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Broken Fences, Broken Nation

by Steve Finefrock - Hollywood Forum [scriptwriter] 4/25/07

FROM THE PHONE BOOTH: The Smallest Space in  Hollywood
Rudy cleaned up NYC by mending broken windows, and his first-mate in crime-fighting tasks is succeeding in cleaning up LA. It’s time we applied it to our borders.
The “broken windows thesis” of crime control and general urban cleanup posits that you fix a broken window in an abandoned building in a prompt manner, otherwise the unattended vandalism sends a clear signal: No One Cares What You Do Here.  Thenceforth, more windows are broken and soon the building is totally trashed.  But, fix it the minute it has a single broken pane and the signal becomes, We’re Watching, We Care What You Do Here.


Founder of Hollywood Forum, a speaker-bureau and panel-discussion vehicle to "Bring the Potomac to the Palisades" on issues that overlap politics and culture with the Hollywood film-TV influence on such national concerns. His scripts have addressed politics [including a TV series pilot/bible package about state political combat, called "A State of the Union"], hazardous materials [from twelve years in emergency management, including six years managing FEMA's Superfund curriculum for hazmat], terrorism, equestrian reincarnation, serial murderer killing journalists in the nation's capitol, and fantasy about time-wasters. Finefrock is proprietor of PhoneBooth: The Smallest Space in  Hollywood... [go to Finefrock index]

Thus Chief Bratton of Los Angeles is cleaning up that pathetic town’s problems, as he helped Giuliani “fix” NYC, by arresting fare-jumpers in the subway, detaining graffiti artists, subduing the squeegee guys who were “merely” harassing drivers stuck in traffic.
And in the bargain, as a ‘bonus’ for these supposedly minor infractions being enforced the police stumbled upon many serious criminals with outstanding felony warrants.  The police found that rowdy dudes are often also serious criminals, so detaining them for “mere” fare-jumping lowered the public streets’ infection with really bad criminals.
Thence with illegal immigrants’ supposedly minor crimes being ignored by so many jurisdictions, offering ‘sanctuary’ to illegals, and dismissing their minor crimes.  The broken-windows thesis needs to be applied as a “broken fences” thesis: the British motto, Good fences make good neighbors, needs to apply here.  Arresting illegals for all crimes, and notifying immigration officials of the arrest, will snag serious criminals who have outstanding warrants for “serious” crimes of many categories.  
Thus, an illegal who’s not “serious” in his or her offenses will be ever-more-careful to not commit such infractions, for fear that the broken-fences law-enforcement doctrine might snag him, or involve him with a serious criminal who does do bad, serious things.
The temptation of an abandoned building for window-breakers is so universal, and unremarkable to even middle-class sentiments, that our erstwhile hero and heroine in Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” seal the hint of their budding romance by breaking windows of the abandoned mansion, for “good luck” and to grant a wish.  Mary Hatch wishes to snag George, and soon she does, and fixes up that very broken home to make her family. Nice, sweet, obedient Mary didn’t hesitate to break “just another window” in a house so long abandoned, even in that iconic town.
And so the temptation to look away from “minor” infractions by illegal aliens, for fear of being ‘racist’ – such as the now-famous rant on the issue between O’Reilly and Geraldo, as the latino loudmouth dismissed the drunk driver illegal who had “only three minor convictions” for drunk driving.  Geraldo dismissed the prior occasions to have detained the illegal, as “not felonies” – a point which might not make good with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who brand all public-driving drunkenness as felonious by its very nature.
We need to spread the broken-windows net to catch those who are leaking thru our broken-fences.  More fences, yes; but, it doesn’t stop there.  Giving a “Kings X” grant of immunity for violating ‘minor’ infractions is what led NYC to its deteriorated condition; enforcing even fare-jumping and squeegee-hustling led to the restoration of Times Square and other once-avoided enclaves in that major city.
The nation itself deserves as much.  Once an illegal violates a law, his or her “minor” violation should receive the sternest attention.  The Constitution requires all state officials to swear an oath to enforce and uphold it, which includes upholding and enforcing the laws made pursuant thereto.  If Times Square deserves a cleanup by applying “minor” laws to numerous scofflaws, so does the nation itself.
Until our broken-fences are fully mended, we need to apply Bratton and Rudy’s doctrine to illegal aliens, no matter how “minor” their infractions may be at the time.  For we must not give the implicit signal, We Care Not What You Do.  Not to our own citizens, or those who are illegally expecting special-treatment because they share Geraldo’s ethnic background.  Every crime needs enforcement, against citizens and illegals alike.  And even Mary Hatch should be arrested for breaking a window of property that is not hers to damage.
What’s good for Mary should be good for Maria. CRO

copyright 2007 Steve Finefrock





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