Friday, April 29, 2005
Another Excellent Piece of Vice Law Enforcement
Anyone who has been paying attention these past few years knows that the US is in the middle of a poker boom. (Vice Squad is of mixed minds about the whole phenomenon.) Bars and restaurants in many cities and states have begun hosting poker nights -- for instance, in the Philly area. These games have to be careful about how they charge for entrance and award prizes, lest they run afoul of anti-gambling laws; the precise boundaries of legality might be hard to discern. So what should a law enforcer do when he or she learns that a local restaurant is openly hosting poker nights? One possibility would be to chat with the owner, learn precisely what is taking place, and warn the owner to alter any features of the game that might violate the law. But where's the fun in that? Isn't it better to send in lots of officers with guns drawn and laser sights lighting up the heads of the 24 putative poker players you arrest?
The police chief of Palmer Lake, Colorado defended the choice of the guns-drawn approach, citing tradition. But sometimes drawn guns go off. Would it still be such a good idea if one of the alleged gamblers had been shot, or perhaps died of a heart attack?