Aggressive panhandling and other ‘sidewalk fear-factor behaviors’ have been brought up on this site before. Gordon Price just posted an interesting perspective on the experience in Vancouver on his Price Tags blog. Here’s an excerpt:
What was happening in the West End was a failure of government to maintain social order. And that could happen anywhere where the rules became sufficiently ambiguous or unenforceable, and those who wished to ignore them could do so with impunity. Normally, social pressure maintains civility. It may be superficial, but it has to be sufficient. And if it isn’t, if a few abuse the rights of the many, then we rely on policing powers to establish the boundaries. And we rely on judiciary to prevent the many from abusing the rights of the few.
I don’t know if Canada, B.C., or Vancouver have the same broad freedom of expression guarantees that we do in Oregon.
What is an appropriate expression of social pressure?