General Question

rebbel's avatar

How free is "the land of the free" when several states and cities have installed curfew? [Details inside].

Asked by rebbel (33424points) March 14th, 2012

Last year my girlfriend and her parents were visted by family from America.
The two sons of this family told us about the existence in their city of curfew.
I had heard of that phenomenon; in the stories my grandfather told me about WWII.
We were flabbergasted we initially thought they were kidding with us about the fact that after a certain time (I forgot, but I believe it was nine-ish) they were not allowed to be outside.
How free is a country(/state/city) when it forces its adolescent citizens to be inside the house at nine?
Or am I missing an important issue/fact/reason here?

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17 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

I would assume that the curfew was iniated for the welfare of the people. Meaning, when it’s dark outside, it’s almost impossible to tell the enemy apart from your own family. Also, so the military could move people and military machines around, without having a traffic jam. It was just common sense.

You have to have lived it, to understand it. It was a whole different world back then.

I think I missed the point in your message. There was a curfew then and a curfew now for teenagers.

Well, I could pretend to tell you the reason why there are curfews, but it would take a long time. Bottom line is not curbing a person’s freedom, it’s a matter of crime statistics involving teenagers after a given time. We have had no problems with this law. Most parents totally agree with it and have for years.

ucme's avatar

If we’re talking inconsistencies in the lyrics of a national anthem then God Save The Queen simply doesn’t add up.
I mean, there’s a couple of blatant lies in the title alone.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Adolescents (under 18, and the curfews only apply to those under 18) are not citizens. So, right there, because they can’t vote. They’re largely local laws, and the exact time varies.

But yeah, it’s some effed up bs. It really hurts kids who aren’t at home because they don’t have a home to go to, or the home they do have isn’t safe for them. And then they get punished for something they don’t have much control over, and the punishment doesn’t actually make the situation any better… We’re not big on respecting kids, or really anyone who can’t immediately prove their citizenship.

jerv's avatar

Sorry, you lost me at “Land of the free”. Was that sarcasm?

cheebdragon's avatar

You are only free after you turn 21, though you do gain a few privileges when you hit 18.

Kids have a tendency to do stupid things in the dark.

rebbel's avatar

@jerv Yes, just a little, for the sake of a ‘interesting’ question title.

jerv's avatar

@rebbel More than a little. I’m still laughing!

marinelife's avatar

Generally, curfew is only for teenagers. It is generally initiated when there has been a problem with crime or loitering

PhiNotPi's avatar

There’s no curfew in my area, but they are generally put in place (by local governments) for teenagers when there is a crime problem. Most parents do agree with the policies since they don’t tend to allow their children to roam around a city late at night anyway.

GracieT's avatar

I live in an area that sometimes has problems with gangs. Therefore, while we have no curfew in town, there is one at a local shopping center. Its basically an outdoor
mall. I just hope it doesn’t get overrun with gangs and have to close!

dabbler's avatar

I suppose it’s relative.

Like the fact that we have in the U.S. 7% of the world’s population.
And we have in the U.S. 25% of the world’s prisoners.
So, relative to any other country on earth you’re free here to spend your life in prison.

During wartime however there can be a very good reason for curfews. If you are outside you probably are employing some kind of light and any kind of light betrays where there would be targets. Back in WWII our towns and cities were not as hyper-lit as they are now.

“Adolescent citizens” ? Hey, they are not free for other, good, reasons especially that their parents are responsible for them and the parents have a corollary authority over their kids. Kids, for their own good because they really don’t know the limits of their capabilities and proper boundaries for civil society, simply have yield to parental authority.

wilma's avatar

We have a curfew in my town. It’s only for children under 16, and it’s 10:00PM. You can be outside of your house on your own property, but you can’t be wandering the streets. You can also be out in public places with a parent or other adult.

FutureMemory's avatar

I have no problem with curfew laws for people under 18. I know that when I was that age, if my friends were out that late without parental supervision, they were usually up to no good.

Now, if you want to talk about other ways we’re not Free here in the US….

edit: It was 11pm for anyone under 18 in my town, Wilma. Perfectly reasonable, I thought. My friends that broke curfew were almost always out drinking or getting into mischief.

wilma's avatar

I agree @FutureMemory .
The only “penalty” that I have ever heard of was the kids got a ride home in the back of the cop car and a sometimes good scolding. I suppose if they were a constant problem then the penalty would be worse. The parents are ultimately responsible and they would probably be in trouble as well.

rooeytoo's avatar

After reading this morning’s paper and the random acts of senseless vandalism and destruction, I wish there were a curfew! It’s not safe to step outside the door without a gun. Oh wait, guns are illegal but wait, senseless vandalism is illegal. wtf???????

SpatzieLover's avatar

Milwaukee curfew is 10pm-5am weekdays & 11pm-5am weekends for anyone under 17yrs old.

Personally I’m for it. Milwaukee began a crackdown on curfew a few years back. Not surprisingly, criminal activity and loitering went down when the fines for breaking curfew went up.

EDIT: 9pm seems early for curfew @rebbel. May I ask what city this was?

JLeslie's avatar

Very few places have curfew in the states I think. It is for minors, and the curfew helps parents keep their children off the streets, and helps law enforcement prevent loitering and potential trouble. Why would a 15 year old be out alone or with peers on a school night at 1 in the morning?

Freedom does not mean free to do whatever you want whenever you want. Freedom in America is the right to be safe, to pursue happiness, and not be kept down by class or family name. It is the state’s job to keep the citizens at large safe, and so there is a constant struggle betweem restricting “freedoms” to protect the masses.

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