Monday, May 18, 2015

Will Polite Enforcement Work?

An ancient axiom holds there is some good in every situation. Indeed, there are indications that police forces in many parts of the U.S. are examining their practices and policies and making positive changes as a result of  a rash of documented brutality in dealings with the public they should be safeguarding, especially the reprehensible shootings of black men without sound justification. Justice may yet be served properly.

However, one might ask if the pendulum could swing too far the other way, a characteristic of American political life and social change seen often in the past.

The new sign pictured here popped up recently on a route we travel often between a home improvement store and our favorite supermarket. I am certain that the old sign it replaced said, "VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED."

Saying less forcefully they "may be" prosecuted, it seems to me, opens a loophole for miscreants who might be willing to play the odds and take a chance they will be among those who escape punishment. There also could be an administrative problem. Who decides which dumpers will be prosecuted? Based on what? The volume of junk they drop off? The esthetics of the stuff? The nastiness of any odors?

Could it be this type of more sensitive warning could go so far that tellers with their hands raised might say, "Please don't rob our bank. You may be prosecuted." I'm sure the bandits would pay a lot of attention to that sort of notice--right after they entertained the hostages with a round of  LOL.


Anonymous said...

One of the things you learn early when child rearing or training dogs is don't make idle threats. This is not to say that humans are dogs,though in my opinion dogs are much more civilized in general.

During the 1980s, revisionist historians were rewriting history and describing the "civilizing mission" of the Europeans in pejorative terms.

While I wouldn't want to go back to those times when the Comstock laws were in effect and Prohibition was enforced (still is), nevertheless, either people behaved in more civilized ways towards one another or there was no Al Sharpton around to make mischief. (though Lindbergh caused Roosevelt much grief).

Sadly, as a society, we have swung from one extreme to the other. Neither works very well.

As a sociologist, I know that humans need Good Orderly Direction, which like it or not comes from the larger group to which they belong. Sadly, many youngsters are ignorant of this fact until it is too late for them personally.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was absolutely correct when he described the 'Culture of Poverty' in the 1970s. But he and other Conservative thinkers were pushed out of "polite" society and their views trampled and distorted. So much for liberal thinking.

I don't think we should try to return to the "good old days", as David's Dad (1890-1972) said, "there were no good old days."

But we should support sensible actions such as school uniforms and intramural policing in schools with problems, as well as a curriculum that encourages kids to think critically.

Then if they are asked "Who was the first president of the U.S." they will be able to answer the question.

BTW reading John Adams in is a long book. Also began reading Kirsten Powers new book 'Silenced' and highly recommend. Like Charles Krautheimer and Juan Williams, she has become disillusioned with the "illiberal" Liberals (extreme left). Makes me proud to be a Liberal, which I am, although I question everything (well mostly). Except signs that say "no dumping."

PiedType said...

My, aren't you the observant one. Doubt I would have noticed. It's an interesting change in wording. Maybe they were trying to give the police a little more discretion (so they don't have to arrest a child who drops his Slurpee, for example). On the other hand, the law is the law and there's no reason for an inanimate sign to equivocate.

Reminds me of my favorite gripe -- the Miranda warning that says "anything you say can and will be held against you ..." Anything? "May I have a glass of water?" "Thanks."? I've always though "will" should be changed to "may."

Kay said...

I don't think I've ever seen a sign that stated "may be". I'll keep my eyes open now though. Seems rather silly to me. I agree with you.

Linda said...

This is a sign that I have never seen before. Great find, thank you for sharing.

Jhawk23 said...

Maybe they thought "will be" might be interpreted as a dare to dumpers in an era when perversity, if not perversion, is celebrated? Or does "will be" just sound too mean and yielding, the way today's parents avoid telling their kids "don't," but prefer silliness like "do you really want to do that?" Hard to fathom.

Actually when I think about it I realize it wasn't so many years ago that the sign would just have said "No Dumping" and we all would have known that legal action was possible. Let's go back to that!

Dick Klade said...

I like it, JHawk. Good thought!