Thursday, June 05, 2008

They're Working For The Clampdown

Well, let's not go another beating about the bush without addressing today's riveting stupidity. Coming next week to Trinidad - neighborhood lockdowns! From DCist:

Can you say Police State? The Examiner has the scoop on a controversial new program announced today that would create so-called "Neighborhood Safety Zones" which would serve to partially seal off certain parts of the city. D.C. Police would set-up checkpoints in targeted areas, demand to see ID and refuse admittance to people who don't live there, work there or have a “legitimate reason” to be there. Wow. Just, wow.

Some of the words used to describe such a plan by those quoted in the Examiner story include "breathtaking" and "cockamamie," but that hardly begins to scratch the surface. Interim Attorney General Peter Nickles actually said that measures of this sort have "been used in other cities.” Which cities are those, Mr. Nickles? Warsaw?

Really, DC? Are you fucking kidding me? Did you name this program "Neighborhood Safety Zones" because "The Jim Graham Is Jizzing In His Pants Like A Lawn Sprinkler Act Of 2008" was taken?

As is so often the case when the well-intended embark on a fool's errand to totally fuck up the world that you and I live in, the idea is driven by a desire to solve a problem, in this case, area crime. But the allocation of these sorts of resources to lockdown a single neighborhood in Washington, all for the purpose of bringing the police into contact with what would almost certainly be law-abiding citizens in the main, is just utterly insane.

Megan McArdle has the logic of this intellectually impoverished paddywhack perfectly captured:

DC has had a spate of violence recently, and I applaud the police department's urge to do something. However, this something seems to follow the logic outlined by Bryan Caplan:

1. Something must be done
2. This is something
3. Therefore, this must be done

I would add to this by saying it is almost certain that there will be those who hear of this announcement who will run out at the earliest opportunity to test the MPD's resolve in enforcing this measure, some of them will get cited or locked up, and the MPD will tout this as proof of concept, but make no mistake: this is activity masquerading as achievement.

But, really. If you want to know the most scintillatingly asinine part of all of this, here you go:


Pedestrians will not be subject to the public safety checks.


Great. Let's all hope that the closely guarded secret of walking does not fall into the wrong hands.

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