Banning "Defiant Looks" in Bari

Fri, 11/08/2013 - 06:00

Is it possible to ban defiant looks? A new city ordinance by the mayor of Bari (Apulia) is trying to do just that.

After several neighborhood committees protested to the city authorities to reduce crimes in public spaces and gardens, the mayor Michele Emiliano came up with a series of rules to be enforced in all major city squares.

One such rule forbids from standing on a square for extended periods of time in groups of more than five people with a defiant, controlling or look-out attitude (which, we would add, seems very subjective to determine).

Violators will be fined up to 500 euro and can also be reported to the authorities.

The mayor, under fire for the new ordinance, claims that the rules apply exclusively to convicted felons and will be implemented to prevent crimes. “Everywhere in the world police can forbid groups of people from engaging in violent clashes before they actually occur,” he said.

Even the protesting neighborhood committees said the new ordinance seems exaggerated.

When we read the news, we couldn’t help but think back to the iconic scene from the 1976 film Taxi Driver where Robert De Niro, looking into a mirror at himself, uses a line that would become a pop culture icon and one of the top movie quotations of all times: “You talkin’ to me?”- well, he surely shows a hell of a defiant look there.

Take a look: