Thursday, May 26, 2005

As-booooo

For anyone who didn't believe Asbo issuing was out of control, here is final evidence from tomorrow's Grauniad:

"A teenager has been banned from wearing a hooded top or cap in public for five years after terrorising residents in a Manchester suburb.

In what is believed to be the first antisocial behaviour order of its kind in the country, Dale Carroll, 16, could face prison if he steps out in public in the teenage uniform of hoodie or baseball cap. The Asbo also bans him from congregating with more than two people apart from family members, entering Collyhurst Village, where he lived with his mother, and possessing fireworks, axes or chainsaws."

Several points arise. "Possessing fireworks, axes or chainsaws"? How many 16-year olds do you know who you'd be happy about possessing fireworks, axes or chainsaws? Teenage delinquency has got much more exciting in the last few years.

But more importantly, it raises the question of whether it's ok to ban legal activity (wearing hoodies, owning axes) because it might encourage illegal activity. Think about it, it's absurd as a principle of law. Cars can be used to commit ram-raids: we must ban people from owning cars.

As you can imagine, it's something the body modification community gets very het up about. There are several US states trying to ban tattooing because of its supposed link to criminal behaviour. Others are trying to ban female genital piercings because they're obsolete oppressive bigots. Or something like that.

Issues like this are the thin end of the wedge, and as such pretty hard to complain about. "So what? It's only a hoodie" or "So what? It's just a tattoo" trip fairly easily off the tongue. But it raises the broader question of how much it's acceptable to interfere in individual people's lives for some supposed benefit to society at large. With the ID cards bill coming up (can you guess I'm massively opposed to that?) it's more topical than ever.


on a completely different note, take a look at postsecret blog. it's really rather touching.

5 Comments:

Blogger The Grinch said...

Jesus, I just read that postsecret blog and I feel like I need to take a shower. Uuurrgghhh (said with shuddering motion). Touching? Psychotic ramblings more like!

As for ASBOs, liberty, criminality human rights and whatnot, I find myself in a bind here. Not because of my actual principles but because it's so hard to find the right RHETORICAL position, which is by far the more important. Hmmmn. Not expressing myself well here. I may have to post on this in future on my blog.

Thirdly, it's just come to my attention that I don't have a link to your blog on mine. How rubbish of me. I shall correct this forthwith.

5/27/2005 4:28 pm  
Blogger galatea said...

i had noticed that, but assumed you had a good reason (an EU directive against indulging my post-adolescent whining?) so didn't mention it.

i agree with you about finding a rhetorical position, it's very hard to merge my militant leftiness with the innately conservative belief that there are lots of things the state shouldn't interfere with...

5/28/2005 4:43 pm  
Blogger damonline said...

Ah, Asbos, the Greek island home of gentle Chlamydia, goddess of one night stands and female sexual frustration.

Saw a thing in the Surrey Advertiser (or whatever it's called) about a housing estate which has been threatened with a blanket asbo.

Yes, that's right, an asbo slapped on an entire estate.

Which I think is pretty much equivalent to martial law. Well, they're tough on crime in the Tory shires.

5/30/2005 5:16 pm  
Blogger damonline said...

And I love the postsecret blog.

5/30/2005 5:21 pm  
Blogger Artegall said...

Having worked there for two weeks, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if that story was completely made up. In the course of my two weeks, I wrote 450 words (I counted), which was about 250 more than two of the journalists they employed.

Press day, on Friday, was both times a case of the journo in charge (both editor and dep ed were away on holiday, apparently a not unusual occurance), holding up the latest edition, laughing out loud along with everyone else in the room, and saying 'I can't believe we're charging £1 for this crap!"

On the plus side, I'd been meaning to read Catch-22 for ages. And Life at Blandings.

6/10/2005 4:45 pm  

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