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Cracking Down On College

A recent article explained, “Tempe kicks off ‘Safe and Sober’ campaign but without ASU.” The emphasis is mine, but it doesn’t really need it. What were you thinking, ASU? Do you have a problem with safety? Sobriety?

The gist of the article is that people visiting Tempe last weekend were going to see a massive police presence as officers from nine agencies teamed up for the “Safe and Sober” campaign, something that as near as I can tell is intended to violate the constitutional rights of hundreds of innocent people in a valiant effort to make college suck. Shamefully, ASU police did not participate. Tsk, tsk.

Another article lays out the stats:

Total stops: 1,812
Total citations: 919
Total arrests: 486
Arrests for minors in possession of alcohol: 208
Total DUI arrests: 85
Calls for loud parties: 68
Nuisance notices: 26
Minors, under the age of 18, in possession of alcohol: 14
Party notices with minors in possession of alcohol: 11
Average blood-alcohol level for DUI suspects: .136

You have to hand it to them; they said they’d be turning Tempe into a police state, and they lived up to their word. Numbers don’t lie. Those lazy ASU cops missed out, though, instead focusing on things that occur at places like residential halls, which are actually on the campus they’re supposed to protect and serve. ASU sure did drop the ball, huh?

One dedicated Tempe police sergeant, Michael Pooley, summed up the point of the campaign as follows:

We want them to have a good time, we want them to go to school, but we want them to be responsible.

You see, that Sergeant Pooley really gets it. He wants the tens of thousands of fun-loving ASU kids who flock to Tempe each year to have fun. They’re adults who can serve in the military and be charged with a felony for having sex with their slightly-younger significant others. They still can’t drink, though, and Tempe is gonna be filled with undercover cops making sure of that. These same newly-minted adults were also recently kids whose parents were reminded daily by billboard and television ads not to give them alcohol and teach them first hand about responsible drinking. Instead, they were all repressed and misled about alcohol then released from home to attend a humongous school with the kind of party scene that’s inspired movies that have defined the college experience in film and in real life nearly every generation for several decades. Sergeant Pooley and nine powerful agencies will change history right now, though. They’ll stop those darn coeds from drinking.

Nevermind that Sergeant Pooley probably drank his ass off in college if he went. Nevermind that his parents probably drank their asses off in college if they went. Nevermind that when Johannes Brahms wrote his Academic Festival Overture for the university that awarded him an honorary doctorate, he concluded with the theme of an ancient beer-drinking song. That’s not the kind of college Sergeant Pooley wants. It’s not the kind of college Tempe wants. Tempe is filled with hypocrites, it would seem, and nine agencies gathered together to do the enforcing. Keggers will be a thing of yesteryear, for sure; Book of Mormon reading parties and weekend-long study binges will be the new normal now.

Sadly, the stats are more disturbing than the idiotic idea that messing with a couple hundred students is going to do anything other than drive drinking underground. Out of 1,812 stops, only 919 resulted in citations. The way I read it, that means 893 people, almost half, didn’t even do anything worthy of a ticket. Why on earth did police stop them, then? I’ve already heard stories about officers stopping people at random. I’ve heard people describe Tempe as one giant rolling DUI checkpoint. Sounds like the sort of place where I want to have a good time. How about you?

Even worse, out of those 1,812 stops and 919 citations, there were only 85 DUI arrests. That’s only nine percent of the people they cited and less than five percent of the people they stopped. If cops from nine agencies hadn’t wasted their precious time stopping 893 people just for kicks and who knows how many others for stupid little things like cracked windshields or overly-tinted windows, how many dangerous drunk drivers could they have stopped elsewhere? At least there were 208 arrests for minors in possession of alcohol, though; those 208 kids will sure learn their lessons when their parents hire a lawyer or they show up on their own and get the case dismissed after taking a class about how alcohol is bad. They’ll get it then, mmkay? They’ll finally understand that only in a year or two or three will it be okay for them to get their drink on, because it’s science and shit that twenty-one is that magic age when you don’t burst into flames and rot in hell or at least jail for trying to have a beer or two with some friends.

Tempe is a great place to live and work, but looking at the numbers, the “Safe and Sober” campaign certainly doesn’t make me feel any safer. It doesn’t make being sober like the totalitarian hypocrites who made it happen want seem all that appealing either. Thinking about all those cops ignoring real crimes to harass a few college kids is depressing. What’s worse is the thought that operation “Safe and Sober” is as good as a poll showing most people in my community would vote to replace the Fourth Amendment with a right to have hordes of armed and uniformed men and women enforcing laws about minor in possession and consumption of alcohol on those of us under twenty-one. Who cares about rights when our kids, even our grown kids, are involved?

I suppose I’m being too hard on Tempe. If we’re going to crack down on college, we can’t expect ourselves to be that smart.

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4 Responses to "Cracking Down On College"

  1. Jason Ryan says:

    Great article, completely agree.

    Anyone hear about the incident on Mill and University in which a cop was so threatened by a dude with a box cutter that he had to shoot three rounds in his chest at point blank range? The only way this is going to stop is if citizens get together and demand it stop. I plan to go to Tempe City Council this month to start work on bringing down the Tempe police state.

    Who’s with me?! E-mail me at jason at psychicflyingmonkey.com (sub @ for at) and let’s do this!

    Jason Ryan
    Tempe, Arizona

  2. Andrew B says:

    Perhaps our classmate on the Tempe City Council can do something about this madness….

    1. Matt Brown says:

      Except that he posted a link to it himself and immediately deleted at least one comment criticizing the campaign.

      1. Andrew (the other one) says:

        There are so many life lessons here.

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