Article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.
Santa Cruz, CA — The list of things in the United States to do that are illegal is ever increasing at an absurd rate. From walking across the street to riding a bicycle, ordinances across the nation, enforced through the barrel of a gun, continue to cause undue pain and suffering for otherwise innocent Americans on a daily basis. Yet another asinine ban in California has exposed this ridiculousness once more, as an innocent man was detained and ticketed by police for the dangerously criminal act — of juggling.
On Saturday, reporters with The Jones/Skelton Report, Joff and Alex, out of Santa Cruz, filmed police citing a man for juggling on the sidewalk. When Alex asked the officer if he was really citing the man for this non-offense, the officer confirmed that he was indeed citing the man for juggling — because throwing balls to yourself is banned.
But is it?
When Alex asks the officer if juggling is banned, the officer rattles off the following Santa Cruz Municipal Code: 9.50. — which he says specifically bans juggling. However, upon reading the actual code, it appears that subsection e, specifically states that juggling is allowed.
In Santa Cruz, it is illegal to throw things in the air, (not kidding) including but not limited to footballs, hackysacks, baseballs, beach balls, Frisbees, or other similar devices, or liquid substance or otherwise cause any object or substance to be thrown, discharged, launched, spilled or to become airborne. See what we mean?
However, in subsection e, it appears that juggling IS allowed.
(e) Notwithstanding subsection (d), individual bubble street performers and individual jugglers who otherwise comply with all applicable statutes and ordinances are authorized to blow bubbles and juggle in the C-C, C-N, C-B, CBD and R-T zoning districts. When in the judgment of the director of parks and recreation or the police chief, or their respective designees, said bubble-blowing or juggling activity will materially interfere with pedestrian use of the sidewalk or attract crowds which will create such interference, the city may require a bubble street performer or juggler to obtain a non-commercial event permit from the city as a condition to continuing or undertaking a bubble or juggling performance. This subsection shall not be construed to authorize hackysack activity in the referenced zone districts.
So, while it appears that it is illegal to throw just about anything in the city of Santa Cruz — juggling, according to the ordinance, seems just fine. Even though this officer is seen detaining and citing the innocent juggler, who said in the video that juggling is how he makes his living, the officer is cordial and nice.
However, therein lies the problem. This officer is a nice guy, but as he is just doing his job, enforcing arbitrary laws that extort money from people for the non-crime of juggling, his niceness is moot as the end result is the same — an innocent man trying to make a living in a manner that causes absolutely no harm to anyone, is persecuted, robbed, and put out of business — by this nice officer.