I recently wrote a post on the ridiculousness of a Fox News “Exclusive” that showed that pedophiles had “found a home on Wikipedia.” That article continued on about how school children were given access to the pedophile filled Wikipedia! It was complete ridiculousness, dangerous considering many nontechnical people will misinterpret, and the kind of article that encourages many people to completely ignore Fox News. Unfortunately, the Post-Gazette published a similarly irresponsible article this morning about PA House Bill 2479. A quote below:
In other countries, citizens are required to have their papers available for police to review. In Italian cities, people are routinely stopped and asked to prove their legal status. I lived there for four years and was never approached. Others were regularly stopped, asked questions and embarrassed in public. Perhaps American officers have better judgment, but I saw that light-skinned speakers of English didn’t attract the attention of the carabinieri like dark-skinned speakers of North African languages did.
Consider the possible effects of a law requiring police in Pennsylvania to check the legal status of anyone of whom they have “reasonable suspicion.” Consider my son’s baseball team, which is well-coached by a Latino and a Jewish American and whose players belong to families of various ethnic backgrounds. We come together weekly to enjoy the national pastime.
Imagine one Saturday the kids are playing and the police have a reason to be in the parking lot. Two officers approach and ask each parent who looks Hispanic for his or her papers (assuming the process would unfold like that in other countries and that the white and African-American parents would not be asked).
We watch this, as do the children. What does this teach them? When the police leave, what remains?
This is crazy. The Italian law is not the same as the Pennsylvania bill and in the Pennsylvania bill, the officer would have no right to ask any of the people in the parking lot for their papers unless they were being stopped for another reason. So I suppose if they had all broken the speed limit on the way to the ballpark then a cop might be able to ask only the latinos for ID. The moral of that story for me, is that if you speed to baseball games in a tight enough formation that the cop knows that all of you are speeding, perhaps you shouldn’t have children. Another gripe, why point out that one of the coaches is Jewish? Do we expect this bill would lead to Jews being harassed about papers? I hate the line “assuming the process would unfold like that in other countries…”, WHY would you assume that? The entire text of the bill is available online, why don’t you read it before you write an article in the Post-Gazette?
Don’t get me wrong, I HATE this bill. If it comes to a vote, I intend to write my state representative and tell him so. There are SOOOO many reasons to hate this bill; it distracts police officers and other officials with a task for which there is already an entire department of the federal government, it encourages racial profiling, it requires people to carry ID, it gives subjective power to police (who should always be as limited as possible by “the book” to prevent corruption and abuse) and it attempts to build bigger government. There are so many reasons to hate this bill, that it pisses me off that a Post-Gazette editorialist had to invent some. He wasted a perfectly good space in the Post-Gazette by creating an article that HB2479’s defenders can easily refute.