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Curfews for teenagers are a mistake.
It's easy for local politicians to say they're taking a stand against
crime by enacting curfews on people who cannot vote against them.
While it's true that juvenile crime is on the rise, it is also true that
the majority of crimes are committed by adults. If the use of curfews is
a good crime deterrent then curfews should be applied to adults as well.
Those who favor curfews argue that young people don't have any business
on the streets late at night, that the only thing for them to do in the
dark hours is get into trouble. That's probably true. However, it should
be the children's parents responsibility to see that their sons and
daughters are home at reasonable hours. The comeback to that is that
some parents are not living up to their responsibilities in this area,
therefore, the law must step in and make sure the children are
controlled by fining offenders and sometimes their parents.
If that line of thinking is correct then let's apply it to more areas
where parents are slacking off. Let's fine the parents of teenage girls
who get pregnant out of wedlock. Oh, yeah, don't forget to fine the
parents of the young men who play their role in the deed.
Fine parents whose children don't do as well in school as they might.
Fine parents whose children don't dress the way some lawmaker thinks
they should dress. I'm sure city, county and state politicians can see
advantages in such laws. They would be a great source of revenue. Good,
law abiding citizens would not be affected by any such laws, only the
scum of the earth who don't live the way those in power think they
should live would be impacted by such laws.
Little by little we give up freedom in the name of security.
In an article that appeared in the Enterprise last week a Pecos Police
Department investigator was indirectly quoted as saying that the police
were not sure if a recent rash of burglaries were committed by adults or
juveniles. Because of that the police are going to be stopping vehicles
that are out late at night. Giving the police the benefit of the doubt,
I assume the investigator meant they would be stopping vehicles that
appeared to contain young people in violation of the curfew. But, it's
very difficult to see who is in some vehicles late at night, much less
determine their age.
You might reply that as long as you are not doing anything illegal you
shouldn't be worried about the police stopping you. That is true except
for one thing, it's illegal for police to stop you without probable
cause. Being out late is not probable cause, unless you are under 17 in
If there is any fault to be given in enforcing youth curfews it does not
fall on the police. They are only enforcing the laws that society has
requested them to enforce. If there is fault it lies on the shoulders of
the populace who through some misguided idea of safety or justice have
placed such laws on the books.
The truth is, we don't need more laws taking away our freedoms. We need
society to make a turn toward more responsible behavior.
Editor's Note: Rick Smith is an Enterprise writer and city editor whose column appears each Monday.
At mid-year this year, we reassigned three of our counselors in order to
better meet student needs. As a result, they `inherited' the `lists' of
the ANGEL volunteers.
Some of the volunteers were inadvertently left out and we really want to
let them know how we appreciate them too. We will want them to continue
helping us next year.
The ANGELS who served at Lamar Middle School and Barstow who were left
out of the list include, Jane Mussey, Ruben Salcido, Jessie Baeza, Julie
Thompson, Barbara Hernandez, Liz Salcido, Terry Spence, Olga Lopez,
Lydia Franco, Sophie Baeza, Sonya Nichols, Steve Valenzuela, Rosie Mata,
Elsa Velasquez, Luis Villalobos, Lydia Prieto and Diana Prieto.
Once again, I would like to stress our appreciation of all our
ANNA M. HERNANDEZ
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