13 October 2008

Monday Musings...
I confess to being a curmudgeon. I earned that title, and I'm often proud of it.
I'm the one that thinks people should pick up the trash they toss about our streets. I think people should obey laws, because 99% of the time, those laws are there to PROTECT YOU (and me). I think kids should respect their "elders".
And I think those elders need to set good example FOR those kids in the process.
Sounds kinda simple, right?
Well...not so much these days.
We're up to our eye teeth in all sorts of red tape, and we've adopted new customs, stupid laws, nonsensical "rights", and so on.
Take this boy riding his skateboard in the street on his way home from school. Seems the police thought fit to TICKET him, making him appear in court. Over a damn skateboard.
Here's the WANE link to the story:
Now first off, we DO have a skate PARK that is solely FOR the use of skateboards.
Second, skateboards are usually NOT ALLOWED ON SCHOOL GROUNDS. The kids are told to put them in their locker IMMEDIATELY, and NOT to bring it back to the school.
OK, so the kid has his skateboard anyway...maybe the school gave him a "pass"...who knows?
But the officer SHOULD have given him a WARNING...not a damn ticket. The officer should have added that "If I catch you AGAIN in the street, you WILL get a citation". THAT would seem fair. But who deals with "fair" all that much these days?
That young man will now have a prejudgement on most ANY LEO now, thanks to a mismanaged incident. It'll take some doing to UNDO that mess.
Now I'm not raggin' on the police...the officer WAS upholding the law (as is written), but in this day and age, when "diplomacy" goes a LOT farther than a citation in building community trust AND respect, some prudence is needed in determining the net result.
If you can have officers "allowing" dope peddlers to go on, year after year plying their trade on our streets, with little intervention, you (basically) DAMN WELL can give a first time street skateboarder a WARNING, right?
I will admit that when we first played with the "original" skateboards (some sister's skate, swiped and taken apart, nailed to a chunk of 2x4), WE rode them in the street. Same for bicycles, roller skates, and the like. Hell, the pavements had expansion joints every 3-4 feet...was like riding on a damn WASHBOARD...!
The ONLY riding "devices" allowed on the sidewalks were the toddler tricycles, and they were easily side-stepped when walking on the sidewalks. We also had peddle cars and they stayed on the sidewalk...the street was just too dangerous.
Then again, WE (in my day...and back in Philadelphia) knew what a SIDEWALK was actually designed for, unlike all the Hoosiers I see using the middle of the streets.
And it's not like we don't see kids playing football or basketball down the streets...oh, wait...I DO..most every day. And the kids on their bikes wander into and out of the streets onto the pavements, swerving with such abandon. And not one officer EVER cites THESE kids (with such verve)...why if that? I forgot...the officer has to BE IN THE AREA TO SEE IT, beforehand. Got it. No officers..no citations.
Must be all those "short-handed shifts" we have on the S/E side.
If we were to place ANY shoes on ANY other feet, perhaps we could START CITING ALL those who walk down the middle of our streets, when there is a perfectly good sidewalk less than 5 feet away?
What a NOVEL idea!
What about it FWPD? Feel good about upholding THAT law as well as some skateboard ordinance?
Come down to MY neck o' the woods...you won't be able to fill out the citations FAST ENOUGH, trust me!
It's time to start making the punishment fit the crimes, and in this young boy's case...it just doesn't.
And it's also time to stop overlooking the "crimes" that get ignored every damn day.
If one officer can bust a young boy's stones by citing him instead of WARNING him, maybe we should TRANSFER that officer to the S/E area, where the warnings come all too often...and all to repeatedly, when citations are JUSTIFIED.
Personally, I hope the judge tears up the citation, and does in fact give the boy a warning.
That would be the FAIR thing to do.
And you heard THAT from ME...a curmudgeon!
(now get off my lawn...LOL)


Anonymous said...

I used to write those citations for walking in the street until one of the violators filed a formal complaint alleging that the citation was racially motivated. I was polite during the contact, but nevertheless was summoned to Internal Affairs (as it was known at the time) to defend myself for doing my job. The IA investigator let me know in no uncertain terms that he thought the citation was "kinda chicken-shit," and you don't need to hit me over the head with a 2X4 for me to get the point. I haven't written one since.

Bob G. said...

That's the OTHER side of the coin that I mentioned in my 6 part blog on "Decline" the last two weeks...

Time was, there wasn't all this "misplaced" racial devisiveness...now, since we have ambulance-chasers that WILL follow up on frivolous LAWSUITS against ANY LEO (or department), we find an emasculation of the actual POLICE POWERS.

And the "headhunters" (I/A) often take the wrong side in these matters, to the dismay of many a good officer.

What you wind up with is a department afraid to act in "certain" areas and with "certain" people for infractions that ANY OTHER PERSON i n ANY OTHER AREA would take in stride, and often apologize for.

MUST be a "cultural" thing.

And if ANY law-enforcement agency is worth their salt, it would be in their BEST INTEREST to do what they are paid to do...UPHOLD THE LAW and PROTECT THE CITIZENRY.

When you address the "small $hit", you don't open the floodgates for the "big $hit" to happen, which leads to the urban decay we see today in most EVERY major city.

That's how effectiveness should be measured for ANY department.

But after all these years dealing with a lot of people, I've become a cynical idealistic realist...what can I say?

Thank for the comments...much appreciated!


Stay Safe out there.


indy said...

wtf there is a law against riding the skateboard on the street. omg. well it done here all the time. infact the kids down the street have a jump ramp they put out there. when a car is coming threw they move it out of the way. we all wave high and then they go back to being kids. whatever.

Bob G. said...

I probably wouldn't be so set aside w/ having kids skateboarding in the street, but it's not like it was back in the 60s...
We have WAY too many nuts holding steering wheels that present a much greater danger to these kids, than in years past.

And believe it or not, a skateboarder used to be treated like a bicyclist, and had to obey the rules of the road in the SAME manner.
They also were given the right of way considering they have "less control" over their vehicle than a motorist.
But that was then...

Thanks for the omments.


Gloria said...

I understand your frustration with people walking in the street. However, here is my reason why I do it. When I walk, it’s normally at night. My neighborhood is at least 50 years old, and the trees have rendered some of the sidewalks hazardous. In some places, there is a three to four inch high “bump” in the sidewalk. So I walk in the street, close to the curb, and I move out of the way of any cars that may be coming behind me. This may be why the kids are out in the street; they don’t want to deal with bumpy sidewalks, and using a skateboard on one of these is dangerous. That’s why I never skated on our sidewalks, because I was terrified of falling. I never did get good enough as a skater to skate out in the street where the pavement was a lot smoother.

Bob G. said...

Excellent points made about skating on the sidewalk...those expansion joints between slabs WILL toss you for a loop.

Fortunately, your neighborhood is such that I agree with you 100%...for your area. You're one of te lucky ones.
Granted, we do have a few trees that have pushed the sidewalks out of place (down here), but for the most part, the sidewalks are in good repair (thanks to all the CEDIT money tossed down here over the decades), but with a greater influx of "dubious" renters moving into the area, those few that USED to maintain their properties have vanished...along with any hope of keeping the area from devolving further.
And the city has neither the ti, the money, NOR the resources to devote to driving up and down every street looking for disrepair.
(except around my house when I call stuff in)...LOL!
Thanks for the comment, dear.

Much appreciated.