As if Chicago wasn’t already the poster child for big government, it continues to live up to that reputation with probably the most anti-liberty law a city can impose upon its people: curfews.
Faced with an escalating crime rate in the city of Chicago, and a police force that has been shrinking due to budget constraints, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has decided the best course of action would be to impose city-wide curfews on children to keep them out of danger. According to a local news station, Mr. Emanuel, along with Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, will also fine parents anywhere from $500 to $1,500 if they knowingly let their children stay out past the imposed curfew. The curfew rules will begin September 18th, where no child under the age 12 will be allowed on the streets unattended past 8:30 pm on weekdays and 9 pm on weekends. This is in addition to the existing laws that mandate kids between the ages of 12 and 16 can only stay out until 11 pm on weekends and 10:30 pm on weekdays.
The idea behind these curfews, which were started under the previous mayor Richard Daley, who is now President Obama’s Chief of Staff, is meant to prevent children from being victims of gang violence. Mr. Emanuel tried to justify the need for the curfew by saying that he is trying to align “good parenting and the laws of the city” to keep kids safe, and mentions how he grew up with a curfew as a child.
However, Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields disagrees with the law, calling the need for a curfew a “sad commentary on the society we live in”, and mentions how the recent layoffs in the police department will make the curfew unenforceable. The law is expected to be enforced by a police officer walking up to a child, asking him his age and reason for being out past curfew, and then make him go home. Exceptions will be granted if the child in question is just outside his house, or within an appropriate proximity to it.
While it isn’t a good idea for parents to let their children go out at night if they are as young as 10 or 11, it is the parents’ responsibility to keep them inside, not the police, not Mayor Emanuel. The city of Chicago’s idea of blending law enforcement with parenting is just another example of nanny-statism at its worst. We shouldn’t be surprised, though, that this is taking place in Chicago: The city that repeatedly tries to limit its citizens’ Second Amendment rights, and now wants to tell parents how to raise their children, and punishes children with a curfew law because the city can’t control its gangs.
Innocent children are being caught in the middle of something, and it’s more dangerous than even the most belligerent of street gangs.Published in