Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Steven Ivory: Stop Playing with These People!

Today, doing battle with 'crazy' requires imagination

One way to stop playing with these people is what's not allowed in Singapore: No Chewing Gum - GettyImages
No Chewing Gum – GettyImages

*In the Republic of Singapore, selling or importing chewing gum could get you a $100,000 fine and up to two years in prison. Welp! That’s one way to stop playing with these people.

No question, the Southeast Asian island country has some strange laws. In Singapore, failing to flush after using a public toilet carries a penalty. So does sauntering about naked in your own home (how authorities would know this is anyone’s guess).

Last I checked, at least one Singapore law was openly bigoted: Homosexuality is punishable by two years imprisonment.

However, Singapore’s mandate on chewing gum sales–legendary globally for its merciless, uncompromising severity–was designed to curtail its citizens from chewing the stuff.

It wasn’t always this way. Up until 1992, you could get your Wrigley, Chiclets, or Bazooka on anywhere in Singapore with no problem.

Chewing Gum & butt disposal - Depositphotos
Close-up of the bin for gums and cigarette butts on a lamp post in the City of London, London, UK. / via Depositphotos

But as they will, a few people ruined things for many.  Instead of disposing of their chewing gum responsibly, they’d stick it under chairs, tables, benches, bus seats, wherever. Random chewing gum defilement reached maddening proportions.

It wasn’t just the issue of cleanliness. The nasty vandals liked to plant their used gum on electronic sensors and assorted digital mechanisms to sabotage the operation of automated doors on elevators, buses, and trains.

Finally, an exasperated government said ENOUGH! and introduced its chewing gum sales edict. There are exceptions: With a prescription from a doctor, you can buy medicinal gum. Otherwise, your jones for Juicy Fruit could have you having a hard time in Singapore.

Extreme? No question. But extreme is all some people understand. “Time Out” is a concept that doesn’t work for every “Little Johnny.”  Sometimes, you have to stop playing with these people and open up a large can of organic, not-from-concentrate, new, and improved Playtime is over.

Take, for example, America’s current spate of in-flight violence. Airlines and the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) could clip the wings of this foolishness tomorrow.

Here’s how: Stop serving liquor during flights. Don’t even stock the stuff onboard. Anyone who can’t travel several hours on a plane without alcohol has bigger challenges than getting from point A to point B.

Ticket holders who show up intoxicated would not be permitted to board. As a rule, a bad attitude at the ticket counter could get you bumped from a flight. The FAA, via a massive multi-media public service campaign (like the one implemented by the National Safety Council in 1964 promoting car seat belt use) would make clear that any passenger who tosses so much as a stuffed toy during in-flight conflict will be jailed. Period.

Harsh? Not when hustling Dubble Bubble in Singapore can get you two years in the Big House. Not when onboard violence could send a 200-passenger airline plunging to its doom.

Or they could do this: Flights could feature four men the size of Duane “The Rock” Johnson.  Not Johnson the sleek movie star version, but back-in-the-day “can-you-smell-what-the-rock-is-cookin’” wrestling beast Johnson.

During even the slightest in-flight ruckus, two Rocks would hold the perpetrator while the other two would equip him or her with a custom self-opening parachute, helmet, and tracking device. Jettison their disruptive-ass Warner Brothers cartoon-style into the wild blue yonder. On the ground, the troublemaker is tracked by law enforcement and arrested.

Drunk driving, random street assaults, home invasion robberies, concertgoers throwing objects at entertainers onstage–it’s all outta hand. Yet arrested perpetrators are almost always immediately released. And the more these transgressions occur, the more they find a place in society. Consider: Today, we think nothing of a televised car chase.

Stop playing with these people. If there aren’t laws on the books with enough teeth to deter these acts, then it’s time we create laws that do.

I’m not calling for some totalitarian police state.  However, I also don’t know anyone—NOBODY—who thinks “defunding” the police is a great idea. If ever I have to call the police, I want them to arrive like the Calvary. The solution to better law enforcement is rehabilitation—re-training a city’s existing police force while raising the pay scale to attract a different kind of officer, one who understands the job is more than merely knocking heads but knows how to do so–knock heads, that is–responsibly.

A little imagination doesn’t hurt, either. One way to deal with the spate of smash-and-grab robberies: Have the city finance a couple of mock high-end retail stores replete with a pretentious moniker no one can pronounce—how about “Ahctog!”—and stock the stores with fake luxury goods overseen by “employees” garbed in tragically hip black.

Keep genuine customers out with signs at the location that say it’s a private, members-only joint—and wait.  A smash-and-grab crew is bound to hit the place in a couple of weeks.

While the gang is busy smashin’ and grabbin’, the store’s massive sliding glass doors discreetly close and lock. With the click of another switch, the store’s floor divides, and the gang falls into a huge five-foot pool of water occupied by hungry alligators. Store staff—actually undercover cops—collect the few villains who didn’t fall in.

The next day, the pool is drained, the gators are removed, and the arrested gangsters lucky enough not to fall in the day before are brought back to clean up the remnants of hoodies and sneakers on the pool floor.

By the way, Ahctog! spelled backward is Gotcha!

Sick? Absolutely. Not to mention immoral, inhumane, and financially prohibitive. At the risk of sounding like the Get-off-my-lawn guy, frustration sometimes gets the best of me. But we gotta do something. No longer is my disgust quelled by sauntering about my place blowing Dubble Bubble buck naked.

Steven Ivory
Steven Ivory

Steven Ivory, veteran journalist, essayist, and author, writes about popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio, TV, and the Internet. Respond to him via [email protected]

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: EURVideoNews: Smash & Grab Caught on Camera As Shop Owners Fight Back

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