May 12, 2007
Can't stop the popping
Yesterday's post about Philadelphia mayoral candidate Michael Nutter left me with the feeling that articulating libertarian views in a large urban area is largely an effort in futility, because ideas like the constitutional right to bear arms are considered fringe. (For that matter, so is the idea that you have a right to live with a dog of your choice...)
Anyway, it all struck me as a bit of a time waster (a cognitive disconnect almost on the level of arguing for same sex marriage with people who favor sodomy laws), but this morning's Inquirer at least reminded me that at least one of Michael Nutter's ideas is actually being debated, and that is his "stop and frisk" proposal (purportedly targeting citizens who might be carrying illegal guns):
One expert says such policies may well help get guns off the street - but carry a potential risk of civil-rights violations.There's more, of course, and while Nutter might not have responded to phone calls, this morning I found him most responsive.
I kid you not! When I went to the Inquirer web site to get the link to the article, guess who popped up in front of me, in animated form? Why, Michael Nutter himself -- in virtual form of course, with a little speech! I couldn't make the image go away, and it was almost, um, personal! As if I was having the debate right there on the Inky's web site.
Here's what it (I guess I mean he) looked like:
I don't know quite what I think about stop and frisk (especially how far it should go), but the frisky popup was intriguing.
Why can't virtual libertarians pop up like that?
Actually, I was delighted by the fact that the article quoted Bernard Harcourt (a guest blogger at Volokh, home page here), and it's worth noting that Professor Harcourt raised another troubling issue:
Harcourt, the law professor, said the toughest issues surface when "hot-spot" policing brings a flood of officers into a predominantly black neighborhood.It's also tough to distinguish between legal and illegal weapons (32,000 Philadelphians are concealed carry permit holders). And what about drugs?
Nutter says that "no one has a right to carry an illegal weapon," which is true, but isn't it also true that no one has a right to carry illegal drugs?
(And no one has a right to harbor an illegal dog?)
Wouldn't society be safer if the police just searched everyone?
UPDATE: Someone just had to ask me whether this post constituted a "STOP AND FISK."
MORE: I now see that the term "STOP AND FISK" is nearly five years old, and was first articulated by Xlrq.
Why it never caught on, I don't know
posted by Eric on 05.12.07 at 08:36 AM
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