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THE DEFAMING ARTICLE on the ACLU (“Taking Liberties,” 2/2) made some unbelievably simple-minded comments about the duty of the ACLU and its contributions to our individual liberties. Particularly disturbing was the paper’s take on the ACLU’s position in regards to the D.C. curfew law. It is illogical and irrational to believe that the D.C. curfew law will prevent criminals, regardless of age, from roaming the streets late at night. Regardless of Arthur Spitzer’s “lack of real-life experience” in rearing children, common sense tells us that a minor who walks around toting a gun illegally, selling drugs, and/or being involved in drive-bys, is not going to adhere to a curfew law. It is not a deterrent.
There will be so many ways for juvenile offenders to get around a curfew law. City curfews cannot prevent crime. By placing restrictions on those who are not committing the crimes, it takes away liberties of those law-abiding individuals while doing nothing to actually prevent the crime that is going on around us everyday. The D.C. lawmakers need to understand that, although trying to find ways to keep our kids safe is a positive thing, finding effective ways is what is going to help this city and its youth. Lawmakers need to look into possibly implementing programs which will keep kids off the streets by keeping them active in better curricular or extracurricular activities. Telling kids they must be inside the house by a certain hour because other people are committing crimes doesn’t keep the juvenile criminals off the streets. Spitzer and the ACLU are not preventing safety on our city streets. The lawmakers trying to find a “quick fix” solution in this matter are “taking liberties” while accomplishing nothing. Historically, the ACLU has championed in the area of civil liberties and must continue to do so in order to secure the kind of free society we live in today. It has not created, nor does it promote, the ills of society and should never be blamed for doing so.
A concerned D.C. citizen and a card-carrying member of the ACLU,