his left.

He would steer the car with his left hand long enough to stay in the lane and then let go to flick the cig ashes out the driver's side window.

Posted by: mika_england | June 17, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

DC driver's license for John Hinckley? No problem.

Zoned Residential Parking Permit? No way!

Really now. There ARE limits.

Posted by: MikeLicht | June 17, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse


Punk they do background checks at gun shows in VA for delaer sales. Background checks are not required for private sales ie you walk around the gun show with a sign offering a Benelli semi auto 12 gauge for sale. If you sold this same gun from your house a check would not be required in any state. So punk shut up.

Posted by: sheepherder | June 18, 2009 6:55 AM | Report abuse

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