August 05, 2011
Regulars to this space know I am rarely at a loss for words. But honestly, there's not much to say here except that this video, chronicling the Opelika, Ala., police department's efforts to lure suspects wanted for unpaid child support into custody with the promise of free Alabama-Auburn football tickets, goes from mildly humorous to mildly disturbing — and then to very disturbing — with unprecedented speed:
OK, the ruse I get: Rare is the opportunity for authorities to have a wanted suspect walk right into their office. I even kind of get the presence of the local news cameras, in a documentary sense — see "COPS" or "To Catch a Predator" or any of those other cheap thrill shows where the cameras are just along for the ride. Voyeurism, I understand.
But why on earth did the local news actually agree to participate in the ruse? "A police sting involving routine, nonviolent offenders? Yeah, our reporting team really wants to play an integral role in making that happen." Really? The next time Channel 3 sticks its microphone in some random citizen's face, forgive him if he spends the entire interview looking over his shoulder for black vans.
As quick and dirty entertainment, though ... well, there it is. "Nearly a dozen" people were arrested in this fashion last Friday, according to the Opelika-Auburn News, which doesn't have much else to add to the story, either. What else is there? Alleged deadbeats love the Iron Bowl, too, and they're paying dearly for it.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.