Wednesday, June 22, 2011


1. Crimes against property.

2. Crimes against people.

3. victimless crimes.

Are there really such things as victimless crimes? If two people agree to do something and neither is hurt by the doing, or one person does it alone but no one is injured, what is the harm? Where is the crime? PeeWee Herman wants to know the answer to this.

•Marijuana use
•Public intoxication
•Not wearing a seat belt (and no accident has occurred)
•Public nudity

Some of these are on the books because they offend public morals (that is, they violate the right of a community to set its own standards.) Some are on the books because they could possibly cost the public money (like you can drive without a seat belt if you want to, just don't ask us to send police or an ambulance if you hit a tree and get thrown 100 yards and get all cut and broken up.)

Can you think of others? I mean other TRULY victimless crimes?

And what if the act is beneficial to society but still illegal (such as beating up a lawyer or dragging a politician behind your car.) Should a person still be punished for those "crimes?"

Is there such a thing as crimes against society? If so, do "victimless" crimes fit in that category?

Is vigilantiism ever justified?

Should drug addicts be sent to prison because they rob homes to get money to buy drugs? Or should they be intensely counseled and mentored?

What about "hate" crimes? Stupid or needed? If it is a capital crime to murder a homosexual in Wyoming, will enhancing it with a hate crime add-on make the murderer take longer to die or what?

What if most of the people think something should be a crime (like screaming obscenities at the funerals of dead soldiers for the purpose of hurting the families) but the constitution says it is just fine and dandy to do that? People are just out of luck?

Inquiring minds want to know.


  1. In my opinion, the term "crime" should be restricted to acts where one can or does inflict harm on another, leavened by the willingness of said victim to accept the crime. Taking someone else's car is a crime. If the victim is your parent and they'd rather you stole the car then bail you out of jail, it's not a "crime."

    Another factor, not mentioned in the original post, but important, are the rights of children to be protected, from their own folly and from the folly of their "protectors."

    By that definition (my own):

    *Drug use is not a crime, but distribution/sale of drugs is.
    *Public intoxication is not a crime unless it hurts a business or results in a crime (like assault).
    *Suicide is not a crime, just sad.
    *No sexual act between consenting adults is a crime. If one isn't consenting or an adult, it could be criminal (with some caveats on where the line of "adult" is, since it's different from state to state and the question of what you call it when both participants are underage). Prostitution, in my opinion, should be legalized and regulated for the protection of the participants.
    *Not wearing a seat belt should not be a crime. Not fastening your kids' belts is a crime.
    *Public nudity is not a crime to me, but I'm not harmed by it. To me, it would have to depend on where it was. Wandering around the beach naked might be different than wandering around a gradeschool.

    Dragging a politician is not a victimless crime unless you are willing to support the local call girl industry or his illegitimate children.

    Crimes against "society" doesn't mean anything to me, unless you count spreading lies as truth, like that vaccinations cause autism. I'm fine with freedom of speech but believe it needs to include responsibility for the effects of that speech, especially if it's a self-serving lie.

    Is vigilantiism ever justified? Yes. Stopping a crime seems readily justifiable. I wouldn't hesitate if I saw a rape in progress and I wouldn't be gentle about it. If something happened to one of my children, I can't say I wouldn't do something illegal in response, including kill, but I'd do it willing to pay the consequences. In Texas, that means the death penalty.

    Drug addicts need to be held responsible for criminal acts. People are responsible for their actions. If taking drugs is a victimless crime, you can't use it as an excuse. One way or the other (and I've already taken my stand).

    "Hate" crimes strikes me as stupid. I don't see the advantage in labelling something a hate crime. If you've done something horrible to someone, isn't that hateful enough?

    I'm willing to accept that screaming obscenities to grieving people is "freedom of expression" if beating the ever living crap out of them in return is equally protected. I think it causes the same amount of pain. "Freedom of speech" has been used to allow people to do all kinds of horrible and unkind things. Freedom comes with responsibility. Want to do it - pay the consequences.

    Just my opinion.

  2. Amen Steph... you should run for president!!

  3. Ah, Jeff, you'll give Relax Max nightmares.

  4. Oh my. Too early in the day for my brain.
    Crime. such a wide range of possibilities.
    Our laws are of course, varying from place to place, what's a crime in one place may not be in another.
    Setting out to deliberately hurt someone? Surely that should be universally a crime? Yet all manner of people from aerobics instructors to dentists do that every day.

    I'll just respond to some of the points you raise.
    Marijuana use? for genuinely therapeutic reasons, such as multiple sclerosis, fine. But I've known a lot of weed smokers, It never did much for me, I generally said "No thank you", and had a cup of tea instead. In my opinion regular weed smokers are not enhanced by it. "Clap 'em in irons!", I shout.
    Public intoxication: It's not the intoxication I abhor, but the behaviour of many intoxicated people. If you can reel your way home, without picking a fight, puking in public, pissing on the street, attempting to drive, shouting/singing/weeping loudly, falling over, damaging yourself, other people or property, then good luck to you. So long as nobody else suffers as a result.
    Suicide? Well, it's de-criminalised over here, though it's still illegal to knowingly assist, aid, or abet a suicide.
    most people, no matter how despairing, will hurt someone else if they take their own life. Then again, I can't think vindictively about anybody who is in so much despair that death seems the only way out.
    Prostitution. There's a difficult one. So hard to define.
    But yes, I think it should be illegal, for both prostitute and customer.
    Seat belt? Bicycle Helmet? Oven gloves? Where will it all end?
    Public Nudity? Having lived in Scandinavia, where there's a very different attitude to nudity, and where nakedness is not seen as a sexual activity, I have no objection to it.
    A lot of bodies look better covered up though.



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