If people can eat delicious, savory schnitzels on the sidewalks of New York, the terrorists will have won.
[T]hey're kicking out the Schnitzel & Things truck from a spot at East 54th Street and Lexington Avenue because of…a terrorist threat? Schnitzel & Things Tweeted, "Dear all, we've been kicked out by cops because of complaints from citicorp. The reason they gave = 'we are a terrorist threat' Lol WTF????"
We spoke to Schnitzel & Things' Gene Voss who said that when the police first told him to move the truck, he showed that he was legally parked and permitted. The police also looked at his and his employees vending permits. The police left but returned saying that since the Citigroup Building is such a high-profile building (and possible terrorist target), the Citigroup could make a complaint citing a terrorist threat and cops were essentially empowered to make him leave.
I'm not sure whether Citigroup actually did complain about a rogue schnitzelmobile in its parking lot (according to Voss, Citigroup emloyees were hungrily devouring the terrrorist treats), in which case the cops were just following orders, or the cops were acting on their own initiative. That Gene Voss had to move his schnitzelmobile is just a symptom. It isn't the disease.
The disease is that we have passed so many laws, policies, and regulations, in the name of protecting ourselves from terrorists, that cops have the authority to order a harmless schnitzelwagon from a parking lot on the spurious grounds that it may constitute a terrorist threat. Worse, even when they don't have that authority, we have passed so many laws that the cops believe they do. We have given the police the impression that they have unbridled discretion, whether it's to arrest people for carrying cash, or simply for wearing silly t-shirts.
The police are the real victims here. They are victims of our fear. We have imposed such demands on them, through unneeded laws, that they feel compelled to exercise their authority, even against their better instincts. After all, who but an overworked, frightened policeman would actually want to evict a delicious schnitzel truck, or shoot a playful dog? Who would put himself up for ridicule on the internet, if he didn't believe the law compelled it?
In a genuine emergency, the policeman will sill have authority to order a schnitzel truck off the street. But in the absence of an emergency, it's time we did the policeman. the dogs, and the schnitzel trucks a favor. It's time we repealed a few laws, scaled back the security alerts, and took responsibility ourselves to beat up the terrrorists. Are we not men? Do we not wear belts?
Support your local policeman. Repeal an anti-terrorism law, or vote for someone who will. Do it for the schnitzels.
(Via my co-blogger Charles)