America: The Plague of Overcriminalization

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Technarchy, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #1
    We've heard the term, making criminals of us all.

    There is something like 4000 federal crimes in the US code, and then there is the states and many of their BS laws.

    This is the end result of hundreds of GOP and DNC politicians wanting to have their name attached to a legacy, not wanting to look soft on issue X, and a very stupid constituency that is always demanding a new law be written to criminalize their personal pet peeve and anti-crusade.

    Well look where it has gotten us. Police now have carte blanche access to every aspect of our daily lives and they are more than willing to kill you, beat you, maim you and humiliate you, largely without fear of reprisal from the law or the people.

    Think twice before you demand a new law, and think even harder about supporting proposed laws. Think, don't just look at the party line.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/394392/plague-overcriminalization-george-will

    If it isn't a police state now, that check is in the mail.
     
  2. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

    Southern Dad

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    #2
    That often seems to be the cry in this forum, "there should be a law…" Of course, right now we can't enforce the laws that we have on the books.
     
  3. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #3
    I've always suspected that the peculiar American habit of calling their elected representatives "lawmakers" was at the root of the problem.
     
  4. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #4
    That is probably why the US has more lawyers than just about any other country.:(
     
  5. LizKat macrumors 68040

    LizKat

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    #5
    Mr. Will's column cites plenty of disheartening stats on American use of incarceration...

    But see there isn't anything in that particular column about the ongoing privatization of imprisonment. It has certainly become big business in the last 30 years (during which time US total prison population went from 200k to over 2 million) and there's money to be made on the public side of the ledger by taking overflow inmates from other locations. This is very hard to dislodge from the plans of municipal or county budget offices now relying on such funds.

    The chance of unwriting even our "broken windows" (quality of life) laws seems miniscule. "Soft on crime" ads are every pol's worst nightmare and the admakers of today can make a paroled turnstile jumper seem as menacing as a murderer cut loose before full term of sentence.

    I should hasten to say that the US is not the only country engaged in ongoing privatization of prisons. In the US the figure is somewhere between 8-10% of prisoners who are detained privately. In Australia it runs to around 19%. But because of our larger population, the US has the largest number of such prisoners, currently over 130k (source: The Sentencing Project, “International Growth Trends in Prison Privatization”, 2013). Mainstream media have started to report more often on abuses and risks of corruption in private corrections facilities management.
     
  6. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #6
    Is this a flippant comment or is their substance behind it? Aren't the people who are elected to the Legislative Branch, those a Representaive Democracy hire to make laws, the law makers? What are you really saying?
     
  7. Technarchy thread starter macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #7
    There is probably some truth to that.

    Though with many of these laws nurturing violent encounters with police, the lawyer will be handling your estate, not your freedom.
     
  8. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #8
    settle down peaches.
    going to interpret my take from his post.

    seems we have nothing but "law makers" & little to no problem solvers.
    we elect people to try & help to solve problems, not just make more laws. we have too many freaking laws on the books.
     
  9. Technarchy thread starter macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #9
    Do you believe it's good for the country to continuously criminalize behavior to such an extent that it fosters an environment where violence against the common man by police, tedious excessive fines, and imprisonment become the norm for even the most ludicrous of infractions?

    Even the Dept. Of education has a fully armed tactical team kicking down doors... That's not odd to you?
     
  10. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #10
    the guy in NY was being arrested over un-taxed cigarrettes . everything is a "crime" , good luck getting a decent job with a conviction on record
     
  11. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #11
    No, they are elected to represent their constituents. Making laws is incidental.
     
  12. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

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    #12
    That's part of their job. The other part is to judge whether laws are necessary at all. They are not there just to pass every law that pops into someone's head.

    The problem is that the public somehow has decided to judge elected officials based on the volume of bills they pass or influence, not the substance of those bills or their necessity. Campaign speeches are always about how many bills the candidate passed. Nobody seems to question whether passing them is a good thing. A politician who passes no bills should be commended if they were all bad ideas.

    At this point, just about everything that could be harmful (and quite a few things that aren't) is covered under the byzantine layers of federal, state, and local laws. There is nothing left to criminalize. If people are still doing bad stuff, it's not due to a lack of legislation.
     
  13. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #13
    So then what is the alternative?

    Heck, I agree with Southern Dad on this, we don't, can't or fail to enforce the laws that are on the books now from the top to the bottom!
     
  14. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #14
    They are also hired to get rid of laws. Not just make new ones all the time.
     
  15. Huntn, Dec 15, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014

    Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #15
    Valid. Don't call me Peaches. I hate it when people use overly friendly names when they criticize you, like "honey", ""darl'n", and "Sweety",although you were not critizing, it had that feel. :p

    I do agree too much is criminalized, take drug abuse and addiction for example.

    Agreed.
    Yes, you you said the problem is we call them lawmakers. That is exactly what their purpose is along with being in a leadership position, of which legislation is part of the process. I did not feel your answer addressed the real issue,which is bad leadership. Unless you were inferring we as a society put too much trust in bad leadership.

    I agree with the sentiment.
     
  16. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #16
    Get rid of all the useless laws!
    The principle should be that there should only be a law on something if absolutely necessary. The principle should be, that if you are a private citizen you should take care of your own life and be responsible for yourself. As long as you do this there should be no laws to restrict you, unless you harm others.

    That is the problem with a big, socialist government. Not minding ones own business leads to laws, laws and more laws. In europe countries have a bizarre apparatus in place that just enforces laws and collects fees on invisible "services". The people on top of this machine stay rich and powerful, while the rest has to pay them. For "their own good" of course...
     
  17. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #17
    Too many laws is the problem. Wouldn't it be good to have just two laws: Honour thy Planet, and Do as you would be done by? I guess some people just have to have it spelled out...
     
  18. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #18
    Yes, with text chat, sometimes you do. :p I agree those two laws are a good starting point.
     
  19. Technarchy thread starter macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #19
    Drugs is a perfect example, but we are getting way beyond that.

    Eric Garner was killed over loose cigarettes. Why is that not a $15 citation and a conversation?

    Why does everything have to be cuffs and a felony charge? And those types of potential scenarios is growing.

    And I don't just think it's the legislators. It's a certain type of pathetic soul that thinks EVERYTHING requires a law with a jail sentence because they dont like it.

    If I can quote Marilyn Manson: "You cannot sedate, all the things you hate"...but you can send a SWAT team and kill people because they have too many tomatoes in their garden apparently.
     
  20. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

    Southern Dad

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    #20
    Since the President just decides which laws he will or won't enforce, why bother making laws? I'm still wondering if governors can decide whether they will enforce state laws they don't like.
     
  21. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #21
    I see one big glaring flaw with this. See the above bolded section. This seems to be sorely lacking in the good ole US of A right now.

    Heck, most of the laws on the books, are there because something wasn't covered, and they, the law makers, were seeing a pattern, or that it was requested as an enhancement etc. But I do hear what you are saying.

    I will take california as an example. The Penal Code us to have one section that covered a variety of weapons including guns. That same section was taken apart and done away with and now we have over 100 separate new laws in place that cover the same section that was just thrown out. Now granted there is more to each section now, including enhancements, and sections that spell out **almost** everything one might have to deal with in the street and in a court room.

    I am not being confrontational on this, I am genuinely curious as to what other think we need to do.
     

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