OFFENSES MAJOR AND MINOR. Chris at Signifying Nothing continues to provide comprehensive coverage of the investigations into alleged sexual assaults at a Duke lacrosse team party.

There is one dimension of this case that amuses me. A mantra that comes up among defenders of the team is the counting of "open container" citations as evidence of criminality. We have the same silliness in Illinois.

Let me refresh your memory. Go here. Note Mo's Irish Pub on the corner of Wisconsin and Plankinton (change for the 12 line to Marquette or the North Western Depot, punch my transfer a little long because I have shopping to do at Gimbel's.) Note police officer shooing children back behind the sawhorses. All afternoon the pints of Guinness were being walked out of that pub and consumed behind the sawhorses.

The defenders of the team are right to note that counting "open container" citations is hardly evidence of a pattern of criminality. It is the pattern of more generalized contempt for norms that matter. Tougher question: might (unevenly enforced?) open container laws contribute to that more generalized contempt?

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