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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Top-down anarchy

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Thursday, June 15, 2017 08:46 am

Want to feel good about living in Indiana? I've got a couple of reasons for you, in two news stories that should win Juxtaposition of the Decade honors.

First up, from the Big Apple: Why you might see more people peeing on the streets of NYC this summer:

New Yorkers should prepare for a loud, smelly summer.

As of Tuesday, scofflaws who commit certain quality-of-life violations — including urinating, boozing or blasting loud music in public — will get little more than a slap on the wrist.

The change is the result of the City Council's controversial Criminal Justice Reform Act, which allows law breakers who've been cited for those and other low-level offenses to face justice in administrative hearings rather than in criminal court.

This is sort of the opposite of the Broken Window theory of law enforcement, which holds that if you police the small quality-of-life things like litter and broken windows, an atmosphere conducive to law-abiding behavior will be created. Cracking down on minor offenses prevents more serious crimes.

The theory behind the Go Ahead And Pee approach is — well, I'm not sure what the theory behind it is or even if there is a theory. I guess it is a crime-fighting strategy, in a weird sort of way. If you want to reduce the amount of law-breaking, reduce the number of laws, right? Advocates claim the new procedure will divert 100,000 cases a year from the criminal justice system and prevent minor offenders from acquiring criminal records.

On the other hand, you get what you encourage. If people get the idea there are no consequences for their actions (it takes getting cited three times before the cops can write a criminal summons, and even then they have to get supervisory permission), then they will not think twice about doing whatever they feel like.

The big losers, of course, will be the beleaguered citizens of New York, who will now find their city a bit less pleasant to live in.

If the pee story didn't gross you out, try the pooping story from Denver:

Denver City Council voted unanimously Monday night to lessen the punishment for people convicted of certain low-level crimes like lying in a public right-of-way, urinating in public and panhandling.

City leaders and immigrant rights advocates argued the changes will protect Denver's immigrant community from facing unintended consequences.

“Many times it becomes a deportable offense if you've been convicted of even a minor ordinance violation that's punishable by a year in jail,” Mark Silverstein said, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado.

The lesser punishments, which will include minimum jail time and no fines, are all so-called "quality of life" crimes, including sitting or lying in the public right-of-way, unauthorized camping on public or private property, urinating or defecating in public, panhandling and curfew violations. 

Since Denver is considering declaring itself a sanctuary city, it makes a certain perverted sense to keep illegal immigrants free of "deportable offenses" by putting those offenses below the federal government's radar.

At least one critic finds this approach deplorable:

Some places might find it acceptable for everyone to live by the established laws and remove those here illegally to begin with and who violate even simple norms of decent public behavior. But due to the soft bigotry of political correctness, assimilation to American standards is set aside as too demanding in the interests of excusing the behavior of some non-citizen illegal residents.

As a result, the law-abiding citizens of Denver, like those in New York, will just have to put up with this crap, both literal and figurative.

There have been many approaches to law enforcement, most with both good and bad points. I don't see much of a future for this "let's just ignore the crimes" top-down approach to anarchy. 

ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS

I've read so much nonsense from both the left and the right about James Hodgkinson's shooting spree that my head is about to explode. A deranged man committed an indefensible act and hurt innocent people. Period. Everything else is political falderal. 

Mon dieu! It's a crisis of epic proportions: French croissants at risk from spiralling butter prices.

Sex in space: If we're going to be serious about colonizing Mars, we have to get serious about, you know, doing it in space. Let's call it the 70-million-mile-high club.

Can't make this stuff up: Some 40 scientists with $17 million in Canadian tax dollars to blow over the next four years decided to take a cruise in the Arctic Ocean to prove that man is causing the Earth to burn out of control. But Arctic ice forced them to shut down their little trip.

Bob Dylan is so good at yanking the media's chain that you can never be sure he's being serious or telling outrageous lies. But he has always seemed so sincere about his Christianity that it's hard not to take him seriously.

The Democrats' pathetic bid to swear their way into voters' hearts. What the !@#$%^, it may be working. Anything is possible these days.

For most of my lifetime, the story has been about all the starving people in the world. I suppose it's a sign of progress that the current crisis involves the doubling of the number of obese people since 1980 in 73 countries.

Never mind the good grades, high SATs and all that nonsense: To get into Princeton, you have to show "cultural flavor." Not Asian flavorthough, you overachieving twit.

The science is settled — not: No, T-Rex did not have feathers. Good. No self-respecting predator should have anything but the scaly skin of our worst nightmares.

 

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