How Can We Stop Bad Guys? – Three Approaches

Why are the lamest notions floated as rhetorical questions?

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.

  • Why not teach murders not to kill?
  • Why not teach rapists not to rape?
  • Why not teach robbers not to rob?

Are you kidding? 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.

Penalties exact a price from those caught after the fact; public condemnation, fines, confinement, restrictions, exile, punishment, execution, all apply. Law enforcement is integral to holding violators to account. Merely the cost of the perpetrator’s defense is so immense that it serves as a financial penalty. For some, these prices serve as deterrents; (to people who might consider adopting these behaviors); for others, paying these prices deters them from repeat infractions; for the rest, no price will deter them except death.

Obstacles can slow, reduce, or divert the impact of the actions. Security systems, guards, walls, fences, weapons, patrols, raise barriers an offender must overcome to succeed.

Aversion is advance exposure to consequences to lower the likelihood that culprits will want to pay the price to do us harm.  Aversions act like inoculations against disease.

Every wise person, family, neighborhood, community, and nation invests in all three approaches. Suggesting that a society can educate asocial and antisocial deviants out of their proclivities instead of educating and preparing the good members to prevent, prepare, and take action to thwart crime, is asinine.

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 did not need to 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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