Letter to the editor: Vigilantism and law enforcement

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I enjoy reading Cedric Lansangan’s articles in the Cougar Chronicle. The writing is crisp and fresh, and Cedric is not afraid to cut to the chase with his point of view. I felt I had to comment on his article regarding the CC Unit’s vigilantism.

Inclusion of law enforcement in vigilantism may be a wise course, but what I’ve seen over the last decade disturbs me. Law enforcement just isn’t interested in enforcing the law anymore. Murder, rape, and other high caliber crimes, sure, the police and sheriff departments respond immediately. But they do not actively pursue all the little crimes, the ones that drive hard working citizens out of their minds.

Use your cellphone while driving? Be my guest, said the highway patrolman. Blast your silly little Fast and Furious wannabe exhaust pipes in the parking structure so all the car alarms go off? After you, the campus police said to the jerk driving 35 miles an hour in between ramps. Cut out of a side street onto a main thoroughfare without even slowing or looking for cross traffic? Yes sir, said the San Diego County Sheriff. Blast your idiotic music at concert volume in a public place where dozens of people might be offended? Allow me to cone off an area for you, said the San Diego Police. Defecate in someone’s front yard, homeless person? Allow me to stand guard, said the Carlsbad police.

Believe me, I could go on. The fact is, there is no law enforcement in San Diego County. And you wonder why vigilantes try to take matters into their own hands? I’d like to sit with a solid group of people; students, faculty and staff, and talk about Ghost’s vigilantism, and about the CSUSM employee he caught red-handed soliciting what he believed was a thirteen-year-old boy. I’ve seen the video. I know students who are extremely uncomfortable with that employee ever setting foot on our campus again. Petitions have been circulated. Students have signed them. But I will withhold judgment, because like Cedric, I too believe in due process.

My vigilantism will be no more dangerous than chucking paint filled balloons at cars driven by people completely engrossed in their cell phone conversations. But here’s the deal. We all live our lives with a certain degree of impotence, the definition of which is, “inability to take effective action; helplessness.” And it’s getting worse, a lot worse.

Society and law enforcement should start paying attention to the little things, those violations that drive people nuts. Every day of their lives.

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