We supposedly live in a free society. We tell people that adults are old enough to make decisions for themselves. Well, now our beloved city leaders seem to think that extending a curfew to encompass anyone under 21 is a good idea.
There are a few things our benevolent masters have failed to understand. One is that those between the ages of 18 and 21 are legally adults. The only thing they are unable to do is consume alcohol legally. However, Albany seeks to find something else, and it’s frankly ridiculous.
Violence is a problem. However, the solution shouldn’t be about taking away the freedom of citizens who have done nothing wrong. I understand the temptation, but it’s still wrong. Frankly, I think it will have a negative impact at events that this rule is supposed to protect.
First, let’s take a look at our servicemen and women. Many of them are under 21. We can trust them, right? However, they are going to be impacted under this rule. In fact, they may opt to not take part in Albany events. After all, what if the only people they know in town over 21 are senior personnel? Rules of fraternization in the military may make it difficult for young enlisted personnel to feel comfortable “hanging out” with a sergeant.
The problem, as commissioner Christopher Pike pointed out, rests in the fact that the Albany Police Department didn’t handle the crowd. I know the men and women in uniform work hard, but it just didn’t cut it on July 4th. That, ladies and gentlemen, is where we need to focus our efforts.
One of the problems with Albany is that we lose our young people. Our best and brightest “head for the hills” instead of staying in town. This isn’t a good thing, yet with more restrictions on young people, it’s only going to get worse. The idea that we should punish young people who have done nothing wrong – and that’s exactly what this is, whether city manager James Taylor realizes it or not – is a surefire way to speed up the exodus.
This community needs events, but we need them to be well attended and fun for the community. Children should definitely be with their parents, but adults? Is this honestly how we want to tell people that they’re trustworthy? A few bad apples – and that’s what this is about – should not cause us to throw out the whole barrel.
Let’s also face the facts that there are gang members who are over 21. If the idea is to curb gang violence, give it up. The gang members will just come out with older gang members and keep stirring up trouble. It will be, once again, the law abiding that pay the price.
It’s my most sincere hope that the commission decides to kill this insanely bad idea. I don’t hold out a lot of hope, but a man can dream. However, failure to kill this measure will ultimately kill a good bit of the good in Albany.