21st Century “Scarlet Letter”

Do you remember “The Scarlet Letter”?

The Scarlet Letter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Scarlet Letter (1850) is a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

The novel takes place in 17th-century Boston, Massachusetts during the summer, in a then Puritan village. A young woman, Hester Prynne, is led from the town prison with her infant daughter in her arms and on the breast of her gown “a rag of scarlet cloth” that “assumed the shape of a letter. It was the capital letter A”. The scarlet letter “A” represents the act of adultery that she has committed and it is to be a symbol of her sin – a badge of shame – for all to see.

Jump ahead to the 21st Century and real life, NOT a novel, presents us with an updated version using the premises of this well known novel:

Bill calls for special Louisiana licenses, plates for drug dealers

By Mike Hasten • Louisiana Gannett News • February 16, 2009

BATON ROUGE — If drug dealers want to stay in business after being arrested more than once, they should have to let the world know what they are, says a Lafayette lawmaker who says he’s tired of seeing drug deals and their effects in his neighborhood.

Rep. Rickey Hardy, D-Lafayette, has pre-filed HB11, which would require second-offense drug dealers to carry special driver’s licenses and put brightly colored license plates on their cars.

“I’m pushing for it to be bright orange,” said Hardy, who envisions that if dealers know they could face such a stigma, they might get out of the trade.

“Drugs destroy communities and destroy families,” he said.

“They lead to rape, murder, burglaries, drive-by shootings and the list goes on and on. We can no longer defend the drug dealers. We need to do something about them.”

Hardy said the intent of his bill is “to embarrass them. If they don’t want to be upstanding citizens, make them stand out. They want a badge of honor? Here it is.”

Copyright ©2009 The News Star

Read the FULL STORY here.

Now, before anyone asks me “what’s wrong with that?”, let me state that my first thought was YES!!! That lasted all of about 2 seconds before I realized the implications, and path this could take.

The article mentions about the wife who may have to also use the dealers’ car and the kids riding in it being stigmatized. The legislator’s response is that since they are benefiting from the dealers’ activities they can wear the same shame. What IF the wife doesn’t know he was dealing drugs to start with? Seriously, consider that a moment. And not for nothing, but I don’t think the sins of the father should be forced upon the innocent children (who have NO choice or control about who their parents are and what they do).

From here, you can see they could do the same thing with sex offenders, murderers, thieves, etc. Do you honestly think they will stop with drug dealers? There will always be someone out there trying to shame/stop someone else for/from doing something that mr/ms “I am perfect you need to live as I do” doesn’t like.

Before you know it, we all will be bearing the “mark of sin” for something or other.

Granted, drug dealers are the scum of the earth as far as I’m concerned. Yet I feel our government, and the puritanical nannies that never seem to disappear, helped fuel this problem. Personally, if they legalized this stuff, they could tax it. Think of the revenue THAT would bring in, not to mention the billions of dollars, of taxpayers’ money, that could be saved that are currently wasted on the failure known as the “war on drugs”. The enforcement people at the DEA could be put to better use fighting other crimes, helping protect our borders, maybe even working with the FDA to do the job they have trouble doing….protecting our food! There’d be no job loss if the DEA were disbanded, they could all be reassigned to other areas where good help is really needed.

So while part of me applauds this man’s gumption with this idea; a greater part of me sees the implications and where it could lead.

I also have to wonder, are all the problems in Louisiana taken care of that this man feels it wise to pursue this with taxpayer dollars?


~ by swfreedomlover on February 26, 2009.

2 Responses to “21st Century “Scarlet Letter””

  1. States are already doing this with drunk drivers. If you have one DUI, you get to keep your old license plates, but get a second one, and you get a special license plate that any law enforcement official will know, just by looking at it, that you have at least 2 DUIs on your record. And that applies to every vehicle you own or that your name is on the title of, including your teenager’s car and your wife’s car.

    License plate markings have proven effective in alerting police officers to cars owned by DWI offenders. In some jurisdictions, special plates, stickers or numbers are issued for a vehicle owned by a convicted drunk driver and constitute probable cause for stopping the vehicle. The special plates or stickers permit family members to continue to operate the vehicle that otherwise might have been impounded or had its registration suspended or revoked.
    Three states — Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio — issue special license plates to permit the use of the vehicle by family members of convicted DWI offenders (NHTSA January 2001). In Minnesota, upon arrest for DWI/DUI, license plates are impounded and disposed of. Special license plates may be issued so the vehicle can be operated by a family member with a valid driver’s license or by offenders who have a limited (restricted) license. These plates contain a special sequence of letters for drunk driving offenders. In 2000, Minnesota passed a law making it a separate crime for an offender to drive a vehicle without a special plate or for a person to knowingly allow a drunk driving offender to drive a vehicle without a special plate. The penalty for violation of this law is vehicle impoundment for one year.

    One of the men my husband works with got his 2nd DUI and has to have those plates put on every vehicle he owns, they even wanted those plates put on the truck he sold to us, that doesn’t run (no battery and no battery cables). We won’t be picking it up until the snow has melted and we don’t get any more (which in MN, could be the end of April).

    • I didn’t realize they were doing this already. I had heard about the ‘breathalyzers’ that MADD was pushing to be installed and I thought those were rude and bad enough. I understand the logic behind it, but again, the ramifications for the innocent in the family are unjustified in my book. For drunk driving just pull the damned license.

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