CORRESPONDENCErnLetter FromrnWashingtonrnby Brett M. DeckerrnPolice or Fascists?rnEleanor Holmes Norton has proposed tornreopen Pennsylvania Avenue in front ofrnthe White House for limited automobilerntraffic. She convincingly testifies that arnbarricaded executive palace does notrnproperly reflect our standing as a shiningrn”city upon a hill.” After two long years ofrnparalyzing traffic jams due to the paranoidrnclosing of the Avenue of the Presidentsrnafter the Oklahoma City bombing,rnthis coup de main by the District of Columbia’srndelegate to Congress raises profoundrndoubt about the proportional naturernof security in the land of the free.rnThe D.C. municipal government hasrnlaunched a new “zero tolerance” initiativernto crack down on minor infractionsrnof the law. Strict penalization for minorrnoffenses, the argument goes, will discouragernmore serious crime by inculcatingrnheightened respect for all laws. As a resultrnof this new policy, police have dramaticallyrnincreased arrests for such inconsequentialrntransgressions as movingrnviolations.rnThe imperious enforcement of a zerorntolerance agenda creates confusion concerningrnthe appropriate use of police.rnSince the dual role of the police is to enforcernlaws and keep the peace, there is arnperpetual danger that authorities willrncross the fine line of the former in pursuitrnof the latter. For example, whilernplaying catch on the Capitol lawn duringrna quiet, sunny weekend, two friendsrnand I were accosted by a Capitol policemanrnand ordered to leave the park. Underrnthe mistaken notion that Washingtonrnis not ruled by martial law, wernrespectfully asked the officer what statuternwe were violating by tossing a baseballrnaround in a public park (more than 250rnyards from the foot of the Capitol steps).rnThe officer angrily retorted that hisrnsergeant considered us to be a securityriskrnand ordered our immediate removal.rnhi a similarly inexplicable incident, Irnwas randomly pulled over while drivingrnhome from work one Friday evening onrnthe George Washington Memorial Parkway.rnThe traffic cop insisted on a breathalyzerrnexam even though I was neitherrnspeeding nor swerving and had not had arndrop to drink. When I asked if he couldrnlegally make random searches of thisrnkind, the officer arrogantly replied,rn”Well, I am.” In like manner, motoristsrnacross the country are increasinglyrnsubjected to roadblocks and chancernsearches.rnThe ridiculous nature of these storiesrnshould be obvious, hi a citv’ with hundredsrnof homicides per year and a nationrnplagued by violence, the police haverncountiess obligations that are more pressingrnthan bullying law-abiding citizens.rnFor example, church pastors in the increasinglyrntrendy Chinatown neighborhoodrnasked the Metropolitan Police if arnpatrol car could drive through the arearnon Sundays because churchgoers werernbeing harassed and threatened on theirrnway to religious services. The requestrnwas rejected by the 3,500-officer policerndepartment with the excuse that the cityrndid not have a spare car or cop—perhapsrnthe churches should hire private securityrnguards, the police suggested. As a resultrnof this policy of neglect, the neighborhoodsrnof Washington, D.C, are increasinglyrnrisky at all times of the day.rnLast year, 78-year-old Alice Chow wasrngunned down at 2:00 P.M. on a Sundayrnwhile walking home from her church inrnChinatown. Now Mrs. Chow is just arnstatistic, part of the annual 400 homicidesrnin D.C. and over 20,000 nationally.rnBut these tragedies obscure the growingrnproblem of police harassment. Asrncrime escalates unabated, politiciansrnplay the demagogue, passing new lawsrnthat give law enforcement agencies morernunrestrained powers. Both Senate MajorityrnLeader Trent Lott and Senate JudiciaryrnChairman Orriii Hatch have suggestedrnfederalizing local criminalrnstatutes and police forces. Meanwhile,rnoverzealous authorities trample on thernrights of ordinary Americans who havernno viable vehicle of protest.rnWhether playing catch in the park orrndrifting a few miles-per-hour over thernspeed limit to and from work, good lawabidingrncitizens are incessantly tormentedrnby those whose dut’ it is to serve andrnprotect them. While neighborhoodrnstreets are left vulnerable to crime,rnarmed barriers are constructed to serve asrna moat, keeping the people as far away asrnpossible from their elected President.rnLike this blockade, many instances ofrnoverbearing state control seem insignificantrn—but they quickly add up whenrnunchecked by a submissive population.rnhi a speech in 1771, Edmund Burkernwarned that “the greater the power, thernmore dangerous the abuse.” hi contemporaryrnAmerica, the tyranny of bothrncriminals and the police rises while thernunprotected majorit}’ live in fear. Thernbloated police bureaucracies do notrnneed more staff, larger budgets, or newrnlaws; they just need to crack down onrncriminals and leave the rest of us alone.rnBrett M. Decker is the national politicalrnreporter for Evans and Novak hiside Reportrnand the producer for the televisionrnshow, Insights With Robert Novak.rnLetter FromrnChicagornby Dave GorakrnRoyko, the Cubs, et al.rnHe went to Wrigley Field on a hot dayrnlast June, along with several hundredrnothers, to hear family and dignitaries eulogizerncolumnist Mike Royko, who hadrnspent more than 30 years banging outrnfive columns each week while workingrnfor three different major Chicago newspapers.rnOtherwise empty because thernteam was on the road, the park was chosenrnfor this tribute because Mike, likernmany people, was a long-suffering Cubsrnfan.rnThe formalities concluded, Mike’srn36/CHRONICLESrnrnrn