Positive Ticketing


Police forces in Canada have started handing out rewards to people who make healthy, positive choices in relation to their behaviour, decisions or actions. The scheme is called positive ticketing and it aims to reward citizens for doing good things; it also tries to encourage positive interaction between the police and the community using a less authoritative approach.

“Honey catches more flies than vinegar.” – British proverb

In this initiative, police officers may hand out positive tickets to citizens who are seen committing random acts of kindness or exhibiting positive behaviour such as crossing the road safely, picking up litter or even deterring the minor crimes of others. Officers may also use the tickets as icebreakers to start conversations and cement positive relations with people in their patrol areas.

The rewards on offer include free hamburgers, cinema tickets or a chance to see the local hockey team in action, all of which have been donated by local businesses.

“If you reward good behavior, your return on investment will be more good behavior. This is not rocket science; we (especially police officers) simply don’t reward and celebrate positive behavior enough.” – Ward Clapham, Breaking With the Law: The Story of Positive Tickets

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Bureaucracy and Suicide in the DDR


‘The statistics office on Hans Beimler Street counts everything, knows everything. How many shoes I buy a year: 2,3. How many books I read a year: 3,2. And how many pupils graduate with straight A’s every year: 6347. But there is one thing they don’t count, maybe because even bureaucrats find it painful, and that’s suicides[1]. If you call Beimler Street to ask how many people between the Elbe and the Oder, between the Baltic Sea and the Ore Mountains have been driven to their death by despair, our numbers oracle is silent. But it may just note your name for State Security… Those grey men who ensure safety in our land… and happiness.

In 1977, our country stopped counting suicides[2]. They called them ‘self-murderers’. But it has nothing to do with murder. It knows no bloodlust, no heated passion, it knows only death, the death of all hope. When we stopped counting, only one country in Europe drove more people to their death: Hungary. We came next, the land of Real Existing Socialism.’

– Translated from Wiedemann. M. et al. (Producer), Henckel von Donnersmarck. F. (Director). (2006). Das Leben Der Anderen [Motion Picture]. Germany: Buena Vista International


[1] Freitoden, from the singular Freitod, a euphemistic term meaning ‘suicide’, literally: “free death”.

[2] Selbstmorden, from the singular Selbstmord, a dysphemistic term meaning ‘suicide’, literally: “self murder”.

The Point of Prison


Don: Well, Dick, this is it. The tank.

Dick: Oh. Oh, look at them, their deep-set eyes darting with evil brilliance. What’d they do, Don?

Don: Well, that one’s a loiterer, and that guy was screaming at a fire hydrant.

Dick: You, fresh meat, what are you in for?

Inmate: Up yours!

Don: Don’t rile ’em up. They’re bad news.

Dick: Oh, this place is so creepy, Don. I knew jails had bars, but I didn’t know they were so confining.

Don: That’s kind of the idea.

[…]

Don: So, if he can’t pay his fine, he just – well, he’ll just sit there for a few days and think about what he’s done.

Dick: And that’ll teach him that jail is a dirty, horrible place, and he’ll never want to return?

Don: Exactly. In fact, this is the fifth time he’s learned that very lesson.

Dick: The fifth time? Why does he keep coming back?

Don: Ah, it’s just the way they are.

Dick: Then what’s the point of this place? It’s just a revolving door, a hopeless hotel whose residents check in and out between crimes. And you, Don, you’re nothing more than a bellhop with a badge.

Don: I am not.

Inmate: Hey, can I get a clean towel and a Wall Street Journal?

Don: Will you shut up in there! Now, listen here, Dick, this system is the only way we’ve got to teach these guys a lesson.

Dick: What about giving them a little guidance?

Don: Uh, we don’t do that here.

Dick: Well, maybe you should. Unlike you, I happen to have faith in the human race. I can take any one of these men, rehabilitate him, and make him a productive member of society.

Don: You’re mad, Solomon.

Dick: Am I? Come on, you, you’re coming home with me.

Don: What are you doing?

Dick: I’m going to pay his fine and make him whole again. As god is my witness, nothing will deter me from saving this man.

Don: Ok. His fine is $1,500.

Dick: Ooh. How much for the skinny one?

Don: Uh, 750.

Dick: And the short hair in the corner?

Don: Eddie? 100 bucks.

Dick: Wrap him up. I’ll take him.

– Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner: 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001)