Friday night had the largest drunken-driving patrol in Twin Cities history. Some news outlets said they'd be tweeting the names of arrestees, but no: just gender and age. That would narrow it down (Male, 106) but it's still vague enough that John Anderson in the city didn't have to explain himself.
But what if they really did tweet names?
Anyone could foil the exposure by giving a name that's over 140 characters. All right sir, before we take you downtown, I need to tweet out your name for general humiliation. Could you spell it for me please?
Richard Overthornton McButterworth Constantinopolous Thundergut Dances with Wolves …
Sir, that doesn't leave room for the charges and a description of your shirtless belligerence. Do you have a Twitter handle?
It's like putting people into the stocks, then letting other people tweet tomato-shaped icons at them. But why stop there?
Use all those hip new online tools to scold lawbreakers. It's not like the Constitution bans cool and unusual punishment.
Instagram the arrest and add a retro filter so it looks like you were arrested in 1974.
If the suspect resists, make him log into Facebook. In the box that asks "What's on your mind?" make him type, "The knee of a uniformed peace officer."
Make the perp forward to everyone in his contacts list a heartwarming e-mail from Grandma about a cute cat that gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a baby, even though Reader's Digest debunked the story in 1962.
And make him post a comment on a blog site. This will not be punishment, but his attempts to enter the code in the human-verification box will corroborate the Breathalyzer result. In other words, if he can look at the jumble of letters and backward numbers and blurry words and type it right the first time, he's definitely on something.
If those tactics seem too ornate, perhaps there's another way to remind people not to drink and drive.
Cut a PSA where the cop says to an impaired driver: Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to step out of your car and join my network on LinkedIn.
No one would ever take that chance again.