Saturday, January 14, 2012

Draco lives!

One social phenomenon of the last 20 years, give-or-take, has been a consistent toughening-up of laws and/or penalties---all done on the premise of combatting "the steady increases in serious crimes" and the need for "a response equal to these threats".

Theoretically speaking, the premises seem logical enough on a fundemental level.
However, such simplistic reasoning fails to take into consideration the more complex and circumstantial nuances which comprise most situations involving any kind of illicit actions or activities.

Like, for example, the fact that the motives for committing certain types of acts may differ from individual to individual.
One person may do something cruel and malicious because they simply enjoy seeing others suffer---whereas another person may do something equally as bad out of revenge targetting a specific party who they feel has wronged them in some way.
Hence, the mindsets behind each act are different, even when the acts themselves are equally despicable.

Another point to make:
Social class and the inequitable and disproportionate way different people from/of different backgrounds are generally treated.
...and the fact that some of the worst offenders are among the most "favored" of the general populace:
those with the most money, or the most friends, or among the best-looking, or the most charismatic.
...people like them are always going to be able to convince others to "give them a break" or "a second chance".
They either can afford the most cunning lawyers who are adept at manipulating both the written laws as well as people's emotions...
...or they have a strong "support system"---friends and colleagues who can vouch for their character and such.

In short, such individuals are most apt to "get let off" with either minimum penalties or even have their charges reduced to lesser offenses with lesser penalties.

And, after enough occasions like the above, the whole legal system is going to start having the appearance of being chronically ineffectual.
And power-and-control junkie opportunists are going to start playing on the emotions of the impressionable and clueless among the bigoted majority, running off Gregorian rhetoric about how "the criminals are getting off easy" or "how soft our judges are" and how "crime is out-of-control" and how imperative it is to "toughen existing laws as well as stiffen penalties and legislate newer and tougher ones as well".

But the above doesn't work, never has, and never will.
...Because, as mentioned above, the "favored" among us will always be cut plenty of slack, no matter what.
...It's the "lesser" people who take the brunt of society's iniquities, including the vises of it's legal system.
It's always the social misfits, the aesthetically unappealing, the pariahs, the heretics who "get the book thrown at them"---who always get the maximum sentences, who are prosecuted and convicted on trumped-up charges, who have to settle for "public defenders" because they can't afford REAL lawyers ("public defenders" defend the public---not the client. Hence, they're working for the opposition---the community who's now "out-to-get-you". Sort of along the same line as asking the prosecutor himself/herself to stand up for you).

In short, any time society introduces a stern law---or toughens the penalties for existing ones ...or broadens the stipulations comprising what constitutes a certain already-present offense on the books...
...what ends up happening, essentially is that those who are already getting the worst punishments---those who already have to be "the most responsible for" whatever's wrong with society---stand to endure even harsher punishments in the future for the the same or similar offenses and infractions.

...while those who have-the-advantage will continue to keep "getting breaks" no how much or how often the legislators keep passing one bill after another to further stiffen laws and penalties.
...and the worst offenders are often among those who have-the-advantage.

This is why all that "War-On-Crime" stuff doesn't make much sense or hold much water.
The premises are all wrong.

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