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The Contender
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It's time to establish a karma police force to patrol public transport.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/12/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 965 times Debate No: 5361
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




In 1997, Radiohead demanded: "Karma police, arrest this man, he talks in maths. He buzzes like a fridge, he's like a detuned radio."

However, little did they know that their request would fall on deaf ears, as there were no karma police then and, indeed, over ten years later, there is still no such law enforcement agency.

But we need one. On my way to work this morning, neo-fascist, self-opinionated Daily Mail columnist, Richard Littlejohn (1) got on the same tube as me and proceeded to verbally spew his right-wing vitriol right around the carriage, ostensibly "talking" to his female companion, but secretly trying to impress the other passengers with his vile and offensive rhetoric.

If you have ever been on a tube during the morning rush hour, you will know that although the trains are packed to the rafters, there is almost no talking as everybody is trying to read their newspapers and most passengers respect other people's right to do so in peace and quiet.

But every now and again, you get some ignorant, loud-mouthed gobshites on who think everybody around them would really, really love to listen to their inane, banal conversations.

These are the same type of people you get on trams, buses and overland trains and who talk loudly on their mobile phones about Suzie's new boyfriend or what Katie's ballet instructor said about her pirouettes, or whatever. Who cares? Why don't they keep their private conversations private? Why don't they either keep their voices down or, better still, make the call elsewhere?

The thing is, if you are sitting opposite a big fat ugly person you can always close your eyes, but if you're sitting opposite some noisy half-wit, you can't close your ears – you just have to sit there and listen to them drivel on.

No, it's got to stop. It's time to introduce a karma police force on public transport to literally keep the peace. Like air marshals on ‘planes, they should be plain-clothed and pose as ordinary passengers. However, as soon as some ignorant wanker starts mouthing off they should identify themselves and tell the offending passenger to shut the hell up or else. (2)

Clearly, there will be some properly gobby passengers who will answer back and say something like "don't tell me to shut up, Hitler" and carry on jabbering away. These offenders must be dealt with severely and summarily. Yes, the karma police should be tooled up with Tasers so that they can tame any uncooperative commuters' tongues with a few thousand volts and I hereby commend this reasonable and measured proposal to the House.

Thank you.

(2)Acknoledgment to theLwerd for inspiring this line!


To start, I'd like to say that I don't disagree that these people who wont shut up are a problem, and that there needs to be something to deal with them. I also empathize with anyone who has to deal with a neo-fascist on the way to work.

In 1984, Boy George informed us that, "Karma come and go. Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams, red gold and green, red gold and green."

This is obviously an analogy to the way the world's subway/tube/underground train based transit system users should act and/or be required to act.

What I'm speaking of is a partition of the vehicle, by cars, or in the case of buses, by physical seat location, into three separate areas, red, gold, and green. (Although in terms of which train cars go first, it would be green, gold, and then red.)

I believe that upstanding citizens of the world are inherently the karmic police, and that there is no need for specialized units to patrol our public transport to ensure compliance to social norms. This is the basis of my partitioning system.
Everyone starts out in the gold section, which would be the section that has more train cars, or more bus seats. Basically it would be a system of demerits, meaning that if no one says anything about you, then you're doing great. If you ride five times within a certain period of time, say a month, (really any number can be used, I'll leave it to various nations to pick what would be best for them) without any complaints from fellow passengers of you not respecting rider ettiqute, then you are permitted to sit in the green area, where other folks who love reading the Daily Telegraph/ New York Times on their way to work without so much as a word spoken to other commuters. For those who are cited as regularly violating the unwritten rules of public transportation, to the red section you go, where other people who are glued to their cell phones can jabber away while hundreds of babies cry simultaneously. If you start acting up in the green zone, you go back to the gold zone.

Its an amazing plan if I do say so myself, and while would need to be adjusted slightly for each countries' needs, would lead to a more harmonious commute for everyone. Loving [other people and your commute] would be easy, if your [seating] colors were like your dreams [of speaking to other people.]

To refute my opponent, people are inherently jerks, so no one is going to pipe down when asked to, so pretty much everyone who speaks at the wrong time will end up tazered on the tounge, which would most certainly hurt like a mother. This would lead obviously to some negative reactions on the part of those tazed, some of which may result in violence. If there are multiple tazings occurring in a train car in a relatively short amount of time, followed by violent responses, a riot could come about, which would certainly make everyone's day significantly less bright, and replace a minor annoyance with a melee, which would lead to severe injuries and potentially even death.

For these reasons, one must reject my opponent's plan, and accept mine.
Debate Round No. 1


I know that in debates, one is supposed to oppose in principle one's opponent's arguments but I believe in giving credit where credit is due and I fully recognise that my adversary's Culture Club-inspired segregation of passengers proposal could represent a real step forward in the organisation of public transport systems.

That said, however, his plan is flawed. In order to impose his demerits on shouty passengers the offenders will have to be identified – you can't grass a loud-mouthed commuter up to the authorities without knowing their name.

In addition, who is going to stop some ignorant, loud-mouthed thug from getting on a Green Zone carriage and yacking on to his missus on his mobile phone? You can imagine the conversation can't you?


Respectable Commuter: Excuse me sir, but this is a Green Zone carriage which is reserved exclusively for the use of civilised people with a proper sense of decorum and I can't help noticing that you are talking a load of verbal diarrhea on your mobile phone…are you sure you are entitled to be in this part of the train?

Ignorant Thug: What's it got to do with you, pretty-boy? Now shut your ******* gob before I ram my ******* fist down it, you ******* ******.

RC: I say, there's absolutely no need for that sort of language. Now I insist that you cease your puerile conversation forthwith and leave this carriage at the next stop. Do I make myself clear?

IT: Right, that's it, you've really ******* me off now – you're going to get your ******* head kicked in, you interfering little ****…

RC: Aaargh! No, not the face, not the ******* face. Help! Stop! Police! Oh no! Aaargh!


Now, imagine if there had been an undercover karma policeman on board?


Ignorant Thug: (talking loudly on cell phone) I tell you what, darling, I'm so horny I could **** the hair on a barbershop floor. When I get home I going to give you a proper seeing to, you dirty little whore…

Karma Policeman: (addressing the thug) Stop! I'm a karma police officer. Now drop the phone and put your hands in the air where I can see them.

IT: **** you, copper. Why don't you go out and catch some real criminals you ugly ****…(back to phone) Oh, just some jumped-up little Hitler that thinks he can tell me what to do…

KP: I won't warn you again, son (taking Taser from holster). Now drop that phone or you'll fry.

IT: Oh, shut your face. Nobody tells me what to do.

KP: Okay, I warned you, now take this! (He fires Taser, which drops the thug to the floor, convulsing in excruciating agony as 20,000 volts paralyse him and the other passengers all clap and cheer.) Oh, I love my job, I really do. Ha ha ha ha ha!


I think you will agree that this is a much more satisfactory outcome. Furthermore, I would suggest that this type of action would not be required on a regular basis as most talkative travellers will comply with a karma policeman's orders once threatened with the Taser and so the scenes of rioting and public disorder that my opponent prophesises would be unlikely to materialise.

I therefore urge you to vote Pro for a more civilised journey to work.


While certainly no plan is perfect, I still hold to my belief that violence can be averted to ensure public transport tranquility.

My good opponent reminds us that passengers would need to be identified in order for the plan to work, and that is true, maybe a credit card or ID card could be required. One would notice that I believe that each nation that wishes for this plan to be implemented can make minor adjustments in certain areas, such as how commuters will be properly identified.

To my opponent's next point, which is that if one were to intrude upon a zone of which they have not received clearance, trouble would ensue, can be avoided again with an ID system that would make it a gross violation of commuting regulations to be in a restricted zone. (Jumping over barriers, breaking ID systems) I honestly believe that there is a significantly smaller amount of people that are not only annoying, but are aware of their annoyance to others, and not only that, but use their annoyance as a weapon to the point of breaking other laws.

The average person who'd be zapped under my opponent's plan wouldn't need anywhere as much malice to learn what 50,000 volts on the tounge is like.

This does lead me to my point about my opponent's plan, which I believe still should stand. That is, that people will be unhappy with being zapped in the tounge, and if enough of them are in one carriage, there will be trouble. The cost of this trouble far outweighs the cost of annoying commute.

Because my plan has much less possibility of failure, and my opponent's plan resorts to violence and has a good chance of leading to a major disruption (small scale riot), one must support mine.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


Yes, I see the merit in using an ID card to identify an offender, but they are hardly likely to volunteer that to a fellow passenger who wanted it in order to get them in trouble with the transport authorities. A karma policeman would have to be summoned to remove it from them, if necessary, by force.

But what if the shouty passengers concerned happened to be Jean-Claude van Damme and Mike Tyson boasting about how hard they are? If they refused to hand over their IDs, the karma policeman would need to be one tough cookie to take them both on at the same time without a Taser.

Perhaps my opponent is right, though, when he says 50,000 volts is excessive. Perhaps the devices should be governed to a maximum of 30,000 volts but a Taser is the device of choice in a modern world.

In the olden days, law enforcement officers used a brank, which was sometimes known as a "scold's bridle", to suppress the over exuberant gabblers. This was an iron muzzle that fitted over the mouth to prevent people from talking. In his book Three Men in a Boat, published in the 1880's, Jerome K. Jerome referred to them thus:

"There is an iron "scold's bridle" in Walton Church. They used these things in ancient days for curbing women's tongues. They have given up the attempt now. I suppose iron was getting scarce, and nothing else would be strong enough."

Perhaps similar devices could now be made out of a modern material such as carbon fibre or Kevlar, which persistent offenders could be made to wear on trains? However, due to the violent nature of today's society, the law will still need to be enforced with the occasional use of Taser guns.

So, for the sake of a civilised and stress-free journey to work I urge you to vote Pro. Thank you.


Obviously the way in which people would identify those who do not follow the unwritten laws of public transport would be discrete, otherwise all hell would break loose on a regular basis.

You describe how Jean-Claude van Damme and Mike Tyson both on the same train being A-holes could be solved with a taser. I think this actually proves my point that a taser would be a terrible idea, because as soon as the initial sting wears off, you're going to have a dead karma-policeman on your hands/ major riot. We don't need this happening in our subways and buses.

30,000, 50,000; it doesn't really matter, either way it hurts a whole heckuva lot.

Putting muzzles on people also won't solve the problem, it'll simply make people angrier and more likely to retaliate upon a karma police officer with extreme force.

As I said before, taser guns will only add to the problem, not reduce it.
The vast majority of people in the world prefer peace, and so a red, gold, and green based transit system would be best off.

For the sake of a civilised and riot-free journey to work, I urge a Con vote.

Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by 13forfreedom 8 years ago
I'm sorry, I missed the section in the First Ammendment where it limited free speech to politics. And I hardly think that tazering someone for speaking is humane or sensible. Police brutality cases would be through the roof, not to mention the fact that this could ONLY apply to government funded transportation, as anything else would be the equivilant of vigilante justice: And at that point, I shoot back.

To close: Just punch the guy in the face or GET OVER IT.
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Actually one only has freedom to politically speak.

Talking to someone obnoxiously in a government funded train car can be regulated.
Posted by 13forfreedom 8 years ago
Freedom of speech. Interesting debate, but a stupid topic, to be honest. Last I checked, I can talk about whatever I want, wherever I want, regardless of if I'm annoying someone. That said, it should also be legal to puch said annoying person, but the Affirmative, in this case, is in direct violation of the First Ammendment.
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
This seems ike a fun debate.
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