I just got back from Burning Man, a five to ten day (depending on your dedication and stamina) arts festival in the desert. It was fabulous. There was art everywhere you looked. Strange and normal people coexisting and everyone, for the most part, picked up after themselves. The only problem was that the annual event has moved from one counties part of the nothingness that is the Black Rock desert to another counties part of the nothingness. The main result being that the normally relaxed festival was beset by police foot patrols, drug sniffing dogs and drug busts, and crackdowns on public sex acts…all the stuff that some people go to Burning Man to take part in or at least watch. I have no problem with law and order, but I do have a problem with inconsistency.
The inconsistency was this: in Nevada marijuana is illegal, a felony, but the cops were only ticketing for the offense. A gift, true, but a money-making gift. They ticket, the person pays a fine and gets a black mark on their record, the county makes money with out having to do much work or incarcerate anyone. Looks like graft to me. Additionally, they cut down on public sex acts, but not public nudity. You only had to watch the cops talking to the topless babes to figure out this inconsistency. They were more than willing to put up with a few swinging dicks to get naked girls. Maybe I’m just a cynic, maybe I’m unreasonable, maybe I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth. Of course I wasn’t involved in any of the illegal activities so who am I to complain?
Police are like the parents in any situation they come into, like it or not. They determine not only the rules, but how the rules will be enforced. I’m not saying that they need to lock people up for pot or dress the naked. I’m saying that when even the cops can figure out that a little pot or the occasional naked person is not worth jail time, then why can’t the laws reflect that. Could the laws really just be there to make extra money or as an excuse to mess with the citizens. Obviously the state also decided that pot was a ticket not a felony for Burning Man attendees because cops don’t make those decisions on their own.
There is a whole collection of laws people refer to as “Blue Monday” laws. Those things you can get arrested in small town’s for like spitting on the sidewalk or eating an ice cream cone while walking. Is it possible that some of our laws against victimless crimes are Blue Monday laws, there just to allow police access to our lives. I have come to believe that the lawmakers and enforcers are more than award that pot does not lead to heroin and hookers don’t break up marriages. But they need an in to the lives of the lower reaches so they can get them off the streets…when it suits them.
Is this a real problem? What can be done?
Who knows. I’m just here to bitch.