Many New Carlisle residents, past and present, flock to the popular Facebook group “You Know You’re From New Carlisle If…” to discuss the town’s history, share news, review local businesses, and connect with good people from the area.
Inevitably, things can turn toward the negative from time to time. But a new trend has popped up in the group: grammar police. And the rest of the town could learn a thing or two from them.
Knitpickers have begun to seize on the misspellings and grammatical errors in nearly every post, patrolling social media posts and pointing out the mistakes of dozens of New Carlisle commenters. The average post on “You Know You’re From New Carlisle If…” certainly leaves a bit to be desired in terms of proper English and coherent syntax, so many view the accountability provided by these grammar watchdogs as valuable and necessary.
Even more, these LEOs of linguistics provide a stark contrast to the actual police presence in town. Despite a tax hike intended to provide extra police presence in town, residents are still reporting crimes almost daily via social media.
Maybe the city can take some cues from these deputies of discourse. If a group of citizens can band together and shame the members of a Facebook group into improving their writing skills or, even better, quitting commenting altogether, then maybe a group of citizens can help clean up the streets of New Carlisle.
English and crime aren’t the same things, obviously. But the mindset can carry over from one to the other.
Actual police are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to crime prevention. They are limited in number, and have a large area to patrol. The best we can hope for is a quick response once a crime is reported, but being proactive generally works better than being reactive.
Drawing inspiration from citizen-led grammar policing, an effective tactic for combating crime could be the installation of patrol groups led by actual residents. There would be no limit to the ground that could be covered by a large group of volunteers.
Education is the key, both in proper use of the English language and in the organization of an effective, well-regulated militia of citizen troopers. While we can only do so much to improve the curriculum in Tecumseh Local Schools (thanks, Common Core), we can ensure that our local patrol group is trained properly to prevent crime.
Initially, all volunteers should be required to take a training course that covers the basics of patrolling the city. This would include what to look for, what to do if witnessing a crime or a suspicious person, and the legal limitations of a citizens’ task force.
Secondly, all members of the force should be required to have a Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit. The use of force is obviously a last resort in this type of situation, but these are deadly criminals out stealing, doing drugs, and harming the city. I would rather see the good guys go home to their families at night.
Additionally, I would advise all citizens to invest in security systems and surveillance cameras for their properties. Being able to monitor your house, car, and family is crucial. Imagine a world in which grammar police have no access to Facebook and you’ll have an idea of what it’s like to not have proper surveillance to record criminal activity.
Danger comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s a criminal on the run, and sometimes it’s a run on sentence. Sometimes there are active shooters, sometimes people misuse active voice. Sometimes people are tense because it doesn’t feel safe in town, and sometimes people can’t use the same tense for an entire paragraph. Sometimes people commit capitol murder, and sometimes people can’t figure out how to use capital letters.
It’s up to us to put a stop to both.
Cops don’t always wear a badge, and they don’t always drive a cruiser. Sometimes they are armed with smartphones with spell-checkers, and sometimes they are armed with radios and weapons.
Keep New Carlisle safe, both on the streets and on social media. And next time you see someone correcting another person’s spelling or punctuation, keep in mind that they might just save your life.