The Social Worker with a Gun

"Connecting young people and their families with the services they need"—using the police?


On Monday, Baltimore's city council gave its preliminary approval to an intrusive new curfew law. Luke Broadwater of The Baltimore Sun reports:

This actually comes from Philadelphia, not Baltimore, but I cropped the part of the flier that would show that. But now I've gone and told you anyway, haven't I? Oh, dear.

The legislation, approved 11-2, calls for youngsters under 14 to be indoors year-round by 9 p.m. Youths ages 14 through 16 could stay out until 10 on school nights and 11 on other nights.

Currently, all children and teens younger than 17 can stay out until 11 on weeknights and until midnight on weekends. Parents can be fined up to $300 if their children are caught outside after curfew.

The legislation increases penalties to $500, though they could be waived if parents and children attend counseling sessions provided by the city.

The measure does include exemptions for kids traveling to or from certain approved activities, such as a school event or a job. Of course, the police won't necessarily know that's why you're out of the house, so you can be coming home from work or a football game and still be forced to show your ID and explain to an officer why you're using a public walkway.

The Sun quotes the bill's sponsor, Councilman Brandon Scott, claiming the law is for the children's own good. "This bill is not about arresting kids," he reportedly said. "This bill is not about dropping crime. It's about connecting young people and their families with the services they need." That's quite a euphemism, isn't it? "Connecting young people and their families with the services they need" has a much friendlier ring than "first a cop hassles you, then you have to see a 'counselor' if you won't pay a steep fine."

It's true that a kid out late might be in need of help—his family could be homeless, for example. But "help" imposed at the end of a gun ceases to be assistance and starts to be something else.

The bill will probably pass its final vote next month. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has promised that if it comes to her desk, she'll sign it.

Bonus statistics: When Scott proposed the law last year, the Sun noted that "Gun violence in Baltimore involving juveniles has been on a steep decline in recent years, though there has been an uptick in 2013….Police arrest data show that juvenile arrests for aggravated assault, drug abuse violations and larceny—the three largest categories—are all down this year compared with the same time last year, though robberies are up 65 percent and stolen car arrests are up 52 percent." Meanwhile, "Of the five youths killed this year in city street violence, only one would have been considered in violation of curfew at the time her killing occurred."

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  1. Cell phone footage ‘shows police putting sixth grade student in a choke hold and kicking him to the ground’
    Officer put on administrative leave as Florida police investigate
    Boys were being removed from school bus for misbehaving
    Shocked classmates filmed what appears to be rough treatment

    This is how cops “help” children.

    1. Well, the fucker was probably breaking curfew. He’s lucky he wasn’t killed.
      At least Officer Friendly got to go home safely that night.

  2. What is the point of this? All of the people with good cell phones to snatch, are only walking around between 8am – 6pm anyway.

    1. Baltimore does has some of the most notorious beatings of tourists for no reason other than barbarity, at least of the ones posted on YouTube.

  3. “not about dropping crime”

    Which is the argument generally used for these laws.

    So if you’re not even trying to stop crime, get out of here.

  4. Nuke it.

    From orbit.

  5. Speaking of Balmer, here is a refreshingly interesting article from, of all places, the Baltimore Sun.

    America’s not buying what O’Malley’s selling

    1. Now let me be clear, when I say totalitarian I do not mean it in the Orwellian sense i.e., the “boot stomping on a human face,” rather in the holistic sense as Mussolini did when he wrote “everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

      Is there really a difference?

      1. Only in the methods. The O’Malley way is death by taxes and run away cronyism.

      2. No. There’s no difference. The only way to get to and maintain the Total State is with a large supply of jackboots.

      3. “Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy.”
        ? John Derbyshire

    2. That article is heartening, however.

      I didn’t know there were ANY libertarians in Maryland, let alone any with access to the media. 🙂

      1. Look, I’ve already told you guys that there are 2 of us now!

  6. Of course, the police won’t necessarily know that’s why you’re out of the house, so you can be coming home from work or a football game and still be forced to show your ID

    So carrying ID in Baltimore is required now? If you don’t have it will they arrest you?

    Papahz pleez!

    For the love of Christ, I don’t know why people put up with this bullshit.

    1. What if you’re 19? Do you need to prove that?

    2. The jails in Baltimore are not over crowded enough, the courts are not back logged enough, the streets are not full of wheel breaking pot holes enough, so they need something to do.

    3. So carrying ID in Baltimore is required now?

      Technically, no. They can only legally demand ID if they’ve got cause to believe you’ve committed a crime or have warrants for your arrest. Though in practice they do whatever the fuck they want, legal or not, because fuck you that’s why.

      1. Yes, as Alec Baldwin taught us all yesterday, it’s legal not to have ID, until the police decide you may have committed a crime.

        1. I always make sure I’m carrying my ID when I decide to break the law, JUST so they can’t cite me for it.

  7. “This bill is not about arresting kids,” he reportedly said. “This bill is not about dropping crime. It’s about connecting young people and their families with the services they need.”

    A 13 year old being outside in the summer at 9:30 PM doesn’t suggest he needs any “services”*. It suggests he has friends.

    *mandatory counseling sessions for being up too late aren’t services anyway

  8. The legislation increases penalties to $500, though they could be waived if parents and children attend counseling sessions provided by the city.

    Counseling for what?

    1. if parents and children attend counseling sessions provided by the city.

      Provided by the city? I seriously doubt that. Provided by a friend of some crony politician. Maryland is nothing but cronyism, all the way down.

      But there is your explanation for this law. The friend or family member of some crony has pockets that needs lined with tax payer dollars.

    2. Counseling for what?

      For them to pry into your personal life. Evidently your kid walking around late is evidence of child abuse.

  9. It is utterly unjust to hold parents responsible for their kids being out but then also criminalize parents disciplining their kids. If I have a 15 year old and he or she tells me to go fuck myself and goes out after 9 pm, what am I supposed to do about it? I could slap the shit out of them but that would be child abuse. I don’t see any way parents can deter and control a truly recalcitrant teenager without committing abuse. And maybe physical abuse of kids should be a crime. But if it is, stop holding parents responsible for things their kids do.

    Beyond that, this is a pretty stupid hill for Libertarians to die on. Minors don’t have the same rights as adults. And in return for that they get some benefits, namely not being tried for any crimes they commit as adults or being held to any contract they sign. It is one thing to argue for a younger age of majority. I think it should be 16 instead of 18 and when you hit majority you should be an adult and have the ability to vote, drive, drink or do anything else. But before that? you belong to your parents. I don’t see a problem with saying you can’t be on the streets without them after 9 pm.

    The real injustice that is done to kids is making truancy a crime. Compulsory school attendance is flat out evil and a much bigger and more important issue than this.

    1. Beyond that, this is a pretty stupid hill for Libertarians to die on.

      So Reason should not report any stories at all unless they are worthy of being a hill to die on?

    2. It is utterly unjust to hold parents responsible for their kids being out but then also criminalize parents disciplining their kids.

      That’s a good point I hadn’t considered before.

      It is one thing to argue for a younger age of majority. … But before that? you belong to your parents.

      Then shouldn’t the parents be the ones to set the curfew?

      PS to Reason: Please put your squirrelz in timeout.

      1. Fair point about parents and curfews. Maybe any kid with a note saying his parents are fine with it or a cell phone to call home and verify then.

    3. What I used to tell my kid was that getting out is easy. Getting back in may be a lot harder.

    4. The police bitch and moan for having to show up on a domestic call from Momma because junior won’t brush his teeth before bedtime.

      The police have incentivized those types of calls by supporting bullshit like this; therefore they get nothing but scorn from me when they complain about such frivolous calls.

  10. Well, our polling seems to show us that voting aged adults are getting a little tired of us fucking with them all the time, so… I propose that we fuck with their kids instead… at least until this whole “push back” craze blows over…

    / Bureaucrat control freak

    1. Well, on the bright side…

      Perhaps they are making future libertarians. I know a lot of my anti-government views were formed as a teenager.

  11. And speaking of Murlin, I was driving home yesterday and on NPR (I seem to listen to this when stuck in traffic, not sure why I can’t stop, the derp is a mile deep), there was a guy running for governor, his name is Loller. The guy is one of the best speakers I have heard in a long time. I didn’t agree with everything he said, but from MD, he’s by far the best politician I have heard speak, economy wise. I haven’t seen anyone rip into O’Malley and cronyim like he did. And when taking call in questions, the guy is straight forward, he doesn’t avoid questions.

    So I got home and was thinking, I could vote for this guy. Then I went to his website, and after a little perusing, all of my enthusiasm was replaced by the usual ‘Sigh…. why does the stupid party continue to stupid? Is there some sort of mental disorder that they have, that they can’t help it?’. Well, the guys is not getting my vote, which means I will probably wind up sitting out that election, because all of the candidates suck. This guy is the best of the pool, but here is where he fails:

    Charles Loller, obviously of the STUPID party

    1. I am pretty sure O’Malley isn’t any better on pot. And even if he is, it will only be marginally so. He might let people who have a script buy the stuff, provided it is from some crony shop and the feds don’t throw you in jail.

      You are never going to get a good candidate. At this point, any improvement would be welcome. I don’t see how you can sit home or not vote for this guy, who appears to have so much right, just over pot. With O’Malley you will get all of the cronyism and illegal pot.

      1. No, O’Malley is better. He has some crony friends that need licenses for growing medical MJ. So he will sign the bill for medical MJ and for crony growing operations, which already passed.

        Even if Loller was right on weed, he can’t get elected here, because he’s a Republican.

        My entire point of that post was that why does nearly all GOP candidates, no matter how good they are on most issues, have to be entirely stupid on at least one? Anyone talking about freedom and individual rights, and then say that they want people thrown into a cage because of a plant, then that person has some serious ignorance to overcome.

        1. O’Malley actually had a closer election than you would think when he won the last time. I wouldn’t say it is impossible.

          Here is something to consider. A lot of people still object to legalized marijuana. Maybe the only way to build a winning coalition in Maryland is to back off on the issue? That sucks but what are you going to do. To win in Maryland you are going to have to get the white suburban families and the the people in the small towns on the Eastern Shore and out west. I doubt those people are that pro legalized pot. I bet most of the people who support legalization are hard core dems who will never vote for you anyway.

          What would you do in that case? The only people who are going to listen to your anti-crony small government message are going to tune you out as soon as you say legalize pot and the only people who won’t tune you out over pot, love big government cronyism and will never vote for you.

          The reality is that it may be impossible to get an anti-crony prop pot candidate elected. And I don’t consider legalized for medical purposes to be much of an improvement. Regulated to death is hardly better than illegal.

        2. Why don’t you ask him? You said he answers Qs.

      2. Actually the best course of action is to write to the candidate, or call his office, and tell him directly that he has your support, if and only if, he changes his mind (like the rest of civilization) on marijuana and then explain why it should be legal. (medical reasons, personal liberty, overcrowded jails, non-violent offenders – instead put law enforcement focus on violent crimes, etc.)

        And remind him that will you not only remove any and all support for him, but you’ll actively work against him (word of mouth campaign or whatever). And that you should have a candidate you can believe in for all the right reasons, not the lesser of two evils.

        1. I almost wrote to him yesterday evening, but I wanted to wait until I have my letter ready, instead of just scribbling out the first thing I thought of, which was something like ‘Fucking stupid party! Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!!!’ Ad infinitum

          1. What if he turns out to convince you on the issue?

  12. Squirrels? I am getting logged out about every 30 seconds.

    1. I haven’t had that problem, but only about 1/5 comments is going through.

      1. If it doesn’t preview properly it’s not going to submit.

      2. Mine go through, but it takes several reloads to show up.

    2. “Squirrels? I am getting logged out about every 30 seconds.

      They’re on to you Mary.. It’s been a clever little ruse, but the skwerrlz know who you are, and they can see into your soul…

      1. I’m Mary?

        1. Haha… and you didn’t even know, did you?.. But the squirrels knew.. they knew all the long..

          1. Damn, that must be what happened during those times that I got too drunk and couldn’t remember what I was doing on the internet the night before…

  13. It’s about connecting young people and their families with the services they need.

    What services are those, exactly? The “service” of being forced to go home before you feel like it?

    1. What services are those, exactly?

      Forcing them to take mandatory counseling, because being forced to visit some crony shrink will fix all their family problems.

      1. Just wait until these “properly counseled” kids grow up and try to purchase a firearm, and that comes up on their record…

      2. These fuckers actually want to make Foucault look smart.

        “Why do you think I need counseling?”

        “Because you didn’t obey us. Obviously, only a crazy person would not obey us instantly.”

    2. The services of getting their kids criminal records. First steps to getting them to juvie and eventually into the prison system.

      Come on Nikki, you just aren’t thinking here.

  14. infuriated me this morning:
    Was watching some show that follows lady cops this morning as I was doing my morning routine; they got a call for kids left in a car. They showed up and indeed two kids were left in a car with the windows completely closed while the mom was shopping. This was in WINTER in IOWA.
    The lady cops were all like “she definitely deserves to be arrested”, and were lecturing her on like “What if someone stole the kids?” And “It’s pretty cold isn’t it?”

    Are you fucking kidding me? Yeah right, the car’s going to drop to like -50 in 15 minutes.
    Come on people. A car in winter completely closed does not get cold fast, especially if it was heated before. And the chances of the kids getting messed with are close to zero. In some areas there might be general issues of high crime and attempted thefts from the car or car highjackings, but that wouldn’t be focused on the kids, criminal would probably just dump kids out of car at worst, and there would be plenty of people around to witness and help.

    1. I can’t watch any of those shows anymore. Between the victimless crime and the cops blatantly lying in every interaction with people, it makes me ashamed to be an American.

      1. ^ This.

        Kind of like how I can’t watch any policy dramas anymore – specifically the ones like L&O where the cops are all heroes. It’s just so unrealistic.

    2. Were I interested in stealing a car, the presence of children would be an automatic deterrent. Amber alerts make a successful GTA much less likely not to mention, unless I had ransom plans, much less profitable.

      Unless there were claims/assertions of abandonment, the car getting cold is a non-issue. Kids play outside in actual freezing weather for hours at a time.

      1. Yep, GTA might be easy enough to plea down to joyriding or whatever if you get caught.

        Kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a minor, etc. are a lot worse and harder to plea down, especially if committed in junction with other felonies.

        In GTA IV terms, stealing the car gets 1 start and stealing a car with kids inside is an easy 3 stars. That’s going to take a lot more tunnels, alleys and switching of cars to evade.

      2. The ability to reason is generally an indication that you will score too high on the police exams and will not be hired.

        No need to wonder why murders go unsolved.

    3. I always wish these laws would take into account the ability of the kid to escape the situation and the physical proximity to the parent.

      It’s absurd that a 5 year old can’t be left in a car with the AC/heater going IF they are not strapped into a seat in such a way that they can’t get out if things get bad.

      Instead of leaving them in the car, the parent could probably get away with saying “Sit in the car with the door open and wait for me” OR “Play outside the car while I go shopping” and be fine.

      My brother and I from ages 5/6 up were allowed to (after some hassling of the mom) go to the car on our own, KEYS IN HAND, and wait for her in the car.

      It was never so cold that we needed heat (car didn’t have A/C), but we both knew how to start the car if we had lived in that sort of area. On the rare occasions that we did get a little too hot/cold, we got out of car, locked the doors, and went back inside.

      Later when we were 8/9, she got an auto trans explorer, which had A/C, so we would start the car up and set the A/C if needed. She actually liked that because she came back from her peaceful shopping to a cooled off car.

      I’m also not a fan of arresting or hassling parents who go into places like Starbucks or gas stations with babies in the car when they leave the A/C on. They’re so close to the child and the temperature can’t possibly change so quickly as to endanger the parent in the time it takes to pick up a Slurpee and/or frappuccino.

  15. But “help” imposed at the end of a gun ceases to be assistance and starts to be something else.

    Not to mention that the common notion of “help” and the public service notion of “help” are two different things to begin with.


  17. We all know that 14-16 year olds commit so much crime between 10 and 11, that this will surely be the thing to curb crime in Baltimore.

  18. Why are these kids not in school?

    Those teachers need dates.

  19. Is the bill actually written as “after 10” instead of a range, say 10-5 or is the reporter that idiotic?

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