04 June 2008

Get Your Letters of Transit Ready

From the Examiner, via DCist, via Why I Hate DC: "Police to Seal Off D.C. Neighborhoods." Well, that's comforting.
D.C. police will seal off entire neighborhoods, set up checkpoints and kick out strangers under a new program that D.C. officials hope will help them rescue the city from its out-of-control violence... Officers will man cordons around those zones and demand identification from people coming in and out of them. Anyone who doesn’t live there, work there or have “legitimate reason” to be there will be sent away or face arrest, documents obtained by The Examiner show.
Yes, I want the MPD, paragons of efficiency and justice that they are, to be the arbiter of civilian comings and goings. Attention Captain Renault...errr, Police Chief Lanier, you have poor judgment and do not appear to be very good at your job. Do not take on more responsibility until you can lock down your existing business. In fact, District of Columbia, get your own house in order before you start throwing up roadblocks all over town.

Further evidence that the MPD are blathering bureaucratic fools, from the their own press release: "The Neighborhood Safety Zones is just another tool MPD will employ to stop crime before it happens." All crime prevention occurs before it happens, because you can not stop something from happening after it has happened. There is no other time to stop something than before it occurs. Unless you have access to Doc Brown's DMC-12, it is semantically meaningless to talk of any type of prevention other than ex ante. Unless you are actively seeking to convince me you are all useless wads of blue uniform, stop your ridiculous posturing and start doing your jobs.

Update: Megan McArdle recognizes this as an excellent example of Caplan's Fallacy:
1. Something must be done
2. This is something
3. Therefore, this must be done

Update II: On McArdle's post, commenter Claudius asks "How is this plan even remotely constitutional? Where is the ACLU when you really need it?" Well, I have an answer to that. They're busy supporting eminent domain abuse in California.


  1. um i'd like to comment - what if I were driving in DC and got stopped... is a legitimate reason to be driving that i'm visiting you? or what about your friend in school who loves to just drive? would "i love to drive" be a good enough excuse? lame.

  2. You would not be able to enter or pass through the neighborhood unless you were visiting someone who lived there, had an appointment in the neighborhood, etc. "Just passing through" would not be good enough, and you'd probably end up with your car being searched too. Quite lame indeed.