Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Caught with our Pants Down Again

Flint has a faultless way of getting into the news -- usually for dumb, embarrassing or damaging reasons. Today is no exception -- in the "fall out," so to speak from Flint Police Chief David Dicks' recent saggy pants ultimatum (see my July 11 post) -- the LA Times actually ran an editorial on the silliness. Link

Here's the first paragraph:

Flint, Mich., has run out of crime. There are no statistics to prove this assertion, but it must be true. Only the total absence of lawbreaking can explain why the police department has turned to fashion enforcement. Flint, best known as the hard-luck, gritty town featured in Michael Moore's documentary "Roger and Me," is being mocked across the globe for its police chief's decision to arrest and ticket the wearers of sagging pants."

I don't know why I feel a slight impulse to defend him, but I'm yielding to the urge to mention that Dicks' own son was shot to death on the very same day he was installed as police chief this spring. I'm not sure if that excuses his irrationality, but it correlates with it.

Anyway, for decades now, the city of Flint seems to be suffering from a collective head injury, as if major brain trauma is the result of the weapon of mental destruction known as General Motors. I keep going back to Arnold Seligman's theory of learned helplessness. Flint is the shocked dog that doesn't realize the lid's been lifted off the cage.


Krista said...

Really, can you blame the rest of the world for mocking this decision? It's hard to justify baggy pants as a form of indecent exposure when a visit to the beach will show you a great deal more flesh.

As annoying as I find the baggy pants myself, I don't like the idea of our law enforcement officers wasting their time on fashion crimes when real crimes - sometimes violent crimes - are being perpetrated in this city.

Macy Swain said...

No, I absolutely do NOT blame the rest of the world for mocking this decision. It's stupid! Flint has sabotaged its own possibilities for a rejuvenated reputation time after time. Too much lead in the water?

One good thing about it is the Genesee County Land Bank, which is doing a stupendous job, in my view. Oh, yah, and that UM outpost where a few of us work -- what's it called again?

And, of course, the Flint River. Which for all its travails, is still damn pretty sometimes when you cross the pedestrian bridge between French Hall and the White Building.