On Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 8:40 PM, Stephen Paul King <stephe...@charter.net>wrote:

>   Why does it seem that there is no motivation to consider the victims of
> criminal behavior?
>

In trying to be proactive in eliminating the causes of criminal behavior, we
are considering the victims - by trying to avoid having anyone victimized in
the first place.

Similarly, in trying to deter criminal behavior, we are considering the
victims.

And in trying to rehabilitate those who have engaged in criminal behavior
we're trying to avoid future victims, and also trying to find ways for the
criminals to repay any debt to society - in part by becoming productive, tax
paying citizens.

Any discussion of criminal behavior is, in a real sense, "about" the victims
of that behavior as well.

Further, victims have a means of redress for actual damages in the civil
court system.  Which has a lower requirement of proof.  In criminal court,
the burden is on the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  In
civil court, the burden of proof is initially on the plaintiff, but can be
moved to the defendant under some circumstances, and the required standard
of proof is only "more likely than not".

Recall that in the O.J. Simpson case, OJ was acquitted in the criminal case,
but then lost the civil case against Nicole's family and ended paying
damages to them anyway.

If you happen to be unlucky enough to be victimized by a criminal with no
assets...this inevitably raises the question of why they have so little.
 It's unfortunate for you that the crime occurred, but unfortunate also for
the criminal that life has led him to a such circumstances.

Similarly, criminal behavior caused by mental illness - such occurrences are
like tornadoes, or earthquakes, or rabid animals. Mental illness is just an
unfortunate consequence of how the world works. It's unfortunate for those
afflicted, and it's unfortunate for the rest of us too.

I don't think that anyone chooses to be mentally unbalanced...but that's
where some people end up. As with all illness and misfortune, probably best
to remember: "But for the grace of God, there go I."




> The article that was originally posted seemed to imply a start of a chain
> of reasoning that leads inevitably toward arguing for a government control
> mechanism where *any* behavior can be declared to be criminal and thus in
> need of adjustment.
>

I think you're imagining things.  Get a hold of yourself man!  You're
getting all panicky and hysterical.




> The ban on smoking that is occurring in the US is a good example of this,
> IMHO!
>

It's a negotiation between non-smokers and smokers.  As fewer people smoker,
the balance has shifted in favor of non-smokers.  We're all trapped here on
the planet together, and there are going to have to be rules in order for us
to keep everything on track.  Fewer rules is better, but no rules is not a
realistic option.




> A secular version of a theocracy, for example. The movie Equilibrium (
> http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238380/ ) comes to mind.
>

I think you shouldn't rely on movies like this to inform your views
on...anything.





>      The main problem that I see in such schemes is that they inevitably
> lead to situations where a small elite decide what is and what is acceptable
> behavior, i.e. tyranny.
>

"Inevitably" is way too strong a word.  I'm extremely skeptical that a
smoking ban will lead to totalitarian government.

Not all slopes are slippery.  In fact, *most* slopes are not slippery.  It's
entirely possible to stand securely even on a fairly steep incline.

Either you're engaged in fear-mongering, or you don't have a good grip on
reality.




> Only when the individual is self-incentivized to "to the right thing" do I
> see a general diminution of criminal behaviors.
>

"Self-incentivized"?  What does that even mean?

No humans are born knowing the "right thing" to do.  They have to be taught.
 The incentives have to provided by their environment.  By family, and by
society.

So what's this non-sense about self-incentivization?  You're not even
thinking logically.




> But such requires that the true causes of criminal behavior be identified
> and minimized at an individual level, not by some state institution.
>

If statistics over a population show some recurring pattern or trend, then
those statistics are most likely reflecting something real and structural.

If not *all* people show the behavior, then it's likely not "human nature"
that is to blame, but rather the way society is structured that produces the
behavior that is seen in individuals.



> If criminal behavior is the result of natural predilections within humans
> then are we going to have to genetically engineer out criminality?
>

Again, there's no reason to carry things to extremes, except for rhetorical
propaganda purposes, which is what I think most of your post amounts to.

You don't want to take reasonable steps, so you extrapolate out to some
extreme and then invoke the inevitability of a slippery slope.



>      Perhaps there is no complete solution to criminality, maybe there are
> just various methods that work in some cases and fail in others.
>


Perfect is the enemy of good enough.  That there is no perfect solution
available is not a good reason for refusing to make incremental
improvements.


Rex

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