I think most of us get infuriated by those videos we see of people calling the police on seemingly innocent goings on. Barbecue Becky being the most prominent example of the species. The idea seems to be that a group of minorities, usually black, are doing something that hurts absolutely no one and a busybody Karen swoops in to try and make them stop and will call the police over it.
Most people hate this crap because it’s absolutely stupid. Either it’s racially motivated, in which case it’s hatefully stupid, or it’s not in which it’s just garden-variety stupid.
Either way, though, the idea that someone making use of public facilities or otherwise going about a normal life is grounds for calling the police is beyond idiotic.
In San Francisco, though, they’ve decided it needs to be more than dumb. It needs to be criminal.
It may soon be illegal to make discriminatory, racially biased 911 calls in San Francisco.The “CAREN Act” (Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies) was introduced in July at a San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting by Supervisor Shamann Walton.The ordinance is one step closer to becoming a law. On Tuesday, the board unanimously passed the act on first read. Next week, the bill has to be voted on again by the board, and then it will be sent to Mayor London Breed to sign.The ordinance’s name is a twist on “Karen,” the name social media gives people making racially biased 911 calls.
Which, of course, sparked problems because of course it would. The term “Karen” has been described as “sexist.” They also claim it targets people named Karen.
Only in San Francisco, folks.
The ordinance is similar to the statewide AB 1550 bill introduced by California Assemblyman Rob Bonta, making it unlawful and accountable for a caller to “fabricate false racially biased emergency reports.”.“Using 911 as a tool for your prejudice towards marginalized communities is unjust and wrong!” Bonta tweeted.…Bonta said the intent of AB 1550 isn’t to discourage Californians in real danger from calling 911.
Except, that’s precisely what’s going to happen.
While white criminals won’t get much of a shield from this, minorities of any stripe will. As a result of facing potential criminal penalties, they’ll be able to engage in all kinds of suspicious activity and trust that many in the city will be too afraid to call the police for fear of appearing racist.
Plus, frankly, how are the going to determine if the call was racially motivated or just motivated by someone being a freaking moron? This is about trying to penalize what someone is thinking, rather than penalizing their actions.
Then again, penalizing these actions might not be the best course either.
See, while we often see the headlines of those who make…let’s call them “ill-advised 911 calls,” there are a plethora more cases of ordinary citizens seeing something that doesn’t look quite right. They call the police, who come out and investigate. If it’s nothing, well, nothing happens. If it is something, though, that’s a different matter.
We’re all safer when the police can prevent a crime, rather than respond to one. Early calls help the police to prevent those crimes. And especially in such an anti-gun state as California where having the means to defend yourself is so strongly discouraged.
Unfortunately, San Francisco has taken a minute quantity of calls, treated them like the biggest scourge out there, and passed a law to address it without really thinking about how this can impact legitimate concerns being addressed.
No one wants to be thought of as racist, after all, but now with penalties attached, things get dicey for many. It’s not enough to fear being labeled because of a valid concern–screw those who have invalid concerns–but now they could face sanctions because of those concerns simply because some else decided those concerns weren’t valid enough.
People are going to stop calling the police for anything short of a crime in progress. That’s not likely to help the crime rate there.
But, then again, it’s not supposed to. It’s supposed to signal that they’re all “good” people who hold the right opinions.