Print Post Print Post

Why Victimless Crimes Are The Problem

Written by | December 7th, 2014

Following in the highly controversial case of Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown was shot by a police officer, and, sadly, died, is the more recent case in New York City, to where an “unarmed” man, Eric Garner, died via a choke-hold by a New York City Police Officer.

In The Michael Brown case, it is pretty certain, via surveillance camera, that he did commit a robbery, and apparently had an altercation with the Police Officer, which led to this tragic ending. In the case with Eric Garner, the “crime” was so monstrous that words can barely describe it! Eric Garner was caught selling loose cigarettes. Yes, that’s right! The man was committing the heinous act of selling loose cigarettes! It is almost too incomprehensible to be true, but, Eric Garner’s “crime” was engaging in commerce, to where he, “the seller,” was selling cigarettes to “willing buyers.”

I realize, in both of these cases, the men who died were both black men; and, that neither case should have had this tragic outcome. As a result, there is a huge debate going on as to whether or not there was a racial element to all of this. For the sake of this post, I will, however, forgo the racial element of this story, and focus on a problem which, I believe, very well could be at the heart of it all: And, that is victimless crimes.

Throughout The Twentieth Century, to the present day, there has been an outright explosion of “victimless” crimes, from alcohol prohibition, to drug prohibition, to Government-mandated smoking prohibitions, to telling adult citizens when, how, and where they may use their cell phones, all the way down to the criminalization of hiring volunteers for “your business,” and feeding homeless people in parks. I think any clear-minded American can see the absurdity with so many of these “Laws,” but, the problem is, often, that we don’t draw a distinct and finite line in the sand; rather, most people chose to say, “I don’t believe that people should be allowed to use “illegal” drugs, therefore, they should be prohibited”! Or, “talking on your cell phone may, could, or might cause an accident, therefore, everyone needs to be banned from doing it”! But, the broader point is not whether or not we agree with a particular Law, the question is, what kind of Governments are we allowing to take root, and how much do we cherish our Individual Liberties?

When we demand that a clear-cut victim be identified, in order for something to be criminal, it fixes a prudent standard onto local Governments and Police Departments. It also directs limited resources to where people are truly being physically harmed, robbed etc. by an actual perpetrator. If this were the case, we could be pretty certain that Eric Garner would be alive today; and, millions of other Americans, rather then being treated like hardened criminals, being thrown in jails, killed in Police raids etc., could be much more productive members of society.

Anyone who has a basic understanding and respect for Free-Markets, and Freedom itself, should, I would hope, understand the absurdity of many of these so-called Laws, and the plethora of unintended consequences that follow such Laws.

Furthermore, when Governments are free to create endless amounts of VICTIMLESS crimes, it creates Governments that see no end to what can be “criminalized.” And, as history demonstrates, it doesn’t end well.

Share
Like/Follow us
on Facebook

24 thoughts on “Why Victimless Crimes Are The Problem

  1. Mark Ross Post author

    “The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” – Ayn Rand

    Reply
  2. Kori Peterson

    Question for ya: do you think DUI should be illegal when there has been no victim? Example: an officer pulls over a intoxicated driver and arrests him even though the drunk didn’t actually crash his car and cause property damage or injury to another.

    Thanks. :)

    Reply
    1. Mark Ross Post author

      Thank you for the comment, Kori!

      To answer your question, I think it is disgraceful that a person can be arrested and charged with a crime when there is no other person injured and no property damage. It is The Nanny State run amok!

      It is also one of MANY ways that Government has instilled fear into us in order to get more Power over our lives, and to siphon more money from our wallets. And, sadly, most Americans fall for it!

      If there is to be a crime, it should be based on the FACT that you have actually injured someone, or damaged someone else’s property due to being intoxicated. Not based on what could, might or may happen. What could, might or may happen is completely arbitrary.

      Reply
      1. Michael Kasper

        I must, with respect, disagree with your response, Mr. Ross. I adamantly oppose laws that target thought (hate crimes) and laws that target potentially self-destructive behavior (drug use).

        With regard to drinking and driving, however, I feel there is an important distinction. The act of driving on public roads, in a mentally impaired state caused by conscious drug or alcohol consumption, is an act threatening enough that the right to life of those sharing that road exceeds someone’s privilege to drive on it. I feel it is equivalent to firing a loaded pistol into an office building. Even if no one is struck by a bullet, the shooter made a conscious decision to place the lives of those working in a level of danger to the point their individual right to life outweighs his right to operate a Constitutionally protected firearm.

        Reply
        1. Mark Ross Post author

          Hi Michael,
          Thank you for the comment!

          So, correct me if I am wrong, but, it sounds like you are saying just for the mere fact that someone has been drinking alcohol, and dares to get in their car, and drive on public roads, they should be viewed or treated as a criminal?

          And, if they drove home perfectly fine, without any incident, whatsoever, they are still criminals?

          Reply
        2. Mark Ross Post author

          Michael,
          Should we want Governments that criminalize what might, may, or could happen?

          Isn’t arbitrary Governments exactly what leads to tyrannical Governments?

          Reply
        3. Kori Peterson

          Thank you, Michael. I think you bring up a valid point to be considered. And it is the one thing mentioned in these discussions (that I have followed) that most resonates with my own thoughts. So much of the discussion has been so abstract that I have been unable to grasp it. Perhaps it’s my pea brain. :)

          Mark, do you think the shooting into an office building scenario should also be considered a victimless crime if no one is hurt? When discussing this drunk driving scenario with my cop hub, he brought up similar arguments that Michael addresses. Especially since vehicles are considered a potential deadly weapon. Of course there was a ton more we discussed and though I understand some of your reasoning, I can’t say I wholly agree, though I do enjoy thinking it all over.

          Love and appreciate you guys.

          Reply
          1. Mark Ross Post author

            Hi Kori!
            Thank you again for your comment!

            Allow me to post a comment that I originally posted here, on Facebook, to my Facebook friend, Thomas Fleres:

            Thomas: “We should not wait for the impaired driver to seriously injure or kill someone before action is taken.”

            Me: “Fair enough Thomas. So, in your mind, the crime is drinking alcohol, and getting in your car and driving, even if you drove home perfectly fine, without incident? So, if we follow your logic, you should, also, be against ALL gun ownership, or for complete alcohol prohibition: Let’s say a person owns a gun, and is drinking, is it not possible that they could act irresponsibly with that weapon as a result of being intoxicated? If we apply the same standards, the crime is no longer IF you harm someone with your gun, but, rather, the fact that you own a gun, and dared to drink while in ownership of that weapon.”

            So Kori, and Michael: By your standards, you both must, also, be for complete alcohol prohibition, or the complete prohibition of firearms. Surely, no one can be trusted to own a firearm if they dare drink or get drunk!

            Reply
            1. Michael Kasper

              Firstly, I draw a distinction between criminalizing thoughts and criminalizing future actions as compared to the conscious action of getting behind the wheel of a car when drunk or high. That is a present action; not a future action, or mere thought.
              Furthermore, I feel that context and intent matter. Just as firing that same pistol, from my example, in a vacant building you own would NOT be illegal. Firing that same pistol, in the same building, with others present and in front of the weapon WOULD be illegal. All that changed was context and intent, that is enough to make an ACTION illegal.
              One makes the same change to context and intent when they, by their actions, place my life in unreasonable peril by deciding to drive while drunk or high.

              Reply
          2. Mark Ross Post author

            “Mark, do you think the shooting into an office building scenario should also be considered a victimless crime if no one is hurt”?

            In all due respect guys, that question doesn’t really make sense: An office building, generally-speaking, would be considered private property; and, on private property, the owner gets to make the calls. If a person is firing shots in a person’s home or place of business, it is up to the owner to call the police, or somehow put an end to it.

            Conversely, on public property, we, the tax-payers own the roads; and, just because some group feels a need to have some “false sense of security” doesn’t necessarily mean that other tax-payers, and owners of the same roads, have to lose their rights.

            Reply
            1. Michael Kasper

              That is simple. Change the building to a public school… at that point it is a public building. If no one is harmed, should the shooter be unpunished? I certainly feel they should be punished for putting the students’ lives in unreasonable danger, as should the drunk driver.

              Reply
              1. Mark Ross Post author

                So then, would you be for the complete prohibition of firearms, Michael, if it is found out that a firearms owner is daring to drink or get drunk? Or, should we keep the ownership of firearms, and just completely ban alcohol? Surely, people can’t be trusted to own a firearm if it is found out that they have drank.

                Reply
              2. Mark Ross Post author

                In response to Andrew’s comment, I have, inadvertently, responded to the question about a person firing shots in ANY building:

                “If there is going to be a reason to ticket a driver, and pull them off the road, it should be for the act of reckless driving. Reckless driving is the point to where an impaired person actually becomes dangerous to other people on the road.”

                So, to put that in a similar context, you and Kori saying that the act of simply drinking and driving should be a crime is like saying a person simply carrying a gun should be a crime. If “no one acted recklessly,” then no one was put in harm’s way.

                Reply
  3. Andrew_M_Garland

    What if the drunk driving arrest derives from weaving between lanes? Is there a responsiblity to operate dangerous machinery without clear impairment? Shouldn’t intentional and dangerous acts be illegal?

    Reply
    1. Mark Ross Post author

      Hi Andrew,
      Thank you for the comment!

      In short, the answer is yes. If there is going to be a reason to ticket a driver, and pull them off the road, it should be for the act of reckless driving. Reckless driving is the point to where an impaired person actually becomes dangerous to other people on the road.

      Reply
  4. Thomas Fleres

    If there are people in the private building and the owner doesn’t care about bullets flying around, I think it should be a crime. Someone is bound to be injured or killled.

    Reply
    1. Thomas Fleres

      After all, did we not agree that the reckless driver was a threat to the public? Well if someone is shooting bullets into a building occupied by others, they are a reckless shooter. It is the same type of scenario as the reckless driver.

      Reply
      1. Thomas Fleres

        When it comes to drunk driving, a distinction has to be made between assuming someone is too impaired to drive and seeing that someone is too impaired to drive. If someone simply walks out of a bar and drives off in a car, it is wrong for law enforcement to pull over that person. Law enforcement in that scenario would simply be assuming that the driver is too impaired to drive. If however law enforcement witnesses this same driver driving erratically, they now have probable cause to stop the driver and check for intoxication.

        Reply
        1. Mark Ross Post author

          Thank you for the comments, Thomas!

          I think we would ALL agree on that Thomas. Firing a loaded gun around a crowd of people is tantamount to a drunk driver, or any driver, driving very recklessly on the roads.

          Reply
        2. Mark Ross Post author

          THAT, in regards to drinking and driving, is the point I have been trying to make all along, Thomas! However, I might even go a step further and say, stop criminalizing drinking altogether; why not just say, the person is driving recklessly, regardless of what the cause of it is? What if a person is sleep deprived or on prescription medication and driving recklessly? Would that not be equally irresponsible? The point of having Police Officers should be to provide for public safety, not to tell people how to live their lives.

          Reply
    2. Mark Ross Post author

      Thomas,
      What if a person, who is carrying a gun in a state where it is perfectly legal, is seen exiting a bar by a cop: would it be wrong for that cop to stop the person who is “legally” carrying that firearm?

      After all, wouldn’t the same principle apply: The “assumption” that this person COULD BE a threat to society?

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook