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The Immortal One
08-09-2008, 08:50 AM
I just read the blurb of a book (if anyone recognises which book it is, they should know that it is my sister's book NOT mine, I just happened to idly read the back while I was perusing the bookshelves) which states:

The war on drugs has been lost. The simple fact is that the whole world is rapidly becoming one vast criminal network. From pop stars and royal princes to crack whores and street kids, from the Groucho Club toilets to the poppy fields of Afganistan, we are all partners in crime.

[This book] is a story about Britain today, a criminal nation in which everybody is either breaking the law or knows people who do. It takes the reader on a hilarious, heartbreaking and terrifying journey through the kaleidoscope world that the law has created and from which the law offers no protection.

After a little thinking I had to admit that I do know several people who regularly break the law and I wondered if most other people are the same.

Also, after all the discussion on the issue of mental health in the other thread I wondered what everone here thought of the statement on criminality that this book makes.

Terez
08-09-2008, 09:10 AM
After a little thinking I had to admit that I do know several people who regularly break the law and I wondered if most other people are the same. There are all manner of laws out there, so this is a pretty broad statement. Everyone knows people that break laws because driving over the speed limit is against the law, and people do that all the time. With that in mind, I don't know that there is a great deal of value in asking people if they know other people that regularly break the law (or if they regularly break the law themselves), unless you're going to ask them to go into what sort of crimes.

Society makes its own laws. To say it's a complicated process is probably the hugest understatement ever. It's an ongoing process of prioritizing and qualifying. What should our rights be, and our limitations? Is this law important? Is it working? Can we do it a better way? I don't envy any of the multiple here who have made law their profession, or law enforcement for that matter (though I don't know of any law enforcement folks here, unless you count Dav being a "security guard"). :)

Ivhon
08-09-2008, 09:19 AM
I don't know whether the following is optimistic, cynical, jaded or pragmatic, but:

I don't think that society as a whole is any more or less criminal than it ever has been - which is amazingly so.

Once in a while, there is an enlightened government that pops up - but those go away in a matter of decades, leaving the same old same old of governments writing laws to entrench the empowered (and yes, America is not an exception to this "rule" - we are every bit as dirty and corrupt as the next guy despite our moralistic pretensions otherwise). This, in turn, causes the have-nots to violate the very laws that keep them down - and others that just happen to be convenient.

Sad truth of the matter is that there is always going to be a segment of society for whom laws are an inconvenience to be circumvented.

Kings, Priests, Emperors, Senators, Preachers, Imams, Kingpins, ___ Czars, Salesmen, Lawyers, Pushers, Prostitues and Popes. Always has been, always will be.

The difference NOW is that teh internetz and mass media brings more of it to our attention and we don't look the other way (as much) as perhaps we did in the Golden Age of God, Mom and Apple Pie. On the other hand, we don't get outraged and try to change it when we are forced to confront it because we just don't give a shit. Look at what we let our politicians get away with - bogus wars, stealing, graft, undermining the justice system, gerrymandering, entrenching the status quo so we can't get rid of them - and what we don't: blow jobs and heterosexual affairs. Why? Its easier to tar and feather when you aren't truly going against the system.

Terez
08-09-2008, 09:53 AM
Sad truth of the matter is that there is always going to be a segment of society for whom laws are an inconvenience to be circumvented. I don't think that this is as sad as you make it out to be. Perhaps in the context of the OP quote it is, but throughout history, there have been all manner of (warning: subjective statement) good reasons to circumvent laws, and good reasons to change laws (and it's easier to see those reasons in retrospect). You're probably right that we're not any more "criminal" than we ever have been, in the context of the laws of each time, but there is a sort of moral evolution that happens as time goes on that involves a lot of necessary law breaking, and what essentially amounts to forced law changing, and this is reflected in the nature of the laws rather than the proportion of criminals in society. I'm not claiming to be a history expert, though. Just a musician with an opinion. :)

The difference NOW is that teh internetz and mass media brings more of it to our attention and we don't look the other way (as much) as perhaps we did in the Golden Age of God, Mom and Apple Pie. On the other hand, we don't get outraged and try to change it when we are forced to confront it because we just don't give a shit. Look at what we let our politicians get away with - bogus wars, stealing, graft, undermining the justice system, gerrymandering, entrenching the status quo so we can't get rid of them - and what we don't: blow jobs and heterosexual affairs. Why? Its easier to tar and feather when you aren't truly going against the system. The sex scandals are more titillating than the corruption in the government, and less depressing. I want to say it would help if society in general was more educated, but I'm not so sure that's true...

Ozymandias
08-10-2008, 12:32 AM
After a little thinking I had to admit that I do know several people who regularly break the law and I wondered if most other people are the same.



Which laws. Lets be honest... there are some really stupid laws around today which are functional but not important. I drink illegally and smoke occasionally, so I break the law. A lot. Those are pretty stupid laws, especially in the States, where the drinking age is foisted on us by a bunch of conservative nutjobs who have no idea what is good for society (I'm guessing alcoholism and binge drinking are much bigger problems in the States than anywhere else in the Western world).

If you know someone who murders or steals on a regular basis, or who is a corrupt government official, its a different story. But people break laws because certain laws are so far removed from the reality of whats good and bad that they become somewhat obsolete.

Frenzy
08-10-2008, 01:02 AM
i see two different things going on in this thread (and other recent threads) which i find interesting. One is the apparent belief that mitigating circumstances excuse illegal behavior. i'm hungry, so i'm going to steal some food. i'm late, so i'm going to speed. Personally, mitigating cirumstances explain, but don't excuse, illegal acts. Take what you want, then pay for it. One way or another.

The second is that everyone's picking pissant crimes like speeding or under-aged drinking, smoking, etc as their examples. Stop wimping out. i know someone who used to hit his wife bad enough to need hospital visits. One of the guys on Twin Towers doesn't post there anymore because he's in jail for grand theft. i knew a rapist, but he's dead now. Died before i learned what he really was, the lucky bastard.

If people think obsolete social norm laws shouldn't apply, then why bring them up? To get us all twitterpated by your rebel spirit?

Terez
08-10-2008, 02:11 AM
i see two different things going on in this thread (and other recent threads) which i find interesting. One is the apparent belief that mitigating circumstances excuse illegal behavior. Who said that, and where? I can't speak for anyone else, but my comments in this thread were merely meant to show that law breaking is necessary for society to evolve. That's not meant to show that law-breaking, on an individual basis, is a virtue, but rather that laws are often unjust.

Take what you want, then pay for it. One way or another. Right...anyone who commits a crime and expects to get away with it is delusional.

The second is that everyone's picking pissant crimes like speeding or under-aged drinking, smoking, etc as their examples. Stop wimping out. We're not wimping out so much as showing how subjective the question was. ;)

The Immortal One
08-10-2008, 07:05 AM
We're not wimping out so much as showing how subjective the question was. ;)

Ha! The question was meant to be subjective - mainly so that I could get your opinions.


I'd also like to know what everyone's opinions are on which laws they think are too restrictive, which ones would be alright to break and which ones should have greater punishment.

Most of you seem to be of the opinion that under-age drinking, smoking and speeding laws are too restrictive.

What about slightly worse crimes like:
drink driving,
assault,
suicide (if that's illegal where you live),
threatening violence,
carrying illegal weapons - or using them
abortion
robbery
spousal abuse
rioting.

Terez
08-10-2008, 07:54 AM
You just had to bring up abortion, didn't you? lol...

I think that everything else on your list is pretty obviously criminal behavior that needs controlling, other than suicide (criminal? seems pointless) and the gun control bit. That's also controversial.

I'm pretty conservative when it comes to gun control, but it's possible I could be convinced otherwise, seeing as how I found out a year or so ago that what I had always believed about countries where guns have been outlawed (such as your own country) isn't necessarily true.

I'm pretty liberal on abortion, but I think I'm more sympathetic to the conservative position on it than most liberals seem to be. The biggest beef I have with the conservative ideology on this is the fact that they also (in general) oppose sex education and government funded birth control for the poor.

At the same time, stuff like rioting is necessary to overthrow or wound oppressive governments. It's usually senseless, though, and obviously criminal.

I thought about people that I know who have committed crimes. I'll exclude traffic violations, drug use, and underage drinking. I have a very close friend who, when he was younger, had a bit of a shoplifting addiction. He did it once when I was with him, and I got really upset about it, and he seemed to think that was funny. He had a couple of friends that would do it with him, too. The stupidest thing about that was that we had a mutual friend who had served time for petty shoplifting, and was serving a 5 year probation sentence at the time. I think my friend assumed that the issue I had with it was a moral one, and though that was a part of it, it exasperated me mostly because of the consequences he faced if he got caught. None of the trinkets he made off with were worth all that.

Mort
08-10-2008, 09:15 AM
Most of you seem to be of the opinion that under-age drinking, smoking and speeding laws are too restrictive.

What about slightly worse crimes like:
drink driving,
assault,
suicide (if that's illegal where you live),
threatening violence,
carrying illegal weapons - or using them
abortion
robbery
spousal abuse
rioting.

Drink driving has such a high social stigma attached to it that this stigma has a higher effect at keeping people from driving under the influence than a law ever would have I think, unless you want to set the punishment extremely high. Still, people keep doing it though...

People who (tries to) commit suicides should be brought back to life, and then executed. Justice is nice isn't it?

Let them abort! Especially when the kid is about 14 and complains about it being unfair being home at eleven and complain about the food being served, and what ever happened to breakfast in bed?

All the rest I am firmly a proponent for, try to do one of them at least weekly. I'm a firm believer of "if you don't get caught you havn't commited a crime" :rolleyes:

Another crime, what do you think of embezzlement? Tax evation (looking at you Sei'Taer)? :D

Terez
08-10-2008, 09:18 AM
White collar crimes destroy lives, too. I take them pretty seriously.