As far as crimes go, this isn't the dumbest, but it's pretty darn close. A Cleveland, Ohio, woman was caught on camera driving up on a sidewalk to pass a school bus that was unloading kids.
The only thing more surprising than Shena Hardin's crime (I mean really, why couldn't she wait two minutes?) is the sentence the judge gave her.
Her license was suspended and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs, but that's not all. Hardin has to stand at an intersection for two days and wear a sign that says, "Only an idiot drives on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus." Amen to that. There is a reason drivers are not supposed to zoom past school buses that have stopped to let out children. It's unsafe. Not only could she have hit someone's kid, her reckless behavior might have injured a random person walking down the sidewalk too.
Some people will take issue with this sentence. It's not cruel, but it sure is unusual. But that is exactly what a situation like this calls for. I think that in certain cases, public reprimand and humiliation can be an effective deterrent. This isn't a ticket she can hide from her friends, family, and co-workers. Everyone will know how stupidly she behaved and she will have to deal with that. I bet Hardin will never consider doing something so careless again.
So I say let’s make every idiot wear a sign. Think about all those crimes that could be cured with this incredibly embarrassing punishment. I am not talking about would be sociopaths who are peeping in windows and killing animals. This would be ideal for all those seemingly minor or petty crimes that relatively sane citizens commit every day. Get caught soliciting a prostitute, your sign reads: "I put my wife’s health in danger by sleeping with a hooker." Snatch a woman's purse: "I am the creepy guy who robbed a defenseless lady." Run a dogfight: "I am a monster who is cruel to animals." Heck, I think it's worth a try.
Do you think this kind of punishment could be effective?
Image via AgentAkit/Flickr