Live from the Hometown Streets of a Fascists Paradise
A brain-piercing buzz sends the street lights into vibrating spasms, as Aden enters the familiar, distraught panic of ten o’clock. For reasons he and most others do not know, the onerous loudspeakers on the light posts drone on like a perpetual car wreck for a full four minutes, unapologetic for their gifts in causing hearing loss. The children of Aden’s street scurry into their homes as cockroaches do when the light flicks on, exposing them to Raid and stomping shoes. None would dare stay even half way into the auditory barbed wire, for “they” were already coming. Though this was certainly before his time, Aden knew how “they” were born. MADD, the schools, even the DMV, got that hideous ball rolling right to the mouths of the extremists, the paranoid. Not given cars like the straight police, these curfew enforcers patrolled in taxi yellow Fords that bore an appropriate resemblance to hearses. Aden had only seen their faces once; he considered this lucky. Another boy, Cutter, he thinks was his name, perhaps drunk on bravado or more literal substances, defied. Standing through the raucous buzz he waited, and when he saw the sunshine hearse he knew it was too late to turn back. He got to shouting the “p” in “fascist pigs” before Aden saw him fall to the ground, somehow able to hear the shot rip through the grating whine of the light posts. After that Aden only heard snippets of what happened to Cutter. “Oh, that Cludder character, I heard he’s being tried for crimes against humanity”, said one woman in idle chat with a little chuckle, “He was warned!” Aden didn’t think he even survived; “they” always finish what they start. No, what has just been accounted is not from a futuristic novel akin to 1984 or Harrison Bergeron, it is the chilling extreme that may and can be achieved through restrictive measures such as a mandatory community imposed curfew for teens. A mandatory community imposed curfew for teens is an oppressive, discriminatory, and bigoted measure to control an already heavily restricted age group and should be indisputably rejected as a local ordinance in any city or town.
Granted, teens may have the well-deserved reputation of acting in ill-advised or reckless manners; however, restricting the time in which they are allowed to be outside of their homes can only cause further damage to communities. Prohibiting teenagers from being out at night would merely transfer their bad behavior to daytime. For example, Martha loves taking her children on Friday nights to see a film at the local movie theater, Cinema City. However, since the new curfew for teens has been introduced, she has noticed an overflow of teens in front of the theater and in the parking lots, smoking, kissing, getting into drunken fights, and generally acting like horrid examples for her young, impressionable children. Rather than expose her kids to this, she simply stops toting them to their weekly outing at the movies. Martha, her children, and the economy, for God sakes, all suffer, while the teens, who the curfew is aimed at, do not. Needless to say, the curfew really accomplishes the opposite of its aim, and therefore, nothing beneficial at all. In addition, Noah and his friends, well aware that they cannot go out this or any Friday night because of the teen curfew, decide they will simply go out during the day. Though this would seem problematic as they are still in high school, which is in session on Fridays, it is not because Noah and his buddies decide to ditch. Consequently, they miss learning important concepts at school, cost the school the thirty five dollars per day they would have gotten for them attending, and lower the test scores of their entire establishment. As a result of their limitations, Noah and his posse, along with all the other ditchers, do real damage to the people around them, especially the school. If their high school ends up with bad scores, it could hurt every teen at that place’s chances of getting into a distinguished college. Lastly, Mary, who used to do extensive community service and boasted of her volunteering record at the community center, feels resentful. With the passing of the new curfew she vows never to step foot in there or any other community helping place again. The very people and establishment she used to do so much for discriminated against her for being young, and, in their hidebound aims show that they have no trust in her or any teen, no matter how wonderful any one may be. By restraining teenagers, the community only harbors young people’s resentment and condemnation of their towns and the people responsible for running them. Obviously, this does nothing to ameliorate teens’ already dwindling enthusiasm for community service. Though teens act irresponsibly, placing restraint on the periods that they may be outside offers no help in preventing the community from suffering from these behaviors.
Beyond causing damage to communities, a mandatory community imposed curfew would bring harm to the teens that the curfew is designed to protect. Limiting their free hours outside would merely cause them to rush home and get in vehicular accidents, or increase the dangerous nature of their activities with concealment. For instance, Matt’s stress and his pressure on the gas pedal increase in direct proportion as he races home, with only ten minutes to complete a twenty minute drive. Since the curfew legislation was passed, he would not only get into trouble with his parents, but face the police, even rotting in jail, if he were not home before ten. Turning a corner at just over eighty miles per hour, Matt does not notice the SUV that has slowed down until it is too late, and that yellow Hummer is the last thing he ever sees. A mandatory teen curfew only increases the odds as well as reasons for teens to drive recklessly and at excessive speeds. With the risk of legal repercussions, fearful teens may put their lives and the lives of other innocent people on the line to follow a frivolous law. Secondly, Anchoret and her best friend Carla found that the community imposed teen curfew is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Both seventeen and fed up with their repressive community, they decide to run away to the big city and start a new life. Turning out not to have made the best decision, times get rough and they find themselves nearly out on the streets. To make ends meet, both girls work two jobs each, Anchoret as an exotic dancer. Eventually both realize that moving to the city ruined their lives and innocence. Had the community not been so oppressive of teenagers, who cannot help their age, Anchoret and Carla may have stayed in their little town and even gone on to college. Saved from the degradation of being a stripper, Anchoret would not have the insecurities and pain of that shameful and deplorable past. Finally, wanting to outsmart the teen curfew, Rela and her friends roll out in her truck at nine thirty. Finding a secluded and remote place by a river, they stop, take out their Jagermeister and smokes, ‘funny’ and regular, and sit down for a good time. Before they know it the booze is gone and so is Brent. In a drunken stupor, Rela laughs, saying that maybe he needed to take a “piss”. Hours pass and they decide that Jason, who got the mouse’s share of the Jager, should go look for Brent. After a bit of poking around in the dark bushes and being petrified by a monster of a squirrel, Jason is about ready to give up when he notices an unmoving interruption in the moonlit shine of the slow, shallow river. Facedown, that cold lump is Brent. Though drinking underage and smoking may be imprudent acts on the part of the teenagers, their need to conceal their mere presence exacerbates the situation and puts them out of reach of any help. In addition, if any of them are to wander off, as Brent did, there is no one to see them and offer help or stoppage to their stupidity. A mandatory community imposed curfew for teens would serve only the backward and twisted purpose of hurting the teens it restricts.
As should have already been learned by the failures of Hitler, Stalin, and countless misguided others, repression is not a cure-all for any dilemma. Though, obviously, some laws are needed to prevent the development of chaos and anarchy, the oppressive control of citizens’ lives by any government is detrimental and an almost fail-safe guarantee of a backfire. For these and many other reasons, community imposed curfew for any group of people, with the exception of felons or sexual predators, is ludicrous as well as needless. Specifically when applied to teens, this restriction sends a message of distrust and projected inferiority of character to all teenagers, regardless of their merit. This confirmation only waters and gives sunlight to the seeds of thought in most teenagers’ heads that adults, especially legislators, have no confidence in them and would rather stay in their bigoted mindsets than even give them an opportunity to attest that they are more than just delinquents. Also, in addition to taking offense to oppressive measures such as curfew, teenagers may put themselves and others into peril by avoiding or even following the ridiculous restriction. Only serving as an “Amen” to their uselessness, these curfews realize the polar opposites of what they seek to achieve. Basically, in order to help the community be saved from the ill behavior of teenagers, these dealings subject more people to it. To protect teens, these dictatorial curfews furnish them with more danger and hate. As proved patently obvious here, a mandatory community imposed curfew for teens is an oppressive, discriminatory, and bigoted measure to control an already heavily restricted age group and should be indisputably rejected as a local ordinance in any city or town.