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September 17 2008

Fashion Police Are Real In Florida

It appears that if you live in the southeast Florida town of Riviera Beach, they truly do have the fashion police, and they aren’t kidding about it.

It seems that back in March the city passed a law banning “saggy” pants (you know, pants that hang so low on a guy that you can see their underwear) after 5,000 people signed a petition to get it on the ballot.  Well, according to this story by the AFP, a 17-year-old recently spent a night in jail due to his baggy pants.  Normally he would have faced a $150 fine or community service, but he had a history of marijuana use and was on probation. Yes, a “history”, not current possession, not on his body at this time, but a “history”, however, this still was a violation of his probation and he spent a night in jail for it.  Also, according to TheSmokingGun.com, if someone gets busted a second time for this style of pants wearing, they can face up to 30 days in jail.

Do you hear that thunking sound?  That would be my head hitting on the keyboard repeatedly.  I know, I know… it’s kinda hollow sounding.  Ha ha… you’re all so funny.

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is an incredibely stupid fashion, but fining people for it?  Locking them up for 30 days behind bars because they wore pants you didn’t like?  Can you imagine THAT conversation when you met your cell mate?

Inmate #1 So, what you in for?
Inmate #2 Suspicion of murder.  You?
Inmate #1 My pants were too low.
Inmate #2 Whatever bunk you want man, it’s yours, just don’t lower your pants!  I have… well, had… a wife and kids!

Luckily Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Paul Moyle is leaning towards ruling the law unconstitutional, which I don’t know if I would go quite that far, but I would certainly say the law is about as asinine as you can get.  Our court system is already taxed to its limits, our jails and prisons are over crowded, and now we’re going to clog up both of these systems with even more people based solely on their lack of fashion sense?

At one of the Palm Beach Post articles about this, there are also sorts of passionate posts about how this is leading to the downfall of decency in society, and how people know there are certain times and places for various clothing such as when to wear a bikini etc, and to these people I say they are paying little to no attention to their surroundings.

Mayor Thomas Masters says he stands by the law and gives a quote in the article linked, “I think the people have a right to set a standard of what’s decent and indecent exposure in their city. If you didn’t set a standard, then would it be constitutional for people to walk around in their underwear?”  Actually, yes.  Were you not around in the 1980’s for the Madonna craze?  Have you never been out to a club and seen a woman wearing a corset as a top?  Corsets are underwear technically, so it’s already happening.  Glad to see you’re actually aware of what goes on in the world there Mayor Masters.  Good job.

Seriously, if we allow people to start passing laws against the fashions they don’t like, where does it stop?  Can I finally get Crocs banned?  How about overweight women in tube tops?  Oh, I know… popped collars on frat boys!  Oh yeah, I’m getting my petitions ready as I type this out!

I’m all for keeping a sane society, and wanting to make sure that we live up to a certain level of common decency towards one another, but passing a law against a fashion you don’t care for is not the way to do it.  All you are doing is breeding further resentment amongst people.  Throwing a 17-year-old kid in jail for a “probation violation” over his pants being too low is not going to do a blasted thing to help this kid except to anger him more at society.  Good job, folks.  Real clear thinking there.

Some folks are trying to compare this to school uniforms, and how if those are okay, then this should be okay.  Are you kidding me?  How can you even possibly make this connection?  I’ve made it very clear that I support school uniforms, and given numerous reasons why, but it boils down to school is your job, and it is not outrageous to wear a uniform to work.  What you do on your own time is your own business is my thinking.

Think before you pass laws folks.  There was no way this needed to be a law, and all you are doing is messing up society more than helping it by making people even more resentful, taking up law enforcement’s time, filling up court rooms and using up even more space in our jails.  Really, good job folks… big thumbs up to you.



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