Vice Squad
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Naperville Considers Limiting Its Collective Punishment Law

On Friday we mentioned the town meeting that was to be held on Saturday in Naperville, Illinois, about their law that tickets non-drinking individuals under the age of 21 who are in the vicinity of underage drinkers. Show up at the door of a party to offer a safe ride home to your indulging friends, and pay the price. Well, the meeting has now been held, and it looks as if the majority sentiment is to use the collective punishment technique only for kids 17 and younger. Naturally, the current law has its supporters, who think that it saves lives. Perhaps they are even right, but so might throwing the non-drinkers caught in the presence of drinkers in prison for two years -- so that argument is not dispositive. (For that matter, why not fine everyone in the town if any underage person is caught drinking? Such a measure would essentially convert every citizen of Naperville into a deputy law enforcer!) The mayor is a proponent of the current law, but for him, it's not about logic, it seems:
Mayor George Pradel, a former police officer, has been a staunch supporter of the law.

"Maybe we should be the first in the country to have this ordinance and maybe we should be the leader," he said. "Maybe it won't be popular, but I know in my heart it will be right."
Many other people, though, have hearts that "know" that collective punishments are problematic.

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