The unsubstantiated "gateway drug" theory has been used to justify draconian measures against marijuana use on the grounds that it leads inexorably to hard-core drug addiction. Now authorities in Doylestown have brought us a new but related concept: the gateway doodle.
Doylestown police recently cited two local teenagers for chalk drawings on a borough street, apparently on the hypothesis that such activities begin a slippery slope toward spray-painting railcars with gang signs.
Police Chief James Donnelly told the Doylestown Intelligencer that even though the drawings in question innocently depicted a whale and sea turtles, they could be related to more obscene chalk drawings perpetrated about town. (He later said they weren't.) Moreover, he added, such conduct could lead to vandalism with more indelible materials. And so we got a rare case in which a chalk outline didn't just delineate the crime; it was the crime.