Here's the difference between laws that stay on the books despite deep divisions over whether they should be enforced (Prohibition; immigration), and laws that the populace would instinctively enforce whether they were on the books or not. Eight-year-old Elisa was playing with half a dozen friends in the front yard in Fresno, California, one evening this week when a human predator approached them. Warned by nearby adults to run away, most of the girls escaped, but the predator managed to snatch Elisa and drive off. The witnesses gave immediate chase, and although they didn't catch him, they had a good description of the truck. An "Amber Alert" went out. Over 100 policemen started going door to door.
An Amber Alert galvanizes citizens who might be passively skeptical of law enforcement in other contexts. Within twelve hours, a young Fresno man caught sight of a red pickup truck that matched the description of the abductor's car and jumped in his car to follow it.
"I was yelling but I kept cutting him off so he would get off the road,” Perez told KFSN. “At first, it was just like a simple question, ‘I need to talk to you,’ and (Gonzalez) goes, ‘No, my truck is messing up. I need to leave,’ so I said ‘OK.’Perez cut the truck off, enabling Elisa to jump out and escape. Later, operating on another tip, police arrested the driver, a gang member already on probation for domestic violence. “I’ve got to tell you, it was the highlight of my career seeing (the victim) and her mom unite in that hospital room,” said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
“I didn’t see no little girl. So the second time I cut him off, the little girl stuck her head out. That’s when I said, ‘OK, that ain’t your girl right there.’ Because he was hiding her — like pushing her down."