Monday, March 22, 2010

What Congress Should Legislate Next

Now that we've gotten health care reform out of the way, I hereby propose a new broad-sweeping piece of legislation for Congress and the Senate to enact into law as soon as humanly possible. 

It is time for someone to figure out exactly how the hell to legislate common sense. 

They say it can't be done, that it is impossible to legislate morality and common sense, but after last night, anything is possible.  This, I believe, is more than doable.  Make no mistake, not passing the comprehensive Common Sense Reform Act of 2010 will result in an even greater downturn of our country.

Maybe it's me, but this morning brings all kinds of news stories to my airwaves, prompting my reaction of what the hell were they thinking?  And I'm not even talking about health care reform -  although the member of Congress who yelled "baby killer" on the House floor would certainly fall into that category.  (Does anyone know where Joe "You Lie!" Wilson was?)

We have reports here in Philadelphia of a "flash mob" of thousands of teens and young adults (and I'm sorry, but judging from the photos of some of these folks, they look a lot older than "young adult.") descending upon South Street.  Just, you know, because.  Now, for those non-Philly natives, South Street is a funky area of town comprised of restaurants, shops, and clubs.  It's an experience, usually one that is a pleasant and fun, especially on a warm spring night, as Saturday was in these parts.  But really, what are people thinking that makes them cause havoc and mayhem to an entire section of a city and scaring the bejeebers out of people? (These sorts of flash mob episodes are becoming epidemic in my city of ruins, by the way.)

Similarly, across the river in South Jersey, we have a 16-year old who picked up one of the public-address systems in Walmart and calmly ordered all "black people" to immediately leave the storeWhat was he thinking?

And this morning, reports of a drive-by shooting in Philadelphia - this because the shooter (Driver A) was allegedly annoyed that Driver B would not let him into traffic.  Driver B was following her friend to the expressway, which is tricky to find in that part of town in the dead of night.  What was Driver A thinking?

These things are true crimes, yes.  But they are accompanied by even more and more head-scratching incidents, ones that don't (yet) have any crime or apparent breakage of the law attached. Those are the ones that I believe need the protection of some strong, unanimous, bi-partisan legislation.

We need to be protected from people like the ones above, absolutely, but we also need to be protected from the likes of people who need a sign on one of our area's major highways that advises:  FENDER BENDER? MOVE VEHICLES OUT OF TRAVEL LANES.  Swear to God, this is brand new ... I saw it this morning.  Really?  People need to be told this?  It's really kind of infuriating, in a way, that my tax dollars had to be spent on the very creation of such a sign to ... well, try to communicate some common sense. 

Shortly after seeing that, I pulled into the drive-thru of my Dunkin' Donuts, only to see the woman in the car ahead of me hand my Dunkin' Donuts Lady a bag of trash from her car. 

"Did she just hand you her trash?" I said, incredulously.  Dunkin' Donuts Lady nodded. 

"People," she sighed. 

"What the hell was she thinking?" I said, incredulously, this blog post already half-written in my head.

And I won't even go into this weekend's main source of frustration for me - well, OK, maybe I will - that of a mob of kids at the park/playground in my development.  Betty and I walked down to the playground, a mere quarter mile from our house, only to find - once again - a group of ne'er do wells of teens literally hanging on the slides and monkey bars. 

Now, they weren't doing anything ... except behaving in uncouth ways, talking of things I can't type on this blog for fear of the hits such questionable verbiage will produce.  Quite simply, I was uncomfortable being around them and from the looks exchanged with several other parents, I wasn't alone. 

There's a skate park area of this park, specifically for the teenage population, so there is no justification for these kids climbingrunningjumpinghanging on the same playground equipment as toddlers. We wouldn't put a 14 year old in the same classroom as a preschooler, so why is this any different? This happens all the freaking time at this playground, and once again, I felt I had no choice to leave the park because of these kids' behavior and conduct. 

Because really, what other recourse did I have? Tell them to stop talking about such gross and explicit topics in front of my 8 year old? What, and be met by, at best, nah-nah-nah-nah-nah declarations of free speech or, at worse, the barrel of a gun and a group of adult bystanders there with their kids all too ready to look the other way and do nothing as I would hypothetically be beaten to a pulp in front of my child?

There's nothing I can do about this except watch the housing prices of the homes directly facing said playground plummet by another hundred thousand dollars.  If I contact our town's Mayor and tell him I'd like a refund of my tax dollars for the slide in the park that I built that my kids cannot use now because a 17 year old is running up and down on it, he'll probably tell me that the State Police patrol regularly but other than that, it's out of his hands. If I write an op-ed to my local paper, nothing will happen. 

Because nothing can.  Because they're not doing anything except being idiots.  They're not thinking

And that fact that so many of us aren't, that is why we need protection in the form of a law. That is why we need the comprehensive, bi-partisan, Common Sense Reform Act of 2010 enacted immediately. 

Photo taken of the playground scene referenced above. Notice the little girl (not mine) trying to climb up.  She made it, but the kids barely let her pass and go down the slide before THEY took their turn. That's not right.  Clearly, I've turned into an old fart when stuff like this drives me nuts.  (Then again, I was an old fart when I was born.)
copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

1 comment:

Traci said...

Seriously! All of this was thought out before you got to the Dunkin Donuts. LOL. I love this post.

I want a draft of that Common Sense Act asap :)

I am missing all things Philadelphia right now. I even picked up Philly Fiction. But this blog is soothing.