The Case of the Panda Hat and Miranda Rights

Sometimes, my job entails dealing with juveniles.  As a rule, I’m not the biggest fan of that particular set.  I love my own kids…but everyone else’s are not at the top of my list.  They tend to be arrogant, ignorant, and cause for more than their fair share of piddly crimes.

More often than not, they think they know the law.  (Most of them do not).  Just because your Uncle Walt is a real estate attorney doesn’t mean you are privy to criminal law, Little Johnny.

At any rate, a few weeks back, I had occasion to run across a triad of the early-teen crowd.  The three future Mensa members had taken it upon themselves to vandalize a building with a Sharpie pen.  You know, the permanent ones.  I won’t  bore you with the pedestrian details.  I’ll just cut to the bit that entertained me.  Sufficed to say, we had them dead to rights with Sharpies and witnesses.

One of my suspects was sitting in the rear of my sergeant’s patrol car.  It was a warm day and he was sweating from the heat.  He was also wearing a fleece panda hat eerily similar to the one pictured in this post.  He was about 14-years-old.  He had attitude.  His hat pissed me off.  I’m not saying any of this makes sense.  Short of those Sun Bears, the Panda is the laziest and most overrated of bears.  Sorry, Ling Ling.

MC: You got a cell phone?

PB (Panda Boy): Yup.

MC: Ring mommy.  Now.

PB does.  I talk to mom and she’s en route and less than happy.  This was a good sign.  I gave the phone back to PB.

MC: Take off that hat.  You look ridiculous.

PB: I believe I know my rights and I have the right to wear this hat.

*Hint to other age-challenged types caught red-handed.  Don’t poke the tiger.  I was going to say don’t poke the bear, but I hate to overuse one member of the animal kingdom in one post.  Besides, not too long ago, some kids poked a tiger (kinda) and tragedy ensued.*

MC: Is that right?  You know your rights, huh?

PB (condescendingly): Yup

MC: Perfect.  Get out of the car.  I’m going to read you your rights.

I read PB his Miranda rights and he answered in the affirmative to each of them.  I asked him if he wanted to talk to me about what had happened.  He said sure and proceeded to lie his pants off.  I was tempted to bellow, “LIAR, LIAR.  PANTS ON FIRE!!!”  But, I am a consummate professional and only occasionally a child.  This was not one of those occasions.

PB: We were just walking around, man.  We didn’t do anything.

MC: You sure?

PB: Yup.

MC: Fantastic.  Turn around.  *click click*  (That’s the lovely sound of handcuffs).  You’re being detained for vandalism.  Get back in the car.

PB, shocked face and all, sat back down in the car.  I then had the pleasure of yanking the ridiculous panda hat off of his head and tossing it on the rear dash.  Seems PB needed a little lesson in cooperation and respect.  PB’s parents and the parents of his two compatriots all responded and were appropriately bent at the behavior of their spawn.

It was rewarding to see parents that actually seemed to care about the fact that their kids were being destructive and disrespectful.  It was even more rewarding to see the vandalism had been removed less than two days later.  Here’s to hoping PB learned his lesson and will think twice about a) being disrespectful and b) his fashion choices.

Since I know I’m not the only one with issues regarding today’s haute couture (I’m ashamed to say I didn’t have to look that phrase up to spell it correctly), tell me about yours.  What drives you batty about what you see teens wearing these days?

Photo credit: Flickr and AmyRose of BMB

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

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22 thoughts on “The Case of the Panda Hat and Miranda Rights

  1. Tattoos! There is nothing uglier than an old tattoo, and yes children, you will get old, and yes children, they will be ugly.

    Other than military, there is no purpose. Got a statement – buy jewelry.

  2. I’d like to be original here, but the obvious one really gets on my nerves:

    Pants on the ground, pants on the ground
    Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground

    WHY do they do that??

  3. I actually was not going to post a response until I read the question at the end. If you had asked what drives you batty about teen BEHAVIOR these days, I would not have posted. I would have just thought, “I am a teacher. Don’t even get me started.” and went about my summer of peace.
    In terms of clothes, I differ from you. There are clothes and fashion that I find ugly and not a good look, but it is not for me to judge actually. Being that I have lived in 2 very different places, I take a double direction. In the 48, there’s a dress code for students in school that I believe in and follow and encourage (translate as force) students to follow. It is prepping them for their life in the fabulous career of their choice which hopefully does not include any place like prison where pants on the ground are the norm.
    HOWEVER, I tell my students just that. If I see them outside of school in town, it matters absolutely ZERO to me what they are wearing, hair color, piercings, etc. They are old enough to explore individuality. That comes from living in Hawaii 21 years, where the schools had no dress code for both teachers and students, only to wear what is appropriate. (<–word for word) Most classes have no a/c. it is 85 degrees in most classrooms and no wind- the kids are in tanktops and short shorts and flip flops and the teachers are in tshirts shorts and athletic shoes. It was so hot no one cared what the kids were wearing as long as the sensitive areas were taken care of. Because of that, I just dont notice clothes except in class, here on the mainland, where I am mandated to for their future adulthood. (which they may hit sometime around 35 or 40.)

  4. Oh, one other thing that I learned as a teacher- Permanent marker can be taken off with rubbing alcohol and dry-erase markers. I have also heard that hairspray works too but I have never tried that. If the kids write on my desk with a permanent marker, I grab either and take it off right in front of them in seconds. Then I get to say, “The only permanent thing in life is death” with a smile of course.

    • Rubbing alcohol and acetone will both take sharpie off.

      Acetone will probably also take ten years of grime, the first six layers of paint, and most of the primer off though, so you want to be careful with that one 🙂

      I actually don’t even bother wearing gloves while spray painting auto parts anymore, I have a 5 gallon pail with 2 gallons of acetone in it, I just paint everything without worrying and then scrub off in the acetone bucket for a few seconds afterwards. That stuff is magical.

  5. Anything sloppy. Sweatpants in the summer? Fine, whatever you are comfortable in. Pajama pants at any time of year? No. Go get dressed and THEN leave the house. Spaghetti straps and short shorts? Fine. You’re not my kid (unless you are, then we have problems). A torn t-shirt with jeans that you obviously ripped a leg off of? No. Oversized flannel with greases spots? Only if you just got off work and your job involves a lot of grease. My husband wants to go out in his undershirt (aka wife-beater) all the time, and I won’t allow it. That’s underwear. Besides, he won’t let me wear a spaghetti strap shirt in public. Why should he be more comfortable than I am? Oh, and backwards caps, but worse if it’s at that weird halfway angle, and cocked to any side. A cap is for shading your eyes. If the brim is over any part of your eyes are not, you obviously don’t need a hat on. Take it off and comb your damn hair. I’m considered lazy for brushing my hair and putting it into a ponytail almost every day. And yes, I realize some of these are feminazi related. I don’t care. I’m tired of double standards.

    • OH! Once, I was at Wal Mart, and not only was this woman wearing pajama pants, she had one side of them pulled halfway down her ass, so one buttcheek was left flapping in the wind. No underwear. Seriously? I understand you are too lazy to get dressed. But isn’t that cheek cold?

      True story.

      • That’s funny. You kind of hit on a pet peeve of mine. My dad always said, “Just because we’re poor doesn’t mean we have to look poor.”

  6. As stated above it has to be the baggy pants that really gets on my nerves. I heard that the sorce of the fashion statement is prison uniforms. Since they don’t allow them to have draw strings on the pants the elastic wears out and they end up with baggy pants falling to the knees. Bangers carry the fashon statement onto the streets to show how badass they are. Since you’re closer to the prison system than I am can you offer any insight to the origin?

    • You are absolutely correct. The saggy/baggy pants is most assuredly from the prison system. You’ll also notice the oft-referred to punks using rubber bands to pull the cuffs of their pants tight…also from the custody genre.

  7. Hate to say this, but:

    1) white kids wearing ghetto clothing. I live in a small town that’s 99% white. There are no ghettos here or even nearby. If you actually were in one, you’d be s****ing bricks because you be that scared.

    2) kids wearing 70’s clothes. Bell bottoms looked ridiculous then – and still do now.

  8. I saw a cartoon not too long ago, editorial style, in… I forget where, perhaps the New Yorker? The illustration was a ‘young punk’ with pants sagging, standing next to an old man, pants up to his nipples. They were both thinking, “It should be a crime the way he’s wearing his pants”. It just goes to illustrate, fashion is all relative.

    That being said, what kills me is the idiots wearing pants sagging, t-shirts ten sizes too big, etcetera, with absolutely NO clue where the fashion comes from. Jailhouse fashion? Great thing to aspire to… real nice, kids. Real nice. Setting up for a bright future in corrections, aren’t we?

  9. I’m with Sheik – there are lots of fashions, and fashion choices which I don’t personally like ( I don’t think teens have any monopoly on bad fashion choices) but so what? What someone else choses to wear does me no harm (if it’s daft enough, I may even get some amusement from it!)

    The thing which tend s to irritate me is where people ignore or break a clear dress code and then make a fuss when called on it (tourists ignoring clearly posted codes for sacred buildings, for instance. Andthat’s becasue it’s just plain rude)

    Also, I don’t think that teens (or any one else) wearing saggy trousers or baggy T-shirts is any indication or their aspirations, or that it matters if they aren’t aware of where the fashion started. Wearing saggy jeans doesn’t mean you want to be in prioson or are eliberately copying gansta’s anymore than a man wearing a dark business suit means he is in mourning for Prince Albert or that a woman with cropped hair is worryign she may be about to be sent to the guilloutine – once something becomes part of mainstream fashion it’s just fashion…

  10. Pants down and underwear showing, not a good look. If you want people to see your underwear do it superman style. Either way you’re going to look like a dork.

  11. Scenario: A car load of five teenage girls in a large mall parking lot. There has been a disturbance and the police are moving the spectators along and trying to clear traffic. When asked to move her car, the teenage driver retorts that, “You can’t tell me what to do.” Her keys are confiscated, her four friends hurriedly depart on foot (they were polite and thankful to be turned loose), her car is moved via tow truck and she is eventually allowed to call her mother, who is unsympathetic. Her father (daddy’s little girl is in trouble!) arrives and bails her out – politely.

    The things that get on my very last nerve:
    Arrogant behavior like this teenage girl displayed that most often gets rewarded in some way
    Inconsiderate, rude teens
    Loud music from boom cars. I’d love to take a shotgun to the sound system in an SUV.
    Ball caps and sagging jeans.

    • I’m with you on the arrogance and loud music, Jack.

      It sounds as though in your scenario the girl’s behaviour *wasn’t* rewarded, either by her parents or anyone else, which is good.

      Music – music that loud is another form of arrogance, don’t you think? An assumption that either everyone else will want to hear what you chose to play, or else an assumption that your wish to deafen yourself takes priority over eveyone else’s comfort and convenience. same with noise generally. (one of my bug-bears is people who will be very loud, shouting, laughing with each other while walking through residential streets late at night, with no thought for the residents who may be trying to sleep..

  12. Baggy pants. I have not yet, but I’m fairly certain that given the constant temptation, I will find just the right time/place and take the toe of my sneaker, embed it into the crotch of the droopy pants and slam them to the ground, followed by a gentle push which should effectively tilt them on their face. Pretty certain everyone within eyesight will laugh and possibly cheer. Will they want to fight? Maybe, until they get up and look around.

    Just waitin……

  13. Hmmmmm….. I will never understand kids that have no respect for the law and/or officers,yes i’m only 16 but I’ve always had respect for officers. It’s probably has something to do with my dad being a cop and my mom being a 911 dispatcher. But, I mean seriously now. Some of these kids need a slap on the face. Ugh