Crime & Punishment – Talk Will Not Help

Imagine anything we dislike, disapprove, or fear: murder, rape, robbery, war, racism, sexism, blah, blah, etc.

Why not train people not to do them? We do. That is what society does. If everyone learned what we were taught is right, when we were growing up, we would not need to worry.

  • We teach our children not to kill
  • We teach our children not to hurt
  • We teach our children not to steal?

Some people ignore these teachings and murder, rape, and rob.  Welcome to the world. Those things have existed, and will exist in every human culture on earth.

Out responses have taken every form possible since the dawn of time. What evolved is what works best; none of our methods is perfect, and most of our methods take three forms:

  1. Pain – Penalties after the fact.
  2. Obstacles – Decrease chances of success
  3. Aversion – Decrease the appeal

No one of these forms is enough, in fact all three forms are necessary to deal with problems of human nature.

  1. Pain – exact a price from those caught after the fact; public condemnation, fines, confinement, restrictions, exile, punishment, execution, all apply. The cost of a perpetrator’s defense is so immense that it serves as a financial penalty. For some, these prices serve as deterrents from repeat offenses; for others, penalties convince them to avoid committing the crime; for the rest, no price will deter them except death.
  2. Obstacles – slow, reduce, or divert the impact of the actions. Security systems, guards, walls, fences, weapons, patrols, raise barriers an offender must overcome to succeed.
  3. Aversion – advance exposure to consequences others suffer, might keep culprits from risking doing us more serious harm.  Aversions act like inoculations against disease.

The police serve all three functions.

Every wise person, family, neighborhood, community, and nation invests in all three approaches. Society can try to educate asocial and antisocial deviants out of their proclivities.  They should also try to educate and prepare good citizens to prevent, prepare, and take action to thwart crime.

How effective do you think it would be to plan to teach criminals not to have or use weapons in the commission of their crimes? And how wise would it be take all defensive weapons away from the law-abiding citizens, thinking criminals would give up their weapons?

Violence is part of our human nature. I know of no country that does not cope with and manage violence through the three methods described here. I know of no country that ever stopped violence with only talk.


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