Town Cracks Down on Saggy Pants

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Saggy pants. Are you aware of this, shall we say, cultural phenomenon?

It's not exactly new. Young men walking around with their pants sagging down somewhere south of their boxer shorts has been a feature of urban life for sometime. There are even hip-hop songs about saggin': I sag here, I sag there. My life is saggin' pants.

Well one town in this country has simply had enough. The town of Mansfield near Shreveport, Louisiana, has put a new law on the books: pull 'em up or pay up.

That's the interpretation of the new law given by the police chief there. If his cops see you — well, not you — but if his cops see young men walking around with their pants sagging below the line where God splits most human beings, it's a ticket and a fine in Mansfield.

As the new law reads, anyone caught wearing sagging pants who exposes his or her underwear will be subject to a fine of up to $150 plus court costs. If the defendant is broke, it's 15 days in jail where the orange or striped jumpsuit will definitely not sag. Several municipalities in Louisiana have enacted similar laws in the last few months.

So is wearing your pants so low your underwear shows an expression of free speech or a declaration of civil defiance that should be sanctioned by the law?

I boldly predict right here and now that the ACLU will soon enter the fray arguing that sagging pants and visible underwear are protected free expression and the city fathers and mothers cannot legislate against it. We'll see how it shakes out in court.

And I hate to sound like I might be getting on in years and might not understand today's youth, but I don't want to see sagging pants. I don't want to see Britney Spears go for a swim in her underwear, and I don't want to see that kid on the street forcing me to look at his boxers.

Why not? Because I know they are both doing it only to offend somebody. And frankly when it comes to offending people somebody's got to draw a line somewhere, and I think the line should be at the waist.

This may be a futile campaign because I know how judges work in this country. And I also boldly predict that the Supreme Court will one day rule in favor of sagging pants, but until they do I say book 'em chief. Enforce the law until the courts say stop. Maybe in the meantime the kid with the sagging pants will grow up.

That's My Word.

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