April 29, 2004

Who guards the guardians?

Chinatown Says Police Parking Makes Its Streets Too Tight

This is a very old question, perhaps first asked in Latin: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" When the guardians, those people charged with the duties to protect you and to protect society, misbehave, to whom do you turn? Who is it who watches over the guardians? And then, of course, you are have to ask who is going to watch those who are watching the guardians?

It is my impression that the effects of 9/11 on NYC's Chinatown may not have received much in the way of national exposure. Chinatown got hurt badly. Chinatown's businesses and restaurants got clobbered as people stayed home. Those who tried to venture down there may have been deterred by travel restrictions and checkpoints. We are talking about people who were struggling to begin with. Now, if you take a peek at the article I linked to, it appears that the guardians are abusing their privileges, by parking where they shouldn't, and the people in Chinatown are taking it on the chin.

Basically, it works like this: Chinatown is congested; businesses need to have deliveries to stay in business so they have things to sell; the only street parking -- including loading zones -- appears to be taken up by police officers and corrections officers parking their private vehicles there. Result? Business getting hurt again. Remedy? Well, there is no easy remedy if the only people you can call to have cars towed won't tow the cars of their fellow officers. So, who guards these guardians?

The civil courts and the lawyers the merchants have hired. That is what the whole system of checks and balances is supposed to be about and the only way we've managed to answer the question. We don't give final authority to just one institution, just one guardian. All the guardians, in a sense, watch each other. Its not elegant, but it works most of the time in practice. But as one Frenchman once famously asked, yes, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?

post script: I know that the officers have no other place to park, that they are hard working joes (and janes) too, and that they are performing vital and critical functions. I support them and I thank them for their service. Indeed, after 9/11, I regularly thanked these guys in the streets in person. I just wish they'd take public transportation.

Posted by Random Penseur at April 29, 2004 07:58 AM

very interesting concept. Batman said it on the Justice League Unlimited. Maybe u gys should chek it out, but who ever goes on this site anyways. Well sumthin must be workin cuz i got here lol lol...nice goin guys ur all cool lol

Posted by: coolguy at July 4, 2005 10:00 PM
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