Cops Create Moral Hazard

Now that everyone’s been canceled for hate speech, even moderate opinions feel extremist. Julian Assange’s extradition is a crime against humanity, I might think, quickly followed by Shut up stupid brain, stop being so crazy!

Last week, intrepid investigative journalists discovered that predictive policing software disproportionately targets… exactly whom you’d expect.

The woke conclusion is that software is racist. But we’ve all seen the looting videos on Twitter, and the perps seem to sport a year-round tan.

Maybe it’s the laws that are racist. How come Purdue can peddle Oxycontin but I can’t deal crack cocaine? Why is it against the law to snatch a purse, yet perfectly legal for a cop to do the same under civil asset forfeiture? Why does the Chicago Board get to run a global gambling desk while Porgy and Bess can’t even shoot craps on their front porch?

Aside from racism, larceny laws create a huge moral hazard. I know that leaving a parked car in San Francisco is an invitation to smash-and-grab, yet here’s Louis Vuitton with a plate glass storefront, luxury goods on full display. What’s Fendi relying on for security — Societal norms? Starfleet force field?

Some years ago, a family friend had her little dog eaten by a coyote. Really traumatic experience, I’m sure. She feared her other dog was next, and begged The Department of Fish & Game to Do Something. The Department was unsurprisingly useless, as government agencies tend to be. The coyotes were here first, the wildlife officer said. They’re just trying to survive. You are responsible for securing your animals.

That’s what I think of when I see the CEO of Neiman Marcus petitioning Congress to do something about shoplifters. How bout some responsible risk management?

It wasn’t always like this. Look at old timey photos of people shopping. They’re puttin’ on the ritz just to go to Safeway. Back in the olden days, stores were private businesses enforcing private rules on private property, and could ban customers for any reason. Kinda like Twitter does today. Fancy clothes were necessary to ensure admission, a demonstration of spending ability. Then the Civil Rights Act came along and entitled everyone to full and equal accommodations, private property be damned. Proprietors put up signs declaring the right to refuse service – wishful thinking. That’s not how laws work, bigot.

This is where Amazon Go is the future. You know, those creepy automated grocery stores full of surveillance cameras. Amazon’s competitive advantage isn’t the cameras; it’s the fact that customers can’t enter the store without an Amazon Prime account. Instantly filter out the riffraff.

Every store needs to do this. Starbucks wouldn’t need to worry about derelicts shooting up in the bathroom if a loaded Starbucks card was required before entry. Nordstrom wouldn’t look like this if customers were required to have a minimum line of credit. Defund the police and bring back our Freedom of Association rights. One can hope, anyway.

7 thoughts on “Cops Create Moral Hazard

  1. Elaine — Where have you been? Haven’t seen anything from you in months. welcome back with your interesting commentary.

      1. The Internet does not “totally suck,” but selectivity becomes ever more important. Have to learn sources to trust — usually, and then experiment a little. Some great reporters/commentators such as Taibbi and Greenwalld have moved to Substack., perhaps charge too much for most people, but are able to earn a decent living..

        After being selective, experiment a little with new sources, sometimes for necessary laughs in these difficult times.

        1. I like Taibbi and Greenwald and their subscriptions are well worth the cost. Still, I have to limit my intake because they just serve as a constant reminder that the world is run by evil idiots — the fact that Taibbi/Greenwald/etc been pushed to dark corners serves as proof that society is screwed. It’d be funny if I felt like the ship will eventually right itself, but I don’t so it’s depressing. Is there still a case for optimism anywhere? I suppose it’s all very funny if I try to read from the perspective of, say, Afghanistan. ha, ha, ha.

  2. > it’s the fact that customers can’t enter the store without an Amazon Prime account. Instantly filter out the riffraff.

    This is exactly why Costco requires membership.

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