Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Got nothing better to do on the lake today, Major?"

The title of this post comes from one of my favorite movies, "The Last of the Mohicans" (the 1992 version with Daniel Day-Lewis). (It's from the original version, I should clarify. The director's cut, sadly, removes it and other choice quotes.)

I originally saw this on Yahoo News and thought the price might be a typo, but checking around seems to validate it: An Iowa woman failed to return a library book valued at $13.95, and she's now been arrested.

Independence, Iowa, must be the safest place in the country. After all, if police can arrest a woman over a $13.95 book, there must be no greater crimes...right? And how many thousands of dollars will this cost to prosecute her?

So, "Got nothing better to do on the lake today, Major?"

Danny Vice has more, including Koontz's explanation that she's been so busy raising her two children and a new grandson. We all get busy sometimes and forget to return a library book, send a check, etc. But to be arrested over something that doesn't even arise to petty theft?

What puzzles me the most is that she paid a $250 bond. So why not the $13.95 for the book? Clearly she would have paid for the book instead of going to jail. People can be stupid in that they make a lot of errors, but people for the most part still act rationally in that they don't make systematic errors. Pay for or return this book, or go to jail -- which would a normal person choose? However, I can see some jack-booted thug refusing to accept $14 cash so he can arrest her, because he's behind on his quota (notice it's near the end of the month, too).

Tannerleah has a great response to Independence's local kommisar:
As Jesup Police Chief Rick Deitrick put it. "Theft is theft, no matter what it is". That’s right, Inspector Clouseau. If you are going to not return a book, you might have just as well stolen a Ferrari. It's all the same in the eyes of the law.



Blogger jk said...

Dammit, Perry! They have a public to protect!

Monday, January 26, 2009 12:05:00 PM  

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