It turns out that truckers can do more than clog Canadian highways in protest. On June 11, sheriff’s deputies in Martin County, Florida, received a crucial assist when what they described as a “mystery trucker” used the “skills of a linebacker” to help subdue a fleeing suspect. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office posted a 19-second clip of the incident to Facebook on Thursday. “Truckers are used to taking part in long convoys, but this convoy looked a little different,” the post began. It said the trucker was standing next to his semi minding his own business when he saw deputies giving chase. The Facebook post said “the Good Samaritan truck driver watched a line of MCSO deputies running after a fleeing man. It felt right to help.” The man “stepped in and created the wall that people joke about hitting when they have a bad headache. And just like that, 19-year old Robert Lee Clark was eastbound and down,” the sheriff’s office said. “It was a Smokey and the Bandit moment, but backwards,” the post said. “Watch as he seized the moment and tackled Clark dropping the rubber to the road like never before.” The incident ended with a suspect in custody and no harm done. The sheriff’s office, however, made sure to express gratitude to the trucker while warning citizens to be careful about such interventions. “We thank the driver for stepping in, although we don’t recommend engaging with fleeing suspects, just for your safety,” the sheriff’s office said. The post’s mixed message of appreciation and caution highlights something truly special about the American way of life. When we imagine ourselves at our moral best, we like to think that we would do whatever the moment appears to require of us. In fact — and here the question becomes political — the very concept of self-government depends on citizens having the freedom to exercise their reason and moral sense at all times. Whether or not the truck driver was wise to intervene, he knew that he could make that decision for himself. Skeptical readers might wonder why I appear to be turning a curious little incident into a discourse on self-government. If so, ask yourselves one thing: Faced with a split-second decision, would a truck driver in Mao Zedong’s China have stepped in to help authorities apprehend a fugitive? The question forces us to consider all of the factors involved in the truck driver’s decision. [firefly_poll] For instance, in that split second, he had to see the sheriff’s deputies as his equals under the law — professionals with badges and authority, of course, but also reasonable and moral people like himself. What might the truck driver in Mao’s China have seen when he watched a fugitive trying to evade the regime’s secret police? Sometimes the most trivial incidents remind us of the difference between freedom and totalitarianism. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office was wise to recommend that citizens steer clear of fleeing suspects. Totalitarian regimes issue mandates, not recommendations. May every generation of Americans enjoy the freedom to consider such recommendations for themselves. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.