News: Mind Your Manners!

Mind Your Manners!

If you live in an urban environment, chances are that you've seen this:

Mind Your Manners!

It's a program started by the FBI to prevent terrorism and general thievery in peaceful and innocent communities all around America. I myself have seen a lot of these, and my previous apartment community was part of this 'program'.

At which point I got curious. How far does this really extend? What are the guidelines and things people are meant to look out for? What I found was quite disturbing. 

I searched the internet for some guidelines that people use in this 'wonderful, wonderful program', and I found this. I'm not fully sure that it's the official sheet or how recent it is, but it seems to be relevant. 

The form describes some history of the program and the guidelines and procedures that the police and normal citizens should use in this program. The things that they make you look for is just astounding; everything from cars to whether the persons teeth are missing must be reported.

Here are a few:

  • Pants and shoes
  • Complexion
  • Distinguishable walk or limp
  • Speech impediments/accent

These are very broad guidelines and if you see the guide, you notice that it just doesn't make sense. People innocent and 'evil' will easily fit into all those categories.

There was another thing I found very disturbing:

3. Educate your children in Crime Prevention and instill respect for the

Now that seems to cross the line, no? Instill (its actually underlined in the guide) respect for the police. Imagine parents instilling respect for the police to their kids. When they grow up, they may never question what the police might do to them, depending on how the parents teach. Instead, we must learn to respect ourselves and to stand up for ourselves, rather than learning to respect people who are ready to violate privacy laws. 

Jumana Musa sums this article up quite well:

"The problem with this program is that the behavior range of what can be reported is so broad that it just lends itself to discriminatory application," said Jumana Musa, deputy director of Rights Working Group, an advocacy group based in Washington. "When it comes to these innocuous activities, what people are reporting on is not necessarily the activity, but who is doing the activity."

Take a minute to read the form yourself and decide whether or not its actually helpful or more constrictive.

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