A couple of days ago someone sent me a link to the video clip above, shot in Baltimore, of a cop clearly abusing his power and harassing a 14 year old boy who had been skating in a park with his buddies. Apparently the kid, when first beckoned by the cop, didn't respond fast or respectfully enough, and that just ruffled the cop's feathers (especially at been called "dude"). He proceeded to curse out the kid, critique his upbringing, slap him, take his skateboard, and make what seem like threats on his life, saying how he could get "killed" if he continued behaving in this (as the cop says it) "disrespectful fashion."
Anyway, this particular YouTube clip in turn linked me to a never-ending thread of other "skaters versus cops" or "skater vs. rent-a-cop" themed videos, all of which had footage that pretty much repeated the same storyline of kids (usually teenaged boys) skating in places like vacant parking lots or streets/steps where "no skating" is allowed. And in nearly every case the tension level rose between the two sides: kids who just want to have fun and skate wherever they can (which means anywhere since few US towns & cities have adequate space assigned for skate parks) and cops or security guards telling them "you cannot skate here."
Of course in the battle between 14 year old skaters and cops with all that power (and often a low tolerance for what they perceive as back-chatter), guess who wins? Not the kids. Never the kids. In fact it seems there is a ongoing trend in Western society to first off provide few or no skate parks and other recreation areas & centers for teens to use, and then secondly when these same kids are out on the street or at the mall or other public place just trying to occupy themselves, authorities accuse them of loitering and then harass them into moving on. And if they don't move, they are arrested in order to get them in the system.
"If ever there was a device which highlighted the terrible way in
which young people are treated in society then this is it."
- John Loughton, Chair of Scottish Youth Parliament
Meanwhile over in Britain the war against kids is alive and well with the Mosquito or "teen tormentor" growing in popularity (with adults), with currently 3,500 devices used throughout Britain to disperse children and young people in areas such as parks, shopping centres and around shops.
The "teen tormentor" is a sound emitting gadget which exclusively and selectively targets/annoys young people by emitting a high-pitched sound which exploits young people's ability to hear very high frequencies, a power which declines once they reach their 20s, and which are placed at shopping malls and other places where kids gather.
But this week, word of a new campaign to ban these "ultrasonic weapons" arrived from the UK where several politicians and civic & youth leaders are joining in the "Buzz Off" campaign, launched earlier this week. Critics of the device and its inhumane use stress that it would not be tolerated for any other section of society and that young people have a right to assemble and socialise without being treated as criminals.
The Mosquito, invented by Howard Stapleton, has a range of between 15 and 20 metres, and makers claim teenagers usually move away from the area within eight to 10 minutes. Alternative deterrents include the so-called "Manilow Method," where opera, classical or unfashionable pop music is played. You know it's bad when even some coppers are against its use. Said a spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland: "Mosquitos ... are not the way to go. There are other ways of attending to young people and problems in the community."
It is some inhumane big-brother type abuse that reminds me of Alex in A Clockwork Orange (see below):