Back in the 60’s when my older brother was about 14 he and his friends got caught spray painting the cement entrance sign to the county park in our neighborhood. What happened? A cop came to the house to tell my parents about it and say that the boys needed to go clean the paint off. The cop knew none of them had ever been in trouble before and that their parents would take it from there. Believe me my brother probably would have preferred going to jail than facing my mother. She tolerated no bad behavior, and shaming the family in that way was much worse than mere bad behavior. He and his friends learned their lesson and it didn’t happen again. Today many parents would immediately jump into “not my boy” and if so then the police should press charges and let the courts handle it. In my brother’s case however, the cop didn’t approach the house with his gun drawn or a battering ram, he rang the doorbell and had a polite conversation with my parents. There was no SWAT Team involved. He didn’t call for backup. What he did was keep his response proportional to the crime. This is where we have gone wrong. The response is increasingly way out of proportion. What the cop also did was what I’d term community policing in that he focused on nipping the problem in the bud with reasonable actions and excellent communication. I am sure that if my brother did something like that again, the cop would have ratcheted up his response, and rightfully so. Now elementary school kids can be suspended for chewing Pop Tarts into the shape of a gun. As an aside, this was a lower middle class neighborhood of factory workers, not the privileged side of town where the cop might have been afraid of affluent parents with political connections.