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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pass More Laws, Arrest More People

Misdemeanor Burping

   This May, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when a 13-year-old student "burped audibly" in physical education class, the PE teacher called a school "resource officer" to deal with the disruption. The resource oficer summoned a city police officer who came to the school, handcuffed the boy, and hauled him off to a juvenile detention center.

     The burping boy, while not charged with a crime, was suspended for the rest of the school year. While in custody, the boy's captors gave him a risk assessment test. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being extremely dangerous, the boy scored a 2. My guess is that if Mr. Rogers had taken this test, he would have scored a 2 as well. Perhaps the Dalai Lama would have pulled a 1. The kid's parents have filed a lawsuit.

Eating While Shopping

     In Makiki, Hawaii, a couple, while shopping with their 3-year-old daughter, got into trouble when they each ate a sandwich they didn't pay for when they went through the check-out line. The offenders offered to pay $10 for what they had consumed, but it was too late. The cops came, took them into custody, and seized thier hyserical child. The parents got their daughter back after posting $100 bail.

     I can imagine, as the cops are investigating the couple at the scene of the crime, retail thieves rolling shopping carts full of groceries out of the store.

Ignition Key Kids

     In Pennsylvania, the police, over the past eighteen months, have arrested ten parents for leaving their children in casino parking lots while they were inside gambling. These lousy parents were appropriately charged with the misdemeanor offense of endangering the welfare of children. But for state legislators who are paid to pass laws, and in the process keep their jobs, one criminal statute covering this behavior is not enough. So they have proposed two more laws.

     One of the bills would make it a misdemeanor to leave children younger than 14 in vehicles parked on casino property, and double the fines on casinos if they fail to report such incidents to the police and social service agencies. The second bill requires casinos to post signs warning gamblers not to leave unattended children in their parking lots. But what about gambler/parents who leave dogs with their children? I think we need a third bill to more specifically define "unattended." And perhaps as fourth bill to protect the dogs.

     So, what about the kids who are left in front of bars while their parents are inside getting drunk? Or parents who leave their children in Walmart parking lots while shoppers are being mugged, cars are being stolen, and murder-for-hire deals are being negotiated in nearby vehicles? Are these crime victims legislative chopped liver?

     I have an idea. Why don't we require every business, under penalty of law, to post signs and report any evidence of bad parenting in and around their facilities? And while we are at it, let's make it a federal crime. It could be called the Omnibus Good Parenting Act of 2011.

     If passing unnecessary window-dressing legislation solved our social problems, America would be paradise on earth. And politicians would be heros instead of self-serving busybodies.


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