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Zero-tolerance policies

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2002 10:55 pm
by Kanaeda Kuonji
http://www.thisistrue.com/zt.html

The whole idea of zero-tolerance may be worth looking into for the cells. I fear, through the evidence presented in the article, that they may be getting out of hand.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 12:37 pm
by Silver Adept
If you'll excuse a bit of cynicism... Zero Tolerance was a decent idea for things like druken driving, (where it is law in my state) which is inherently stupid enough to deserve it. For things that actually require thought to decide on whether or not it was a criminal action or just an accident (like several of the school articles noted in teh above website), ZT is just idiotic. It never should have passed beyond the point of certainty.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 2:08 pm
by Kanaeda Kuonji
Silver Adept wrote:If you'll excuse a bit of cynicism... Zero Tolerance was a decent idea for things like druken driving, (where it is law in my state) which is inherently stupid enough to deserve it. For things that actually require thought to decide on whether or not it was a criminal action or just an accident (like several of the school articles noted in teh above website), ZT is just idiotic. It never should have passed beyond the point of certainty.


Agreed. Zero-tolerance within reason works fine by me. Sheer stupidity and recklessness should never be tolerated. But a test of reasonableness needs to be appleid in regards to this, and a lot of places that institute ZT policies don't bother with reason. That is why I am so strongly against such policies. Things like this need thought and reason to be implemented.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2002 8:58 pm
by Gaia_Shaman
Zero-tolerance is an informal falicy of reasoning...in particular, this one is reffered to as an accident. Essentially it means taking a general rule an applying it to a specific case where it may not necessarily hold true.


E.g.
A: It is illegal to kill people.
B: A father kills someone while attempting defend his family and any of the assailants potential future victims.
Ergo: The father has killed somebody and therefore commited a crime.

An example more specifically suited to zero-tolerance:
A: It is illegal to possess prohibited substances on school grounds.
B: Unknown substances are prohibited.
C: A child possesses an unknown form of candy.
Ergo: The child possesses an unknown and therefore prohibited substance hence breaking the rules.

Hmm...I know I was going somewhere with this. Oh, well. Im just too tired to remember what. Maybe Ill finish this tommorrow. (or would that be this afternoon) Anyways, signing out now[/i]

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2002 11:53 am
by Kanaeda Kuonji
Normal laws require that a test of reasonableness be used. Basically, it poses the question: "What would a reasonable person do given the circumstances?"

The law needs to stay that way, and the reasonableness test also, in addition to spitting in the face of ZT, provides fair reason for separation of Church and State.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:44 pm
by Kugyou no Tenshi
I know it's three years and some months later, but I just felt the need to speak up on this.

I can understand Zero Tolerance for things that are illegal (like SA's mention of drunk driving), especially when they take away a judge's ability to arbitrarily release a public threat back into the public (I've known of judges who have allowed people to keep their licenses after their <b>sixth</b> DUI). The major issue that I see (to agree in different words with most of you) is that Zero Tolerance policies are being applies in an overbroad manner, much as Gaia_Shaman pointed out. A student who points his finger (or, in a similar case, a chicken finger) at another student and says "Bang! Bang! You're dead!" is now "engaged in terrorist activity". People who object to this treatment are faced with the inexorcisable spectre of Columbine, asked the question "Do you want that to happen again?". This brings me to my own specific point of Zero Tolerance's fallacy - the Slippery Slope argument, coupled with an ad hominem attack. A few examples:

  • Allowing students to play "cops-and-robbers" at recess (or, some people say, even at home) will inevitably lead to school shootings. Those who wish to allow "kids to be kids" and play such games are advocates of violence.
  • Questioning drug policy indicates that the questioner is in favor of cocaine cartels, because the only outcome of legalizing, say, marijuana is that soon there will be crack stands next to our schools.
  • (Not directly related to ZT, but an example of the argument type) Parents who want to be able to send their children to a private school without having to subsidize an ineffective public school system are categorized as not caring about children, as the only possible outcome is that the public schools will eventually close, leaving children with only Our Lady of the Swift Ruler to attend.

This last argument is especially insidious because not only does it involve the slippery slope, it purposefully ignores any existing possibility that would steer away from the most undesireable outcome.

Thus we craft Zero Tolerance as an aegis against the possibility of the horrible consequences of free will and personal responsibility. What good does it do? As the author of the original article noted, none. The Zero Tolerance mindset is much like several Internet laws (including the much-hated Communications Decency Act of the late 90s). There exists a redundancy over the existing laws, in that the acts which Zero Tolerance is meant to protect against are already illegal. The policy only serves as a threat of "we're watching you"; the constant fear that one's words or actions could, at any moment, be misconstrued, accidentally or otherwise, for some prohibited behavior. We don't need Orwell's thought police, when Zero Tolerance makes people walk on the proverbial eggshells in every day life.

It's just a feel-good measure, to convince ourselves that were "doing something" about problems in the world. While people are killing and dying over plants and chemicals, or over a bad grade or an insult, Zero Tolerance sternly puts its hands on its hips and looks at you, wondering when you're going to slip up. To paraphrase the original author (and end my rant, which SA might agree I am somewhat known for elsewhere), those who commit crimes are punished under the law. Those who are thought to be capable of committing a crime by their words or actions are punished under Zero Tolerance.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:25 am
by Silver Adept
Ah, there we go. I just had to think for a moment, and I realized who it was.

I agree, certainly, that Zero Tolerance is used as an excuse not to think, and is often wielded as a weapon against the "undesirables" element of society. My perception is that the star quarterback is less likely to be suspended over Zero Tolerance meausres than, say, the bright poetry-writer who happens to like the look of long coats. This may be erroneous, but it seems to me that because of those slippery slope arguments ("You're either with us or with the terrorists"), things like ZT would likely be leveraged more against those people who are already considered a threat in one way or another. Which really defeats the purposes of "innocent until proven guilty".