Today the Philadelphia city council may vote on a bill to ban bulletproof glass at hundreds of small delis. My New York Post take: are they crazy?
“Have you ever been served food at a sit-down restaurant establishment through a solid barrier? That is not acceptable.” There’s an “indignity” to it, she adds, and it happens “only in certain neighborhoods.” Hence : “No more normalization of receiving food or drink through a prison-like solitary confinement window. What message does it send our children? What are we conditioning them for?”
Well, it sends several messages.
One is a moral that echoes down through the ages: Human beings threatened with violence have the right to protect themselves.
Another is that no matter how many of your neighbors may be personally liked and trusted, it takes only a few bad actors for you to live in a rough neighborhood. Acting as if it isn’t — or that police will always arrive in time to stop an assault — is playing pretend.
Predictably, some of the store managers say if their glass comes down they will start carrying guns to defend themselves….
Some sources: Philadelphia Inquirer coverage and editorial; Councilwoman Cindy Bass on Twitter; Joe Trinacria/Philly Mag; local WTXF and more, WPVI; draft ordinance; local commentary by Christopher Norris (sends a “damning message”: “The presence of bulletproof glass in corner stores promotes the dehumanization and distrust of the poor, while centering the privilege of its erector.”)
Note also UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh’s argument that a right of self-defense may be implicit in the U.S. Constitution as an unenumerated right, as it is explicit under many state constitutions.