They drink from the same water supply. They attend schools administered by the same district. So it’s unlikely the folks who live inside the boundaries of the landlocked city of North Las Vegas are really so different.
It’s just that they keep doing things that make you wonder.
For the longest time, law-abiding Clark County gun owners with target or self-defense weapons safely cased in their cars had to worry about inadvertently driving across the line into North Las Vegas, where the gun laws were more restrictive. (The Legislature finally told them to knock it off, last year.)
Back in 2005, the North Las Vegas city fathers announced a new plan to pro-actively inspect each of the city’s 23,400 rental apartments annually, rather than wait for tenants to complain about problems.
(City Manager Gregory Rose’s proposal for universal warrantless searches of the poor “would help out low and moderate-income people … and get at some of the slumlords,” explained North Las Vegas Code Enforcement Manager Sheldon Klain. Apparently the Fourth Amendment and all that “probable cause” stuff don’t apply, once the northbound traveler crosses Lake Mead Boulevard.)
That same year, a Winnemucca native making a bid for a North Las Vegas City Council seat visited the newspaper’s offices to discuss her proposal that the council “form a committee that could counsel with those people” who live in the older, southeastern sections of the municipality, instructing them in how to refurbish their run-down properties.
Bridling a bit at the lady’s repeated references to “those people,” an editorial board member asked the candidate, “How would you feel if someone from the city showed up and starting telling you how to maintain your property?”
“Oh, but they do,” she replied. “We get letters if there are inappropriate things in our yards. Some people leave inappropriate things on their porches.”
“What kinds of things?” she was asked.
“We had a man in our neighborhood who got several letters because he kept leaving his shoes on his porch.”
“His shoes?” she was asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“But what if he was Japanese?” came the obvious follow-up.
“He was,” the candidate replied.
“And … did the letters resolve the problem?” she was asked. “Did he stop leaving his shoes on the porch?”
“He moved,” she explained — apparently quite satisfied with the outcome.
Now North Las Vegas again leads the way, having become last week the first municipality in Southern Nevada to enact an ordinance requiring virtually all cats and dogs in that municipality to be spayed or neutered before they reach the age of four months.
Now, the spaying and neutering of pets — except those owned by people prepared to go to the extra trouble required to breed pedigreed critters — is a fine idea, don’t get us wrong.
It’s a wise move to reduce the number of surplus animals that have to be put down every year. That’s why most pet owners already take this step, which additionally makes animals less likely to wander, to fight and to spray the particularly redolent scent which can render a house full of “whole” male cats so uniquely charming.
But what earthly good can come of adding another largely unenforceable law to the already overweight statute books? Are police officers really to start kneeling down and examining the animals’, um … private parts? Who will be the first resident jailed on charges of “roaming kitty”?
If everything that’s good and noble must be made mandatory — without regard to whether we can possibly have enough police to enforce all these edicts — shall we also mandate serving green leafy vegetables with every meal, and telling our children that we love them?
For that matter, doesn’t the North Las Vegas City Council realize the sanctity of motherhood, and the unending need for successive new generations of blood don- , pardon us, taxpayers?
Why on earth haven’t they yet passed a law requiring married couples to, um, behave in a manner proven most likely to produce offspring, at least three times a week?
There are two models for organizing a modern society. The German philosopher Fichte two centuries ago called for German society to be put on a course in which government would micromanage everything, creating strength through regimentation and order, eliminating the chaos caused by individuality. State-run “education should provide the means to destroy free will,” he advised.
American patriots from Orestes Brownson to Rose Wilder Lane warned that such a Prussian system was incompatible with the American tradition of freedom and individual sovereignty. “Here the people do not look to the government for light, for instruction, but the government looks to the people,” Mr. Brownson explained in 1839. “The people give law to the government.”
The battle is obviosusly still ongoing.