NYC Mayor Asks Residents To Snitch On Social Distancing Violators, Gets Dick Pics And Hitler Memes Instead
from the socially-distance-THIS-yo dept
“See something, say something” but for the coronavirus. How could it possibly go wrong?
Everyone put your hands down. Of course we know how it could go wrong. Opening up the lines to callers never works. The DHS knows this, even if it chooses to ignore this. Years of “see something, say something” did nothing more than fill its data stores with reports from curtain twitchers about things their brown neighbors were doing and do-gooding randos calling in everyone they saw walking around with a camera.
The home to the most “every Muslim is a suspect” city in the US should have known better than to open up a snitch line to the public. But officials like Governor Andrew Cuomo have already shown they’re unable to fathom the concept of unintended consequences. Cuomo issued a mandate for mask-wearing in public while allowing an anti-mask law to run concurrently, inviting state law enforcement officers to engage in very selective enforcement.
Without a doubt, the state has a COVID problem. But doing dumb shit isn’t going to fix it. At best, it’s just going to tie up city resources.
Enter NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio. A city in the deep throes of a pandemic needs solid leadership. This isn’t it. This is only something that seems sort of useful until someone gives it a few seconds of thought.
On April 18, Mayor De Blasio took decisive action in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus:
If you see someone failing to practice social distancing, rat them out, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged Saturday as part of a new city effort to corral the coronavirus.
“We still know there’s some people who need to get the message. And that means sometimes making sure the enforcement is there to educate people and make clear we’ve got to have social distancing,” Hizzoner said in a video posted to Twitter
To do that, is “simple,” he explained.
Snap a photo of an offending person or crowd, set the location on the image, and text it to 311-692.
Photos of extended middle fingers, the mayor dropping the Staten Island groundhog and news coverage of him going to the gym have all been texted to a special tip line that de Blasio announced Saturday, according to screenshots posted on Twitter.
Believe it or not, that’s the better stuff. The government wanted the public to respond and respond the public did. Emphatically and obscenely.
An NYPD source said that “dick pic” photos of real penises have also been texted to 311, and a caller phoned in a tip that de Blasio was seen performing oral sex on someone “in an alleyway behind a 7-11” early Sunday.
Feeling any safer, New York? If you ask people to become informants, you’re going to have to sift through a lot of bullshit. If you ask people to report their neighbors for being in the proximity of other people, you’re going to get Hitler references and dick pics. And if you haven’t prepared for this inevitable eventuality, you’re going to have to cut off your access to the very small amount of genuine tips to clean out all the garbage you didn’t realized you’d asked for.
City Hall confirmed Tuesday that the 311 text line was shuttered to clear out a backlog of crank complaints on Sunday.
The solution isn’t a new tip line that’s going to quickly turn into an IRL 4Chan. The solution is to let existing systems handle the influx and hope for the best. Yes, too many people still use 911 and dispatch lines like all-purpose complaint boxes but asking New Yorkers to snitch on each other for being social was never going to work out well.
People are already feeling the encroachment of the government as the pandemic wears on. Asking residents to be part of the perceived problem is always going to result in little-a anarchy. Government officials never seem to understand most Americans think being a snitch is pretty much un-American. This is something we expect authoritarian nations to do: turn citizens against each other. We don’t care for it much in the Land of the Free. There will always be outliers willing to sell the person across the street out to the fuzz, but most Americans would rather let their fingers (or other appendages) fly when the government asks them to be unpaid informants.