It’s for the Children

Avatar

Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

Related Post Roulette

65 Responses

  1. Avatar Bob says:

    “…and the state picks up the proceeds….”

    How true. Revenue of this type is an ongoing and longstanding concern.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,490629,00.htmlReport

  2. My favorite part of that whole story is when the police bribe the girls with a pizza party and a free tour of the police station.

    I grew up as most children do unfortunately trusting the police, until I encountered a few. After getting in minor trouble as a teenager (for things like playing basketball after curfew), culminating in an altercation in which a police officer tried to goad one of my friends into assaulting him by damaging his car and then repeatedly calling his mother a “fucking whore”. We tried to file an official complaint against the officer, but it being a small town, it was implied that our families would be given an inordinate number of speeding tickets and fire code violations for the rest of their lives.

    After the incident, an older relative who happened to be a lawyer advised me, “You never ever ever ever tell the police anything. You smile politely, address them as ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ and then lie to them.” I realize that there are obviously some good police officers, and I know Radley Balko and others have expounded extensively on why these are getting fewer and farer between; but, at least in my experience, the most despicable human beings I have ever met have been police officers.Report

    • Avatar Koz says:

      “…but, at least in my experience, the most despicable human beings I have ever met have been police officers.”

      This seems excessive to me. I don’t have a particularly high opinion of police, but I don’t think the typical PO is despicable, even the ones who do the usual cornercutting.

      I also don’t think the cops are particularly at fault in this case. The ordinance says they need a permit. Ok, so they should get a permit then.

      In particular, I don’t like the police = Gestapo attitude from Jason’s original cite and some of the comments here. It puts to much distance between them and us, and excuses their corruptions in a way. We can (and should) hold the police accountable.Report

      • First of all, I was just speaking of my own experience. I would never generalize that “all police officers are scumbags”.

        Second, I never ascribed the property of commutativity to that statement at the end. In writing that “the most despicable human beings I have ever met have been police officers.” I did not infer that the police officers I’ve met are mostly despicable.

        In short, I was merely stating a fact, that in my own experience listing and cataloging despicable human beings whom I have met, a plurality of subjects matching the description of “despicable” have also been police officers. City Hall workers and bank customer service personnel come in at distant second and third respectively.Report

      • Avatar MadRocketScientist says:

        “We can (and should) hold the police accountable.”

        Except the police & prosecutors have set it up so we can’t (re: limited, qualified, & complete immunity).Report

  3. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Advocatus Diaboli, the policemen were enforcing an ordinance against sidewalk sales. How can we distinguish between the Girl Scouts and anyone else selling goods on the sidewalk, legally? That’s the trouble with law enforcement, it has to be evenhanded.

    Policemen live on the ragged edge of society and as Christopher observes, the profession seems to attract a fair number of bullies. But as his lawyer said, when in doubt, eat cheese and grin and say Yessir.

    My own kids were told, unequivocally, if they were confronted by a police officer, to politely tell the officer the rule of our house was to never answer questions from law enforcement without having a lawyer present: ask to be taken to the station, call me and I’d call David my lawyer. However, if they were in a position to assist the officer, especially if they were witness to a crime, to call 911 and stand by until the officer got there, and have the officer call me.Report

    • I’m all for having regulations in place to curb the power of police officers, because they are bullies. But I think the most effective policy would be to cut the number of police officers by about two-thirds nationwide. Areas that have high crime rates would probably get more mileage out of ending the drug war than anything having to do with the police.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        My three kids went through the same elementary school. The principal and I became rather good friends and I worked on his campaign.

        One of his main concerns was police-community relations. He appointed an ombudsman and rounded up many community leaders to deal with the issue. Several abusive officers were identified and put through the grinder with the community leaders. As part of the interfaith commission, I was part of that group. It wasn’t a one-way conversation: the officers had legitimate gripes. One officer had been deeply traumatized by a drug-related murder and wept as he tried to explain how little cooperation he’d received from people he knew were witnesses to that murder.

        Curiously, Barack Obama has dealt with this issue. When he went to the Illinois Senate, that old gorilla Emil Jones sent him off to carry water to the GOP, who dominate most of the state. At the time, police brutality was a huge issue. By working with the police chiefs and local community leaders, the state came up with a policy of videotaping interrogations and everyone liked it. Cut down on false complaints and provided proof for actual brutality.

        I can’t speak for the police force, but I can speak for soldiers. It’s a matter of leadership: where abusive behaviour is tolerated by the commander, it will thrive.Report

        • Avatar Bob says:

          The videotaping of interrogations is a plus but cops an DA’s have their panties in a bunch regarding citizens videotaping questionable encounters with the public.

          http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2008566,00.htmlReport

          • Avatar BlaiseP says:

            Isn’t that absurd? Yet consider: what of Andy Breitbart’s defense, where someone else splices together some video of Shirley Sherrod to make it seem as if she’s prejudiced against White Folks and he runs with it?Report

            • Avatar Bob says:

              It’s much more than absurd, it’s frightening. From the Time article,

              “Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant, faces up to 16 years in prison. His crime? He videotaped his March encounter with a state trooper who pulled him over for speeding on a motorcycle. Then Graber put the video — which could put the officer in a bad light — up on YouTube.”

              Andy B. is not facing jail time. If memory serves, he is facing a civil action which has small chance of succeeding.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Anthony Graber’s case was dismissed. Relevant case law: New York v. PJ Video. First Amendment and Probable Cause.

                Andy Breitbart has his weenie in the wringer. I don’t see him getting off.Report

              • Avatar Koz says:

                And even though Sherrod wasn’t the police, there’s a lot of commonality there. When government works like it’s supposed to, police and other employees can accept supervision or observation from citizens more or less gracefully.

                When they don’t, it means they have something to hide, just like the cop says. Which is why we know that the Sherrod lawsuit is a bad joke, no matter how it eventually turns out. It’s not so much that people like Breitbart have the right to comment on public affairs, even though he does (especially concerning Sherrod’s performance as a public official). It’s more that we can actually hope that he does it, without having to endorse whatever he says. This way, there are more facts available in the public arena and less room for cops and other public employees to get away with underhanded crap against the interest of private citizens without anybody being able to do anything about it.Report

            • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

              Spliced video is easy to ID, especially if you have source video. I doubt the courts will accept youtube videos as evidence.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        … campaign for mayor. The principal was elected mayor of the city.Report

  4. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    CLS says: “…explain to me how does a permit in the kid’s pocket protect the kid?”

    It doesn’t. It isn’t supposed to. What it does do is twofold.

    First, it protects the town from being sued when the kid runs out in the street and gets hit by a bus; or when the kid gets sick from breathing car exhaust all day; or when someone decides that they want cookies and jams on their brakes without warning and gets rear-ended.

    It’s about shifting liability from the jurisdiction to the private citizen performing the event. It’s just like how craft fairs and farmer’s markets insist that sellers have their own insurance coverage now; someone realized that these public events were a goldmine for professional slip-and-fall sufferers.

    *****

    Second, it lets the town deflect accusations of bigotry or bias when it enforces its own ordinances. This is the genesis of most “Zero Tolerance” policies; the validity given to arguments that judgement is inherently suspect, that prejudice is unconscious. If you pick and choose how to enforce your regulations, then how do you prove that you didn’t do it based on your feelings toward a particular group?Report

    • Avatar Francis says:

      I wonder how much slip-and-fall litigation is due to the concerns people have about obtaining adequate health care for the injury, and fairly priced insurance down the line.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

      If it were really the first one — if the town were really trying to avoid liability — then these devices would be the means to a significant expansion of personal freedom. Sign a permit, disavow government help, and you are free to skydive, eat trans fats, perform bare-knuckle boxing, or use heroin or even tobacco.

      What’s really going on here is quite different, I think. Instead of granting a release for a risky act, a perfectly ordinary activity is regulated almost on the sly, and enforcement of the ordinance is left arbitrary.

      DC for a long time had a similar ordinance. People who rode bikes in the city had to obtain a bike license. Failure to do so resulted (in theory) in the confiscation of your bike, which you could repurchase, if you chose, at a government auction.

      No one ever bought the licenses. Almost no one’s bike was ever seized. Unless they pissed off the police, who — like all people — could be pissed off for all kinds of reasons, both good and bad. And when they did get pissed off, bike riders found they couldn’t complain.

      Following the English jurist John Selden, F. A. Hayek called this sort of administrative discretion “the little gap through which every man’s liberty may in time go out.” It’s still true today.Report

    • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

      > First, it protects the town from being sued when
      > the kid runs out in the street and gets hit by a bus

      It also protects them from tigers! See, no kid has ever been eaten by a tiger while carrying one of these permits!

      Sorry, couldn’t resist. Can you defend this assertion? Have there been cases of municipalities being sued by parents because their children were running a lemonade stand, or selling Girl Scout cookies? Is there a significant correlation between municipalities that require licensing and those that don’t and the relative likelihood of a lawsuit (with or without merit) being issued? How about settled? Lost?

      I would hazard a guess that this is (statistically) a non-event.

      Granted, municipalities can be into CYA even for ridiculous things.

      > Second, it lets the town deflect accusations of bigotry
      > or bias when it enforces its own ordinances.

      I can see this. I think it’s a terrible justification and I would vote against a city councilperson who gave this as a justification, but I can see where the motivation comes from. To which my response is, “Jesus, man, let the kids sell their freaking cookies. If someone sues because we won’t let them run a magazine stand, maybe we should revisit whether or not we should be making them get a license to have a magazine stand, for that matter.”Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “Can you defend this assertion? Have there been cases of municipalities being sued by parents because their children were running a lemonade stand, or selling Girl Scout cookies?”

        It isn’t “sued by parents because kids were running a lemonade stand”, it’s “sued by someone who pulled a slip-and-fall and claimed that the municipality created a hazardous situation by allowing unlicensed sidewalk vendors to operate”.Report

    • Avatar Boegiboe says:

      It seems to me that the town is accepting liability when it issues a permit. They are saying, “Yes, we know what you are doing, where and when you will be doing it, and we acknowledge the action as legal under our laws.”

      The second one rings more true, and I agree that this is where “Zero Tolerance” policies probably come from. But in the end it’s not a valid reason (I realize you probably don’t think so, either, from your choice of words). If they don’t want to be accused of discrimination in enforcing minutely tailored ordinances, then strike them from the books.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        You’re right, I don’t think that it’s a valid reason; unfortunately, until courts are more willing to declare lawsuits unfounded (and until potential defendants have more confidence that unfounded lawsuits will be resolved in their favor) it’s where we are.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I’m just glad the kids didn’t have a dog.Report

  6. Avatar Alex Knapp says:

    I’m a little confused here — are we supposed to be mad at the police for enforcing the laws that were duly passed by the government of the City? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that their job?

    I’m inclined to say that this is probably a ridiculous requirement, but not knowing the ins and outs of sidewalk sales in this particular city, there may be good reason to regulate the time and manner of such sales.

    At any rate, complaints and resolutions for these issues should belong to the local community, right?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I think it’s one of those things where the cops probably have enough discretion to focus on whether they’re going to be looking at murder cases or girl scout cookie sales today… and they chose girl scout cookie sales.

      Maybe there weren’t any murders recently (the first 48 hours, I understand, are the most important). So burglaries. Or assaults. Or public urination. Or *SOMETHING*.

      If we’ve reached the point where we have enough slack in the day of the police for them to avoid their investigations of the funny looking van outside of Old Man Peterson’s house that has been JUST SITTING THERE for TWO HOURS that they can send a couple of guys to explain to the girl scouts that they haven’t paid protection, I think it’s safe to say that the police department is overfunded at a time of us (as a society!) looking for places where we could safely cut the budget without harm to, among others, The Children.Report

      • Avatar Simon K says:

        I think cops get really bored. I mean, I live in a small, quiet suburban city and we have a police force of 30. Its a really exciting day if someone raises their voice. You could leave a pile of gold ingots on front lawn with a giant sign saying “we’re on vacation” and no-one would take them. I have no idea what the cops do all day except set speed traps and stop the parents from running over other people’s kids when school lets out – I know we almost never hear sirens. I once had a fender bender with no damage with a German guy in a rental car, who because he was German and had read the rental car agreement insisted on calling the cops. They sent two cars. I can see how rounding up errant girl scouts could get to the top of their list of priorities, just above looking for lost cats.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          Maybe you’re not old enough to remember The Andy Griffith Show, or Barney Fife:

          Barney Fife: Well, today’s eight-year-olds are tomorrow’s teenagers. I say this calls for action and now. Nip it in the bud. First sign of youngsters going wrong, you’ve got to nip it in the bud.
          Andy Taylor: I’m going to have a talk with them. What else do you want me to do?
          Barney Fife: Well, don’t just mollycoddle them.
          Andy Taylor: I won’t.
          Barney Fife: Nip it. You go read any book you ant on the subject of child discipline and you’ll find every one of them is in favor of bud-nipping.Report

          • Avatar Boegiboe says:

            That’s actually one of the only scenes from that show I still recall occasionally. Anytime anyone talks about nipping buds, I think of Deputy Fife. Thanks for the full dialogue, which I did not remember: “mollycoddle” is such a good angry-old-man word.Report

      • Avatar Alex Knapp says:

        How do you know the cop sought them out? Maybe he was walking by, saw the sale, and asked for the permit? We don’t know either way.

        But if the law is stupid, it should still be enforced. Maybe the cops don’t need to seek it out, but if a law is potentially being broken right in front of them don’t they have a duty to investigate?Report

        • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

          No, they don’t have a duty to investigate.

          They have a duty to protect and serve the public. The law is the framework that they use to execute that duty.

          But if something is happening that is neither an attack on the public nor a disservice to it, they shouldn’t be pulling out the effing rule book to smack children over the nose with it. That *is* the behavior of a twat.Report

          • Avatar Alex Knapp says:

            So cops should just ignore the laws passed by the legislators?Report

            • Avatar Simon K says:

              Where they’re irrelevant to their actual job, yes.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

              So cops should just ignore the laws passed by the legislators?

              Very strong evidence now exists demonstrating that they do this all the time. Whether or not they “should” is immaterial. It will happen, and well-crafted law needs to take this fact into account. Elinor Ostrom did some of her most important work in this area, but you don’t need a Nobel Prize to see some of the more obvious pitfalls.Report

              • Avatar Alex Knapp says:

                Very well, but what does that have to do with the instant case?

                It seems to me that you’re opening the door for abuse by leaving discretion in law enforcement.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

                Actually, I’m criticizing the fact that many of our current laws are written in such a way that (a) basically everyone violates them, (b) violation is no big deal, but (c) sometimes police officers do enforce them, and then it’s a big deal.

                That’s not the rule of law. That’s the rule of men.Report

              • Avatar Alex Knapp says:

                I don’t disagree, but complain about the legislators who pass the laws, not the cops who enforce them.Report

              • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

                I will not excuse the cops “who just follow orders”. That’s a terrible justification for doing a bad job.

                I’ll complain about the legislators, too, but I’m not giving the cops a free pass.Report

              • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

                The discretion *is* in law enforcement. It’s never going to be anywhere else.

                The best we can do is audit the process, and work to get those currently *in* law enforcement *out*, if we don’t like their particular incarnation of discretion.Report

      • Avatar Koz says:

        “I think it’s one of those things where the cops probably have enough discretion to focus on whether they’re going to be looking at murder cases or girl scout cookie sales today… and they chose girl scout cookie sales.”

        Again, this is a little cheap. I don’t know if there’s a police department in America that will ignore a murder committed in their jurisdiction, no matter how underprepared they are to work it.

        On the other hand, it would be nice if somebody could bust their ass and bring in a car theft case once in forever.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Maybe there weren’t any murders recently (the first 48 hours, I understand, are the most important). So burglaries. Or assaults. Or public urination. Or *SOMETHING*.Report

      • Avatar Boonton says:

        Actually most cops don’t have a stackload of murders that need solving. Even in high crime areas, murders are relatively rare in the daily life of a cop and tend to be investigated by homicide detectives. Cops aren’t just released to wander the streets ‘solving major crimes’ like Batman or Sherlock Holmes.

        As for the law itself, well it’s not that unreasonable to regulate sidewalk vendors. First of all sidewalks are not private but public property and the brick and mortor businesses that pay serious taxes for them have a legitimate grip with a city that let’s anyone hawk anything by just setting up a box on the sidewalk. Second low and moderate level crime does happen with ‘sidewalk’ vendors, including dubious outfits that have kids selling stuff supposedly to promote ‘youth groups’. Third it’s not unreasonable to expect a well established outfit like the girl scouts, esp. one that promotes good citizenship, to actually do the leg work of finding out what the local laws are and following them. I remember when my school had us selling stuff for a fund raiser they made the point of issuing each of us a canvassing permit and told us why it was important to carry it with us. It really wasn’t a big deal and at least the local police knew the flocks of kids that were out hawking magazines or whatever it was we were selling were engaged in a legitimate business.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          There was a paragraph after the part you’re addressing.

          I think that if there is enough slack in the Police Department to allow them to bust sidewalk vendors such as 8 year old girls selling boxed cookies during a time of strained budgets, then I think that I’ve found some departments with fat that can be cut.Report

          • Avatar Boonton says:

            How exactly would that work in real life? The cop’s walking the beat and sees someone breaking the law, does he do nothing because the law’s not very serious and budgets are tight? I mean ok he sees the girl scouts on one side selling cookies and a burglary happening on the other side he should go after the latter…..but in real life the cop patrols his area addressing small and large issues in the area.Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              “How exactly would that work in real life? The cop’s walking the beat and sees someone breaking the law, does he do nothing because the law’s not very serious and budgets are tight?”

              Yeah, actually just about like that. With a couple of caveats:

              1. Of all the things that cops do, I don’t think making the Girls Scouts get a permit is especially heinous.

              2. In reality, the idea that budgets are tight means the cops are more likely to find something write up, that’s the point. The cop’s gotta justify himself for starters, and in a lot of jurisdictions he’s expected to generate revenue. We have to take away the ability of police department supervisors to do that.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

      I’m a little confused here — are we supposed to be mad at the police for enforcing the laws that were duly passed by the government of the City? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that their job?

      Sure! And if only black people just so happen to get pulled over for speeding, hey — the cops are just doing their job! Probably the local community can sort out the whole issue, if there even is one.

      More seriously, the problem is not that the cops are doing their jobs. It’s that they are apparently doing them with such wide discretion. I can’t make myself believe, for example, that this was the first time a cop from that town ever saw little kids selling stuff for a fundraiser. The other times, I’m willing to bet, they looked the other way. That’s where the problem lies.

      As some commenters have already hinted, it’s a strong possibility that the cop had a beef with one of the Girl Scouts’ parents. Law though shouldn’t be a domain for settling personal scores.Report

      • Avatar Alex Knapp says:

        I can’t make myself believe, for example, that this was the first time a cop from that town ever saw little kids selling stuff for a fundraiser. The other times, I’m willing to bet, they looked the other way. That’s where the problem lies.

        Well, you’re just assuming that! If the video is to be believed, the ordinance hasn’t been on the books for very long. How do you know that this is the first instance of its enforcement?

        As some commenters have already hinted, it’s a strong possibility that the cop had a beef with one of the Girl Scouts’ parents. Law though shouldn’t be a domain for settling personal scores.

        Again, nothing in the reporting provides any evidence to support this assertion.

        I agree that law enforcement officers shouldn’t abuse their authority. But no evidence has been offered to support that this is the case here! It’s all just supposition.Report

      • Avatar BSK says:

        I think the cops should enforce every law every time it’s broken. That will help us weed out the crappy ones. By the 3rd or 4th Girl Scout Troop, maybe we’ll actually change the law. When cops have discretion, it is power to abuse their power. I know that is not a popular opinion, but every time I hear people say, “Well, they should exercise discretion,” all I think about is how “discretion” means arrest the people you don’t like and let the people you do like go. Recipe for disaster, if you ask me…Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

          A work slowdown?

          That would last until roughly the first murder.Report

          • Avatar BSK says:

            And perhaps we’d realize that having laws on the books about Girl Scouts is pretty foolish if enforcing them prevents cops from doing the legitimate purpose of their job. If a laws cannot be enforced, take them off the books.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          That argument makes sense to me too.

          I mean, that’s why we still have the War On Drugs after decades and why Prohibition only lasted 13 years.

          With that said, I don’t know that that would necessarily work given the sheer number of laws on the books.

          I think an automatic sunsetting of every law on the books for 10 years would work better… if the law to feed nothing squirrels and cracked wheat bread to bishops found guilty of simony can’t get passed today, then it probably shouldn’t be on the books anymore.

          If it can’t pass today, the cops shouldn’t enforce it.

          But that’s never going to happen.

          So I’m stuck between thinking that defunding Police Departments that have enough free time to send cops after girl scouts is a good idea and thinking that cops ought to show a bit more discretion than is shown when they’re taking down 8-year old girls.Report

          • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

            > With that said, I don’t know that that
            > would necessarily work given the sheer
            > number of laws on the books.

            That’s not why it’s not going to work.

            > Every time I hear people say, “Well, they
            > should exercise discretion,” all I think about
            > is how “discretion” means arrest the people
            > you don’t like and let the people you do
            > like go. Recipe for disaster, if you ask me…

            Might be. That’s the only way to make these cookies.

            Put another way: explain to me how you are going to audit the lack of discretion on the part of police officers. It’s impossible.

            How are you going to ensure that every cop who pulls over a hot drunk blond arrests the blond for a DUI instead of letting them go (with or without the happy ending)?

            How are you going to ensure that every cop who spots someone jaywalking is going to cite them, every time?

            Cops have discretion. It is fundamentally impossible to take it away from them.Report

            • Avatar BSK says:

              Police the police!!!Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck says:

              “How are you going to ensure that every cop who pulls over a hot drunk blond arrests the blond for a DUI instead of letting them go…”

              Well, there’s the radio record where the cop reported the situation and ran the car’s plates, to make sure that it wasn’t a stolen car being driven by a thief.

              There’s also the camera record of the cop getting out of the cruiser and walking up to the stopped car.Report

              • Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

                Those are audit mechanisms. They’re not particularly good bars against singleton events of definitive malfeasance. They work fine against auditing vs. pervasive behavior.

                Here’s why the difference. One, the cop doesn’t have to actually call in the radio call. Two, if you think video records can’t be “lost” or “destroyed accidentally” without repercussions, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you 🙂

                On the other hand, a cop who has a video record running can’t engage in *pervasive* bad behavior. You can probably get away with banging your camera against a solid object once and getting away with something nefarious, you can’t do it routinely.

                I’m not saying that it is futile to audit the police. Yes, we should do this. However, as I’ve said elsewhere ad nauseam, audit is waste by nature. We don’t need to audit the cops for everything that they do.

                Also, germane to the subject at hand, the need to enforce “permits for everybody is necessary so that we don’t show bias” is also out the window with this level of audit. We can already show that we don’t have pervasive bias if we record what they do.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “We don’t need to audit the cops for everything that they do.”

                You assume that everything cops do is on the up-and-up, and that nobody has ever successfully played the race card against the cops. Pervasive video isn’t a “wasteful audit”, it’s a defense mechanism.Report

      • Avatar Koz says:

        “It’s that they are apparently doing them with such wide discretion. I can’t make myself believe, for example, that this was the first time a cop from that town ever saw little kids selling stuff for a fundraiser. The other times, I’m willing to bet, they looked the other way. That’s where the problem lies. “

        I think discretion for cops is fine, probably a good thing even. The answer for a lot of the problems is to take the money out of law enforcement. Not necessarily by defunding the cops (though that may happen) but to litigate or legislate away the way law enforcement is used for revenue. Eg, forfeiture or the way due process issues for traffic enforcement get waved away by the courts.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          “I think discretion for cops is fine, probably a good thing even.”

          ‘Driving While Black’ is an exercise of discretion. So is arresting drunk Mexicans while telling their equally-drunk white dates to go home.Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

            But hey, it’s probably a good thing, even.Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              Someday, I suspect we’re going to have to have a discussion about cultural resources, and how they are built or consumed. I don’t know if you don’t see them, or see them but just don’t care.

              Let’s just say that we’re in serious trouble if we can put a layer of top-down management (“our” layer) over the rest of civil society and everything’s going to be kosher. We can get away with that once or twice, but if that’s our go-to move, shtt’s gonna go downhill in a hurry.Report