Tuesday, September 18, 2007

More Saggy Logic in Dallas

I've posted before about what a waste of time and resources I think it is for local governments to spend time on things like banning baggy pants, especially when there are so many unsolved problems that fall much more closely under their jurisdictions. Just a little over a year ago, a Dallas school board member tried to get the City Council to enact a ban (that's right, not just in the schools, but in the city at large); last month, we discovered that Atlanta was working on a similar measure.

I thought that the idea was dead in Dallas, but this morning, there was Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway on the radio, trying to drum up support for an ordinance again. He wants to do this because "it is a total disgegard and disrespect for all females to have to entertain looking at someone's dingy underwear...it does not set the tone of something that should be accepted in society." He also mentioned the term "respect" several more times during the interview.

But here's the thing: You can't legislate respect. Certainly, it's the goal of any society to raise the level of such respect, but, on the other hand, it's not wise to go around making a whole bunch of laws just because people might be offended. As I said in the earlier post, if something like this were to pass, what would be next--outlawing fat guys in Speedos? (OK, there's still part of me that thinks such a thing would be a good idea, but you get my point.)

The other problem with this is that it shouldn't consume an ounce of city resources until all the other much more pressing problems are at least on their way to being solved. As I said earlier,
Is this style of dress annoying? Sure. But do we really need to get the police involved in enforcing it? Surely not. The time when the council should be devoting the city's resources to something like this would be when crime levels are nonexistent, when all the potholes are fixed, there's not a homeless problem downtown, the police and firefighters are paid the same as their suburban counterparts....in other words, not anytime soon.
More coverage of the story can be found here, and be sure and listen to the entire radio interview at the link above.

To his credit, Caraway doesn't expect the police to "ride past a burglar just to go and make somebody pull up his pants," but he would have them issue civil citations for the defense. As always, if you have strong feelings on either side of this, please chime in using the comments.

Stupid criminal #1: A woman who went to court to pay a traffic ticket probably shouldn't have driven there in a stolen car.

Stupid criminal #2: LIkewise, a man in New York state shouldn't have stolen a car to turn himself in on another charge.

Stupid criminal #3: And finally, if you're going to rob a restaurant, you shouldn't 1) rob one where you're a frequent diner, and 2) order food on a credit card before attempting the robbery.

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