Tough on Crime

What is Crime? Is crime alive? Can you feel it, smell it, or see it? Does crime bleed? Can crime learn or does it have any behavioral concept whatsoever? The obvious answer to these rhetoricals is a resounding NO! One can only broadly define crime as any thought, word, or deed deemed illegal by the current governing body. Anything that does not meet the common social standard of a society stands as crime. Crime is subjective. Things that are considered “crime” in one jurisdiction may not be criminal in another. Ergo crime is a concept and as such cannot be hurt.

This begs the question: What does “Tough on Crime” mean? You have heard it uttered as if that combination of words was required liturgy for anointed politicians. All the promises to reduce crime, and punish crime, but crime does not suffer. People that commit crimes might suffer. Men and women, boys and girls that commit acts deemed unacceptable by societal norms are labelled criminals. The acts that they commit fall into pre-defined categories that make up the crime concept. They are adjudicated according to this arbitrary standard of justice that is subjective and fluid. Often this judgement will permanently scar or in the very least damage a person for many, many years. Therefore, “tough on crime” is tough on people.

Don’t get me started on families that are torn apart. Stigmatized because daddy is a felon, or embarrassed on family day in school because someone might ask where Mommy is. Or worse, now the child is in foster care, a ward of the state, and is statistically expected to stay a ward of the state well into adulthood because children in foster care, group homes, and DHS custody are statistically more likely to be in rehab or prison when they “get grown.” Tough on crime begets tough on crime, it’s a perpetual practice to prevent positive personal improvement.

There has got to be a better way. Tough on crime does not hurt crime. We have just as much “crime” as we always have, maybe more. No, again, tough on crime is tough on people, and people helping people has always been better at healing or fixing problems than people judging people.

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