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04 June 2008 @ 11:59 am
Lanier to seal off "rough 'hoods"  
As reported on the Examiner's page. Has anyone heard anything about this besides what's in this report? I was under the impression that as free citizens in this city, we could move about as we wished among public streets.

I don't know about you, but this reminds me of forced ghettos, and we know how well those have worked out historically for the folks who've been made to live in them.
 
 
 
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
maryammaryam on June 4th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
I don't know much about where this was tried out before, but it sounds completely ridiculous to me. I double-checked to make sure I wasn't on a fake news site.

Pseudonymleftyjew on June 4th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)
Well... I tend to take anything the Examiner says with a grain of salt. They don't really fact check and they like sensationalism. The only other source I can find on this directly cites the Examiner article... and is a blog. I wonder if this is for real
brokenhallelubrokenhallelu on June 4th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
Dr. Quentin Q. Quinn: cattyspampy on June 4th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
they tried it out on a certain fictional show on HBO. Hamsterdam sure seems like a great place to visit!
Happily misspelledhaplily on June 4th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
Blockading people coming and going is different from decriminalizing non-violent illegal activity in one area. This is really disturbing.

But I loved the Hamsterdam experiment.
Ouijouij on June 4th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
It appears that washingtondc has struck Godwin's Law on the very first comment.

The comparison to Therezin is inapposite. The more appropriate analogue would probably be Clichy-sous-Bois, the focus of the French riots of 2005. There, the police tended to wall poor immigrants into their projects, seeing themselves as "containing" criminality within a certain zone.

Seems to me that Chief Lanier is trying to apply a kind of "inkspot" counter-insurgency tactic in terms of policing. I wonder, though, whether a slightly-altered version of Chief Lanier's plan might work: defining a "Safety Zone," but using Terry stops to search persons entering or exiting for weapons.

stemware on June 4th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
It would seem that causing Godwin's Law to be invoked should cause the thread to be immediately locked and the poster warned if not banned by the community.
rachel helenejigsawjazz on June 4th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
Agreed. To the OP: I'm behind you on the Cabrini Green comparison, but the concentration camp reference is way out of line.
Queen of Correspondence, Resident Celebrity, RCLmel21clc on June 4th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
I glad you agree with me on the Cabrini-Green stuff, but I respectfully disagree with the Jewish ghettos being different than this. Anytime an agency with authority starts restricting the comings and goings of a group of people based on some arbitrary trait, I think citizens have an obligation to point out the similarities to any historical events. If we let this get by us unchecked, then even more steps will be taken by people in a position of power to curtail the freedoms of those they deem dangerous or different. How is this not applicable to both situations (Jewish ghettos, what DC police have termed as "NSZ"s) except in terms of scale?
rachel helenejigsawjazz on June 4th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
Dude, this situation is appalling, and I'm not trying to trivialize it. But it's not GENOCIDE. Nobody is being systematically murdered by the government.
Queen of Correspondence, Resident Celebrity, RCLmel21clc on June 4th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
I'm not saying it's a concentration camp. This isn't Auschwitz; I know that. But putting police on the outside of a certain section of town and only allowing people with "legitimate business" to go into that section (with the police getting to determine what "legitimate" means at their individual discretion), requiring IDs and papers to be checked, etc.? Maybe next we'll have all the residents of the NSZs put a special badge on their clothes or their car so we can ID them as living there...

I think the two are worth comparing.
Ouijouij on June 4th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
I'm not saying it's a concentration camp. This isn't Auschwitz; I know that.

Yes, but you said it was Therezin.

I don't think the analogy is appropriate at all. I really can't see where you're drawing your slippery-slope argument from at all.
Carlazaydia on June 5th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
Therezin, for the record, was a transit camp for people on their way to Auchwitz...

That said, I think the OP probably meant to equate it to the Warsaw ghetto rather than Therezin.
Queen of Correspondence, Resident Celebrity, RCLmel21clc on June 5th, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you for taking the gist of the thing without deconstructing every word down to its most literal meaning.
Ouijouij on June 5th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
Please understand: I find your Holocaust analogy utterly inappropriate. You cited more appropriate examples in your own post: Cabrini Green and Clichy-sous-Bois. The Warsaw Ghetto (never mind Therezin) is simply a bridge too far.

If finding your analogy to the Holocaust inappropriate because it does not conform to the facts is "willful ignorance" or "deconstructing every word down to its most literal meaning," then I stand guilty as charged. The fact that you linked to a discussion of the 2005 riots in France does not make your Holocaust analogy any more appropriate.

I said it elsewhere on this thread: immediately analogizing to the Holocaust tends to blunt useful discussion on the merits and horribly trivializes the extent of the evil perpetrated by the Nazis and their sympathizers.
stemware on June 4th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
I can't think of a single rational person in my lifetime who would use the holocaust as an analogy for any other incident, real or imaginary. On the Internet in particular, bringing it up labels you as being completely tactless.
Queen of Correspondence, Resident Celebrity, RCLmel21clc on June 5th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
Ouji makes some good points. The comparison to Terezin/Theresienstadt might be fraught for a lot of readers, but certainly my links to France round out my comparison. Zaydia got the sense of what I was saying without immediately pouncing, which I’m thankful for.

Even if I am wrong, I find this comment extremely unhelpful to anyone here: I can't think of a single rational person in my lifetime who would use the holocaust as an analogy for any other incident, real or imaginary. On the Internet in particular, bringing it up labels you as being completely tactless. I was making a specific comment about the nature of ghettos -— one small component of the Holocaust, not the entire Holocaust itself. And real analogies to the Holocaust do exist (Rwanda, the Balkans, and the Armenian genocide, just to name a few), so there are many times that fair comparisons can be drawn.

So what is more tactless -- to raise an issue and attempt to put it in context, or to willfully misinterpret someone and insult them for your misinterpretation? I think the phrase "I can't think of a single rational person in my lifetime who would..." is as a reliable indicator of crappy Netiquette as any WWII reference. Way to go there, chief.
stemware on June 5th, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
And this is exactly why holocaust references are bad netiquette.
Ouijouij on June 5th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
I was making a specific comment about the nature of ghettos -— one small component of the Holocaust, not the entire Holocaust itself.

There is a qualitative difference between enforced ghettoization, as we saw in, say, the Warsaw Ghetto (or Apartheid-era Soweto, or, arguably, the situation that prevails in Gaza) and the type of police action proposed here. In an enforced ghettoization, the residents are forcibly confined to the "ghetto" and forbidden to leave it.

In the action proposed, people who happen to reside in a NSZ will be permitted to enter and leave as normal. Nor are they forbidden by law from residing in other places in the city. The police checkpoints will monitor the movement of non-residents into or out of the neighborhoods.

So on further reflection, the proposed plan is neither the Warsaw Ghetto nor is it Clichy-sous-Bois. In Clichy, the police limited their policing to the boundaries of the banlieues. There is nothing in any information we have to date that the polica re so limiting the scope of their activities to the boundaries of the NSZ's either.

As far as when we can draw a credible comparison between a given set of facts and the Holocaust, I tend to adopt the usual "Crimes-against-humanity" standard. There must be concerted, coercive state action directed at the annihilation of a defined group of persons who otherwise would be citizens of the same state. Srebrenice counts. NSZs do not.
Queen of Correspondence, Resident Celebrity, RCLmel21clc on June 4th, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)
I did link the last part of the sentence to the same Wiki article you have about the 2005 riots. Cabini-Green's in there, too.
Happily misspelledhaplily on June 4th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
For people whose family survived the Holocaust, it strikes a chord. Godwin's law doesn't mean these comparisons are never appropriate. Restricting movement of a certain group of people to certain spots and threatening arrest sounds alarmingly similar. Especially when the targeted groups are likely minorities.

We have the freedom to come and go freely in a city without being subject to arrest. This policy will be shut down. Or it will be softened. But you can't arrest someone for going into a bad neighborhood, and the police have no right to judge what explanation is good enough.
Ouijouij on June 4th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC)
I respectfully suggest that the reflex to identify everything with the Nazis dilutes the debate on the merits of the present plan and trivializes the extent of the evils perpetrated by the Nazis.

The difference between the contemplated "safe zone" plan and enforced Nazi ghettoization is that Nazi ghettoization was primarily intended to confine Jews. Unless I'm missing something, there seems to be no similar intent here. That is, it does not seem to me that the primary goal of the proposed policing plan is to confine residents within their own districts.

If you have an interest in seeing the policy fail, then you must attack it at the legislative stage--now. Legal challenges are going to be more difficult and less certain.

Big Johnporktruck on June 4th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
I just skimmed the article, but how does six officers checking ID equate to sealing off an entire neighborhood (or even a city block for that matter)?
(Deleted comment)
Queen of Correspondence, Resident Celebrity, RCLmel21clc on June 4th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
Bingo. How they think that there won't be community outrage is beyond me.

Also, if you're a criminal who specifically wants to get revenge (or whatever other reason you might have for purposefully shooting someone) in that neighborhood, and you know they're not stopping pedestrians, what's to stop you from just walking in?
Big Johnporktruck on June 4th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
They did this in my neighborhood back in 1989. It actually was good. Yes, it did remind you that you lived in a craphole, and I'd rather not have cops walking up and down my street all day and night, but the neighborhood improved...well, crime rate dropped anyway. But yeah, I'm sure the dealers and hookers were pissed.
Queen of Correspondence, Resident Celebrity, RCLmel21clc on June 4th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
"At least six officers will man cordons around those zones and demand identification from people coming in and out of them."

I took that to mean that each barricade would have six officers at it, not that there would only be six officers for all five neighborhoods.
Davidjuliandrago on June 4th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
my favorite
"i'm not worried about the constitutionality of it"
Ouijouij on June 4th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
Re: my favorite
Nor am I. See, e.g. Terry v. Ohio 392 U.S. 1 (1968).
Davidjuliandrago on June 4th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
you should check that again
all terry v. ohio says is that a police search of an individual can be conducted without probable cause for arrest. any police officers still have to provide reasonable cause for the search itself. so, once again, we're back to square one of arguing whether or not this entire neighborhood blockade is reasonable, and thus, whether or not it's constitutional.

not to mention that terry vs. ohio only sets precedent for the search of one person, on an individual basis, as part of an isolated incident. the systematic sealing of an entire neighborhood on grounds that many would say involves elements of racism and classism is a rather different breed of constitutional debate.
Ouijouij on June 4th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC)
Re: you should check that again
It's a question of characterization. The "blockade" is really a series of individual seizures and searches. I don't really see a functional difference between the "blockade" proposed and the mere increase of police presence and activity at any given point in the city.

I concede that a civil rights claim might arise if and only if the police were found to be acting in a systematic way to curtail or infringe the civil rights of a defined group of people. But the equal-protection challenge would be a tough one to mount.
Queen of Correspondence, Resident Celebrity, RCLmel21clc on June 4th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Re: my favorite
Mine too. I think that was pretty clear without it needing to be said.
caereala: DCcaereala on June 4th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
Well, that just ended my procrastination. The ACLU National Capital Area just received some money from me.
Dr. Leo Spacemanauxoriousrex on June 5th, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
I am a Jew and I'm here to defend!
Ashtart Tähtedeltzahdi on June 5th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)
... I'm wondering how the people living in these neighborhoods actually feel? I think I'd fel a little relieved that the police cared again.
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