Pubdate: Tue, 16 Dec 1997
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Author: Thomas L. Munden

Harsh crackdowns on teen (tobacco) smokers
Like the sagacious lawmakers in enlightened harbors of social
concern such as Idaho, Florida, Texas and North Carolina, I
believe we permissive Californians should prosecute those
dastardly juvenile smoking of-fenders with no-nonsense
determination ("States crack down hard on underage smokers," Dec. 7).
In a nation already well on its way to hell in a handbasket, the
additional wear and tear on our social fabric by these villainous
youths sneaking a stogie behind the barn is incalculable.

Hence, let us be severe. Following the initial humiliation of
their arrests amid friends and neighbors, dutiful peace officers
armed with high-tech equipment should manacle these delinquents
and posthaste deliver them to the local booking desk. Since as
juveniles they lack Miranda privileges or the right to
representation and a single phone call, investigators may swiftly
strip-search, photograph and fingerprint the boys and girls and
transport them to the nearest juvenile hall.

After their convictions - a near certainty if we follow the
example of Gothenburg, Nob., and spend thousands of taxpayer
dollars on sophisticated camera surveillance equipment to record
such heinous crimes - we can ship the incorrigible s to juvenile
county work camps. Or better yet to the gladiator schools of the
California Youth Authority. That will teach them.

And the lesson they will learn -from law enforcement and the
criminal justice system, from their peers both in and out of the
juvenile penal process and from a society that cannot support,
protect or educate kids but will gladly sacrifice them on the
altar of adult puritanism - will be well reflected in your
headlines when they become adults.

Thomas L. Munden
San Francisco, CA