Power play

The Chico City Council is about to expand our beloved police state just a little bit. The fear-mongers we elected intend to give cops a little more authority, because they don’t have quite enough.

In another attempt to expand their influence and justify their perpetually expanding budget, police suggested an ordinance to allow them to be kinder, gentler bullies. They won’t have to take the more extreme steps already at their disposal to ensure that nobody is ever disorderly or not intimidated.

The cops want to be able to shut down any event where they witness three state laws being broken or the commission of a felony. They won’t even have to document the law breaking; just saying they saw it would be enough. Less paperwork.

It seems to me that if the cops show up at a party and tell everybody to go home, the party is over, and a new law won’t affect that.

All this is talked about as a matter of public safety, but of course that’s as much bushwa as marijuana laws. There ain’t no safety involved, except the imaginary kind, where you think up the worst thing you can manage and then do something that you say will prevent it, even if it happens only every now and then, or maybe hasn’t happened at all. Governments at all levels seem determined to protect us from anything anybody can think of, even if they have to lock most of us up to do it.

The Enterprise-Record had Andy Holcombe saying the proposed ordinance would let the police take a “less draconian” approach to unruly events. So we need another law so cops can be more reasonable? Do reasonable people even join a police force? I have yet to hear of any cop anywhere being reprimanded for not using enough force, except Barney Fife.

Our lives become narrower and blander all the time, as we revere and reward legislatures at all levels. We pay handsomely to have our freedom steadily reduced. Laws are expensive to make and service, and often do more actual harm than imagined good. Even when a law finally falls from favor, changing or rescinding it is difficult just from inertia. Groups for which more laws mean more power and more work revere laws above life.

Has there been a rash of people dying at parties where three laws were violated? Maybe 11 is the proper number.

I know of no indication that laws affect the frequency of unwanted events. Do laws against cannibalism decrease cannibalism?

There will always be people who do stuff other people don’t like, and sometimes people get hurt. I don’t think laws change much of basic human behavior, and the edge is always ragged. We can’t legislate away the fringe or the weather. We can’t protect everybody from everybody else, either.

How about we just sign a waiver and let it go at that?