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Saggy Pants and Crushed Cars: Justice for Some

Saggy Pants and Crushed Cars: Justice for Some

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2010

As much as I hate to admit it, a teenager's right to wear his pants below his butt are protected by the First Amendment.

Bronx fashion accident, Julio Martinez, was recently given a ticket by a cop for disorderly conduct, for having "his pants down below his buttocks exposing underwear [and] potentially showing private parts."

But, according to a New York Post story, Bronx judge Ruben Franco threw out the ticket, saying that "the Constitution still leaves some opportunity for people to be foolish if they so desire. Stupid Constitution." (I made that last part up. He didn't say that.)

"While most of us may consider it distasteful, and indeed foolish, to wear one's pants so low as to expose the underwear . . . people can dress as they please, wear anything, so long as they do not offend public order and decency," Judge Franco wrote in his findings.

I always try to be a live and let live person. I don't make judgments about people who have large holes stretched into their ears. I support people who get extensive, colorful body art. And I am completely unfazed by people who have piercings all over their body.

Similarly, I always support the First Amendment, even when it means I have to put up with some of the most idiotic, heinous, and reprehensible speech ever, even certain white board scribbling, overly-prone-to-weeping hate mongers on cable TV.

But wearing one's pants below your butt is just plain. . . asinine. Whenever I see anyone wearing low riders, my temptation is to yank their pants up well beyond their waist, and fasten them with a belt, duct tape, or a staple gun.

My younger brother used to wear his pants low rider style, and I would very helpfully yank them up so he wouldn't accidentally be wrestled to the ground and shown the errors of his ways. Sometimes he would let his pants slip back down, so I had to show him that teachable moment, but our mom usually made us stop and said he was free to wear his pants as stupidly as he wanted. (I made that last part up. She didn't actually say that, but that's how I choose to remember it.)

Some cities and towns around the country have banned this fashion fatheadedness from wandering their streets, but it's still pervasive throughout the country.

Still, when it comes to public annoyances, I like the approach Australia is taking. They're crushing cars as part of a new anti-hoon law.

According to Wikipedia, a hoon is an Aussie term for a "young person who engages in loutish, anti-social behaviour." (You can tell it's an Aussie term because of the extra 'u' in 'behaviour.') It's also a term for driving recklessly or dangerously fast. So, a hoon can hoon Down Under.

This past week, the Australian city of Dandenong, Victoria, crushed their first car in order to demonstrate their new anti-hoon laws.

According to the Victoria Herald Sun website, a white Holden Commodore belonging to a 22-year-old "serial hoon" had been impounded by the police for a third and final time. And thanks to the new laws, the police were allowed to crush the car.

The unnamed hoon's car had been impounded three times for hooning: two burnouts and once for high-speed driving. Each time, police impounded the car under the new laws: first time offenders will have their car impounded for seven days, and second-timers for 28 days. But in Dandenong, it's three strikes and you're crushed, hoon boy.

Police Minister Bob Cameron told the Victoria Herald Sun, "(a)s the car does not meet Victoria's resale safety standards and is owned outright by the driver, it was used by SES volunteers to practise their road rescue skills before being crushed. And I farted in the driver's seat." (I made that last part up too.)

Deputy Police Commissioner Ken Lay (not that Ken Lay) said that cars that met the safety standards would be sold, rather than crushed. However, hoons are not allowed to buy back their own cars, so neener neener neener.

I hope the towns that have already banned low rider pants will adopt a similar three strikes law. While I'm not actually advocating crushing violators, I think they should adopt a similar system of impounding: first-time violators have to wear tan polyester slacks for a week, second-timers have to wear white jeans for a month. And three-time offenders should have their jeans shredded in a public setting, and then be forced to wear too-short plaid 1970s pants for an entire year. With a white belt.

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