Wednesday, December 10, 2014

“Don’t Worry, It’s Just a Tool”

"Don't Worry, it's Just a Tool" [PDF]

Cleek, M. A., Youril, J. A., Youril, M., & Guarino, R. (2010). “Don’t Worry, It’s Just a Tool”: Enacting Selectively Enforced Laws Such as Curfew Laws Targeting Only the Bad Guys. Justice Policy Journal7(1), 1.

Abstract: The United States Constitution is in place to protect the rights of the citizens. Yet, the current environment leans towards the enactment of more and more laws at all levels of government which erode or eliminate those rights. It is suggested that the fear and chaos of these stressful and uncertain times results in a willingness on the part of legislators and the public that elects them to trade freedom for security. This can have disastrous consequences. Cicero (42 BC) observed, “When people are willing to give up rights for security, they will, in the end, lose both.” This paper examines how laws which violate civil rights, such as curfew laws are passed by municipalities and accepted by the community with an understanding that they will only be selectively enforced against “the bad guys.” Citizens are told by law enforcement that they need such laws as a “tool” and without them they are powerless to deal with the problem population. The fears and frustrations of the public are played upon to give increased powers and latitude for discretionary enforcement of laws to police. (Published Abstract)

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