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“The Justice of Tyr”
by Lavrans Reimer-Møller

I recently had an experience which I think defines the manner in which the gods interact with those of us who have chosen the path of Asatrú. I got myself caught in a radar-speed trap!

Coming over the Longfellow bridge from Boston into Cambridge one night after teaching a class, I suddenly found myself pulled over and issued a ticket for speeding; 45 in a 30 mph zone. It should be explained that the unwritten rule in the Boston area used to be that you couldn’t get a ticket as long as your car is moving. But that’s changed lately.

The state has hired an extremely evil and perverse moron who sets the speed limits artificially low on bridges, tunnels and expressways. This seems to serve no useful purpose other than to establish the opportunity to set up these occasional speed traps, I assume so that they can buy more radar equipment and run more speed traps. On this particular bridge, the usual flow of traffic is 35 to 40 most of the time, so I had never paid much attention to the speed limit signs.

When the cop wordlessly handed me the citation, I freaked a bit- the amount for the ticket was set at $100! No explanation, no reason, just $100. $100 is bad enough, but here in Massachusetts, a moving violation also means another couple of hundred dollars a year for the next several years on your auto insurance. So I decided to ask for a hearing.

I’ve been in the Middlesex county courthouse before, and I’ve always struck out there. I once even lost a case to the neighbor’s barking dog. So I had a bad feeling about this. It occurred to me that if I went through with the appeal and lost that I stood to not only get nailed for the $100, but probably get hit with another $50 to $100 for court costs. I tried calling ahead to see if I could negotiate a ‘continuance without finding’, which is commonly issued to bank robbers, murderers and rapists, but no such avenue lay open to me, a ... speeder!

I put on my suit and an actual necktie and got ready to go and face the music. But then something occurred to me that hadn’t in the past. I now have a little help from my friends.

I invoked Tyr then, silently, in my heart, and asked him to be with me in court this day. Before I left, I went to the shelf where I keep my Asatru things, and took down a deck of Rune cards. I shuffled and cut and up came the rune Tiwaz! Talk about instant reaffirmation- I knew that Tyr had heard me!

My idea of Tyr may be much like yours. A Judge-King among gods who, as a warrior, has won his royal place and will back his judgments with force if need be. I might cross my fingers when taking the standard courtroom oath because after all, I don’t swear by Jehovah, who I think of as a somewhat deranged Yötun. But in my heart, who and what I do swear to is another matter.

It even occurred to me that if perhaps the judgment went against me, then maybe I deserved to lose. After all, I get angry and drive like a loon sometimes, and I knew that I must be willing to trust and accept Tyr’s judgment, no matter what.

I went into the hearing room, and instead of a judge, I sat sat down at a table to talk with a clerk-magistrate and an officer from the Cambridge PD, both of whom were women. I was on my best behavior, non-macho, non-threatening, cool, calm and collected. Charming, even. I was let go with a warning, as it turned out that I had a clean driving record in Cambridge! But the real warning was that I believe that Tyr had let me know that I need to slow down and drive more carefully.

This, then is the justice of Tyr!


© Marklander 1996