Societal Evolution

Just last night, Bea and I walked down the San Jose Improv to see Richard Lewis and meet some of her family ahead of time for pre-show dining. We got on the subject of some of the timeless things teenagers do, and Bea’s brother-in-law remarks that in his day when the cops caught you and your friends with booze, they’d just pour out your supply and send you packing home. Now they cart you off to juvenile hall and put you and your parents through a Technicolor living nightmare that’s going to eat up enormous time, expense, and leave everyone pretty much mangled beyond recognition for years to come.

But on the bright side, said cops are that much closer to their next "meritorious" citation; lowly prosecutors are that much closer to becoming assistant DA; and everybody involved gets to claim the "tough on ‘crime’" nod as department SOP.  And nobody even had  to get shot at or take a no-shit risk helping an innocent to do it. But what’s a little theft of a teenager’s best years and spirit for life when there are "cases" to "aggressively pursue?"

The two boys tore down the hall of Patton Middle School
after lunch, swatting the bottoms of girls as they ran —
what some kids later said was a common form of greeting.

But bottom-slapping is against policy in McMinnville Public
Schools. So a teacher’s aide sent the gawky
seventh-graders to the office, where the vice principal and
a police officer stationed at the school soon interrogated

After hours of interviews with students the day of the
February incident, the officer read the boys their Miranda
rights and hauled them off in handcuffs to juvenile jail,
where they spent the next five days.

Now, Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, face the
prospect of 10 years in juvenile detention and a lifetime on
the sex offender registry in a case that poses a fundamental
question: When is horseplay a crime?

When? Read the second paragraph, again.

"Land o’ the Free," baby; we’s livin’ the Land o’ the Free. Oh Beautiful…


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