Martial Law in Washington DC

I thought the city of Washington DC had declared a "Crime emergency" because there was too much crime.  Apparently not, since they have created a whole new class of criminals:  16-year-olds who are ... shudder ... out and about after 10PM.

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said yesterday that the city had to
set the new 10 p.m. curfew for youths 16 and younger because of
"irresponsible" parents who don't control their children.

"You shouldn't need a curfew if you've got parents who are
responsible," Ramsey said on Washington Post Radio. "But unfortunately
we've got some parents here that are totally irresponsible. Their idea
of raising a kid is throwing a kid out of the house and letting them
straggle back in at 2 o' clock in the morning."

Hat tip to Reason's Hit and Run, which had this comment:

It's not that city officials want to play parent to every kid in the district. It's just that, gosh, turns out law enforcement professionals are better parents.

I hate to think what ideas this will give our local stormtrooper Joe Arpaio, the Sheriff with the largest PR budget in the nation. 

Props by the way to Phoenix New Times reporter John Dougherty, whose longstanding reporting on Sheriff Joe is reminiscent of the tough, confrontational local reporting of old.  Of course, there's no room for that in the milquetoast pander-to-the-local-pols reality of big-city newspapers today, so Dougherty is relegated to the local alternative paper (which may not be fair -- I don't know Mr. Dougherty -- he may prefer to be where he is).   Sheriff Joe is popular here in Phoenix, so the Arizona Republic (the big paper here) panders to him rather than risk confronting a popular figure.  The fact that one of Sheriff Joe's family helps run the Arizona Republic's editorial page may also have something to do with it.

  • Rob

    Sad day indeed. But I guess those handful of people who passed the law know what is best for us.
    I wish they would pick my clothes, pick my food, and maybe pick who I marry. Society would
    be so much greater!

  • http://dfriedman.typepad.com Dave

    Why the scare quotes around irresponsible? Even if one agrees that the city should not do anything about kids roaming around outside after 10PM it hardly seems unreasonable to call such kids' parents irresponsible.

    Are we no longer to judge the quality of a parent?

  • http://www.halfsigma.com Half Sigma

    10 PM doesn't seem especially late for a 16 year old during the summer when there's no school. When I was that young I would be out by myself.

  • Jim Collins

    I'm surprised that no one sees this for what it really is, something that the local politicians can point out when they are questioned by the voters about crime. It is a no lose situation for the politicians. It is just pandering to the older voters in DC. They can point to the curfew and say "Look at what I did for you.". The people affected by the curfew can't vote so there is no loss there. Last but not least the Police have to enforce the curfew and get to take the heat for it.