Criminalizing Being a Teenager

You know, I do get it. Kids are obnoxious. Mr. A and I once looked at an apartment not too far from our local high school, and at the time school had just let out and crowds of students were walking past shrieking and yelling to each other and on their phones and such (with their long hair and their rock music) and we both looked at each other and said, erm, no.

(Then we moved next door to crackheads, and I think sometimes it can’t be any better than the kids, really.)

But facts are, kids are kids, and they have to go somewhere:

CINCINNATI –As you walk through the doors at Tri-County Mall on
a Friday or Saturday night you’ll now see security guards checking
identification for everyone who looks under 25. It’s all part of the
new Youth Escort Policy. The new rules require anyone under the age of
18 to have an escort with them 21 years of age or older.

The policy applies every Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to close.

Management at Tri-County Mall says it should make for a more pleasant shopping experience for their customers.

youth, and being in large numbers unsupervised, they tend to get loud
and rowdy and detract from a comfortable shopping atmosphere.,” said
General Manager Michael Lyons. To enforce the rules, there will be
extra security at every entrance of the mall.

Increasingly in America our public spaces are really private spaces, controlled and policed, and run by lazy managers who don’t want to deal with troublemakers on a one-on-on basis because that would require hiring intelligent security and making them work. Which leaves teenagers who want to go to the mall with their friends feeling like they have something to rebel against, and maybe this is me remembering being 14, but goddamn if that isn’t Christmas morning.

(Besides which, I’d much rather deal with crowds of shrieky Twilight fans than hordes of people pushing double-wide strollers and stopping for nice long chats at the bottom of the escalator, but I’m not fond of the mall anyway, so it seems silly for me to make the rules. My idea of an ideal shopping experience is to go on a Tuesday at 10 a.m. the second the stores open and be gone by 10:30 so as to avoid the stupidity.)

My ‘hood has lots of parks, rec centers and other places for kids to go, and a couple of commercial areas instead of enclosed malls, but the teen hangouts are generally the hot dog stands and such. Which I’m sure upsets some people my age and older, but you know what? Tough shit. If you never let the kids out in public how the hell are they supposed to learn how to behave? If people are getting into fights or vandalizing property the answer isn’t to hassle everybody, it’s to arrest the ones committing crimes and calm the fuck down.

The only thing I wonder about with this is that lots and lots of mall stores cater to young people. I’m surprised not to see any pushback from the stores that are hoping to make their money from the Abercrombie demographic.


6 thoughts on “Criminalizing Being a Teenager

    Maybe I should channel my inner capitalist and charge $10 to get a teenager through the door?

  2. A mall in Metry tried this a while back and wound up quietly dropping the policy. There was too much backlash from customers.

  3. I predict this is going to be a non-starter. For one thing, teenagers who go to malls generally spend money. Lots of money.
    I would rather deal with hordes of rowdy teenagers than idiots with double-wide strollers. At least when rowdy teenagers block my path from my seat on the bus to the door, I can ask them to move and everyone else will backme up. (On lovely Whitebreadville Transit, there is apparently a “fold strollers” policy, but it is never enforced, and if you just park your SUV stroller where the handicapped people are supposed to sit — because the seat folds up so that you can park a wheelchair in there if need be — that’sperfectly okay. Never mind that it makes it hard for, you know, actual handicapped people to get past them and their bloody spawn to the doors.) *mutter grump* Get your goddamn kids off my lawn…

  4. Except, of course, that malls are private property, giving the owner/operator the right to set the rules.

  5. I lived in Cincinnati for two years and it was a long-ass two years I’ll never get back. It’s the most tight-assed provincial place I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot.
    Once, a local I worked with asked why I had a problem with the city’s conservative nature. “Aren’t you from the south?” he said.
    I explained that in the south, your neighbor might say, “I don’t like the way you live and I believe you’ll go to hell for it.”
    But, in Cincinnati, your neighbor might say, “I don’t like the way you live and I believe you’ll go to hell for it. But first, we’re going to throw your ass in jail.”
    Goddamn, I hated that place.

  6. Any old (so to speak) adult 21 or older will do? Wow. What a set-up for predators and pedophiles.

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