Just say “NO!” to crime prevention

The video posted here reminded me of something important.

This lept out at me like a cat with firecrackers exploding at its feet;

“The question is…how do we prevent people from committing crimes in the first place.”

No it isn’t. NO IT ISN’T!

The question IS; how do we protect liberty and dispense justice equally and reliably? The concept of crime prevention doesn’t even belong in the conversation, that is, if we’re talking about legislation, which we are.

How many people understand this? It’s there in that pledge, thingy; “…with liberty and justice for all.” Note the absence of any mention of crime prevention in the Pledge. You don’t find it in the declaration of Independence either, unless by “crime” we mean government overreach (in THAT case it’s in there, and I’m all ears if we’re having a conversation about preventing government overreach).

You can in theory have liberty and justice, OR you can have “crime prevention” legislation, but they cannot exist simultaneously. They’re mutually exclusive. The former defines a free state and the latter a police state.

The term “liberty and justice for all” takes crime as a given, a fact of life (if there’s no crime, there’s no need for a justice system). It’s an acknowledgement of the obvious – that people can do bad things. Because people can do bad things, we need our liberty protected and we demand justice. The term enshrines our right to self defense, free speech and all the rest, and promises a system of correct, organized, consistent and predictable retaliation (justice) for criminal acts.

I don’t think this is widely understood anymore. It certainly isn’t taught, and yet it is at the core of American Principle. Liberty and justice are two sides of the same coin. Crime prevention legislation is an entirely different coin, of a currency we want nothing to do with. I could say this a thousand different ways, but who gets it?

No, Little Grasshopper; crime prevention is the excuse of every police state. Having your rights respected and protected and having a proper justice system is the best condition of government you could ever ask. The prevention part is a combination of individual self defense and moral leadership, and neither of those are government business. That’s your job as a citizen. Crime prevention is your job. If it could be done with government force, (and all the worst places you can think of) would be crime free.


19 thoughts on “Just say “NO!” to crime prevention

  1. “…They will never stop trying to make people…better. Somewhere else this will happen again. And I’m sick of running. I aim to misbehave.”

    (poorly paraphrasing Captain Mal.)

  2. Plus, you prevent crime by making crime far too costly for criminals. Not by restricting rights of the general populace.

  3. The only way I think you could “prevent” crime without jackboots is exactly what they don’t want.

    You don’t try to prevent the crime…you find a way to incentivize avoiding the motives. (for example, if we could make our criminal justice system more effective at deterring crime, people would be less likely to commit!)

  4. Crime prevention is not the proper role of government. Justice is, and the concept of justice is very simple – the punishment fits the crime. The instant the purpose of the justice system becomes “crime prevention” then deterrence becomes more important than justice, and you have injustice. You throw kids in jail for harmless trespassing, for example, which is an injustice, and yet it happens because someone wanted to use the justice system to “deter crime” INSTEAD OF using it to dispense justice.

    On the non-government, personal level, you deter crime by being a moral leader and an example, explaining property rights and so on, and of course as a last resort you deter crime using self defense as appropriate. See how the left cannot possibly tolerate these concepts? It would undercut their entire world view, and so they must concentrate on “prevention”. They have no choice.

    The concepts are very simple.

  5. Lawdog had a GREAT idea a while back for how our prisons could be more effective…

    Does anybody have that link?

  6. If the government can prevent you from committing a crime, then you are not free.

    • Bingo!
      You’ve just reduced the whole post and all the comments to one, clear sentence.

      • So, warlords in Somalia have a freedom that you can only dream about…. Right?

        • I think you are going to have to elaborate a bit before most of us can grasp what you are saying.

          I don’t think anyone is saying that there shouldn’t be carefully drafted laws and enforcement of those laws. If you want another one-liner that attempts to encapsulate the thought the try this, “No more victimless crimes.” If someone can’t be shown to have their rights been violated and suffered harm as a result then there is no standing to prosecute anyone.

          As an example, someone carrying a concealed pistol while dropping off their child at school could not and should not be charged with a crime. Neither should someone who shortens the barrel of their shotgun to something less than 18 inches. Nor should someone who fails to register their firearms.

          • Good point; many people fail to understand the meaning of justice.

            Prosecuting the pistoleer for dropping the kid off at school while carrying a gun would be an injustice, as is any victimless “crime”, and so it doesn’t apply here as a crime at all. That’s one of many cases of people are having their lives ruined by government, for political reasons. They are political prisoners, or are oppressed in other ways for politics.

            If people don’t know what justice means, they’ll not be able to follow along here, that is true. I was sort of hoping someone would chime making that mistake. Ubu has come in and done it.

            There’s always that conflict between having an advanced conversation and putting on a remedial class, or trying to blend the two together somehow each time around.

            Ubu is of course merely being coy – grasping, trying to muck up the conversation and get attention. There’s always one or two of those in any classroom;
            (teacher) “Water is wet.”
            (student) “Nu uh.. What if it’s in solid or gaseous form?”
            “Fire burns.”
            “Not necessarily. It depends on what you mean by “fire” and “burn” and so on and on and on. If you spend your time responding to the agitator, you fail to make your point, or it gets lost in the chaff.

            I once asked a very pointed question about foreign policy on Ron Paul’s web site, and was treated to many thousands of words on the possible meanings of the word “Zion”, which I’d never mentioned. My question was buried in a chaff bomb because it scared the shit out of them.

            Anyway; those of you out there who haven’t grasped the simple meaning of justice (you “lovers of complexity” as T. Kerry put it) are going to be having fits reading this, I know. You’ll probably never get it, so just move on.

          • So the guy who stockpiles enough bomb making supplies to blow up his block in his apartment would be committing a victimless crime?

            Where do you draw the line on concealed carry at school? If they have kids, it’s okay? If they don’t, it’s not? How would you distinguish between innocent CC and CC with intent to shoot up the school?

          • Lyle,

            I was commenting on what TS said above: “If the government can prevent you from committing a crime, then you are not free.” Obviously Somalian warlords can’t be prevented from doing anything by the government. Somalia doesn’t have a functioning government — so the warlords are really “free.”

            The real question is: Who wants to live with that kind of freedom?

  7. “So the guy who stockpiles enough bomb making supplies to blow up his block in his apartment would be committing a victimless crime?”


    He would not be committing a victimless crime, because in a truly free society ‘stockpil(ing) enough bomb making supplies to blow up his block in his apartment’ wouldn’t be a crime in any form. DEPLOYING a bomb that destroys other peoples property *would* be though. An argument could be made for ‘criminal negligence’ should his stockpile be stored improperly and as a result unintentionally cause damage, but to stay intellectually honest, one would have to wait until such damage occurred.

    “Where do you draw the line on concealed carry at school? If they have kids, it’s okay? If they don’t, it’s not? How would you distinguish between innocent CC and CC with intent to shoot up the school?”

    Again…there’s no line to draw. The act of carrying a firearm is, in and of itself, not a criminal act as it harms no one. Shooting up the school *would* be, but the ‘legality’ of the firearm carry is moot at that point.

    Personally I think you need to ‘check your premise’ UBU52. You have become so adapted to the concept of Malum Prohibitum ‘crimes’ that you don’t have a proper frame of reference for what constitutes an actual Malum En Se ‘crime’ for which a punishment is warranted.

    • What I see is that those who don’t like regulations are the same people who cry (after something happens) “whocouldanode?!” Like with the fertilizer plant explosion. Things could have been done beforehand to mitigate the damages but they weren’t. On top of that, the company had very little insurance. If they are charged with “criminal negligence,” that’s not going to be very satisfying to those who lost lives and property. That will not make the victims whole again.

      Lyle likes to talk about how government is supposed to protect property rights. When one person’s property rights supersedes the property rights of 1000 people, I don’t believe that is good government.

      So, are these things really “victimless” crimes? Or are they “pre-victim” crimes?

      • “So, are these things really “victimless” crimes? Or are they “pre-victim” crimes?”

        Again, you are presuming that any particular given act constitutes, in and of itself, a ‘crime’.

        “What I see is that those who don’t like regulations are the same people who cry (after something happens) “whocouldanode?!””

        I disagree. In my experience, by and large folks who are adverse to .gov regulations oppose them because they tend to know more from first hand experience what does and does not make sense/work. See Joe’s posts about the silly regulatory requirements for the ‘new’ Taj Mahal.

        Government regulations need not be involved in developing ‘best practices’ for any given industry. See the NEC (National Electrical Code), AAR (American Association of Railroads), and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). All of which, to the best of my knowledge, are regulatory bodies within their own industries that are most decidedly *NOT* controlled by .Gov regulatory interference.

  8. Somalia is not a free society. Freedom needs a functioning, very limited, and powerful government. They have anarchy, which means the gangs are in control, which is tyranny. But you knew that already.

    The idea of one person’s rights “superseding” another’s is ludicrous, since everyone has the same rights.

    In all authoritarian societies, some people are given different treatment by government than other people, usually depending on affiliation. If you’re concerned about inequality under the law, about some people’s “rights superseding other people’s”, you’d be a libertarian.

    Also; I talk about crime and you change the subject to industrial accidents.

    Also; If your bar for agreeing to a free society is that there must be zero accidents, zero crime and zero death, well, you have ulterior motives. I could make the same argument against your apparent desire for authoritarianism– Look at any and all authoritarian, fascist, socialist, Progressive (or whatever term you use this week for a planned society) and show me one that qualifies under your requirements for a free society (that there be no horrible accidents and no horrible crime). You can’t. It’s impossible. They tend to be far worse by those standards. And it misses the point entirely, because the point is a purely moral one, and you’re putting impossible, physical and situational requirements on it.

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