Saw a thing today in the NYTimes claiming that roughly 30% of Americans under 23 have been arrested. Which is staggering.
The article makes mention of some of the resulting difficulties: the frequency of background checks now makes a huge amount of the youth population that much less employable, at least until businesses realize it’s becoming a burden on their hiring practices. Or will they? I think this is perhaps also some of what has been encouraging the general resentment of police amongst the populace. This and pepper spray, and tasers, and batons, and the odd police shooting that gets totally written off as justified causing more unrest for more SWAT teams to drive tanks out into the city to quell peaceful demonstrations, etc.
I find more interesting the question of why the arrests are going up. One, drug use isn’t declining at all providing further evidence that the war on drugs is a meaningless expense in the face of school programs (which might possibly prevent such things) closing due to lack of funding. And on that note, two, the increasingly insane applications of ‘zero tolerance’ policies by school administrators who, probably more than anything, are afraid that if they DON’T do something about a random minor misbehavior, they’re the ones that’ll get sued.
On top of that is the ever-expanding wealth of legislation outlawing this, that, and the other that ultimately has no bearing on society beyond a general sense of “these kids today can’t respect anything”, a feeling that has been pervasive amongst anyone over 40ish since time immemorial but that has only recently been getting proper legislative traction. Sagging pants, banned. Why? It’s stupid, sure, but it’s not harming anyone. Curfews, greater restrictions on driving that mysteriously weren’t needed 30 years ago, an extreme overreaction to what is or is not a dangerous sex offender at young ages, blah blah. Nobody is willing to put their ass on the line to slow the tide in the face of re-election attack ads. That or nobody thinks about it.