I am home again after being in California for a week. I haven't even STARTED on trying to get caught up on everything that has transpired while I was out and had almost no Net access.
Anyway... it was a long drive. 16 hours, in fact.
On the drive back, some people were driving SPECTACULARLY stupid. That got me to thinking about how laws are made in this country.
Drunk driving is a bad thing. In 2000, the US Congress adopted a federal standard of 0.08% BAC ("Alcohol and temperance in modern history"
By Jack S. Blocker, David M. Fahey, Ian R. Tyrrell) as a limit. Before that, the accepted level was 0.1% in most states. Penalties did not increase that much, but it is now far easier to violate the law.
Now, let's look at a recent development in Japan. The Japanese parliament has made even PRIVATE copying of copyright material illegal
. In the US, we have the DMCA
The Federal Register
is well over 80,000 pages by now
The Code of Federal Regulations
contains more than 4000 federal crimes in over 27,000 pages
The point is... YOU ARE A CRIMINAL. You just haven't been charged with a crime yet.
We have made it easier and easier to be a criminal without substantially increasing the penalty for violating the laws. We just allow our legislators to create more laws and lower limits and so forth.
Get that? Lower limits. First there was a BAC of 0.10%. Now it is 0.08%. I expect at some time for it will be lowered again. All this does it make it easier to become a criminal. Where are we going to put all these new criminals? Please please please do not think I am advocating drunk driving. I think it is abhorrent. It SHOULD be punished. I only use it to illustrate my point.
How about instead of making more laws and lowering limits, we just INCREASE THE PENALTY for the existing laws? What if, instead of making copying of your VHS tape to DVD to preserve your legally purchased video illegal, we INCREASE the PENALTY for piracy?
What if, instead of continually lowering BAC limits, we increase the PENALTY for violation? Oh, say, 1st offense, your car is taken away and you are banned from driving a motorized vehicle for a year plus you must attend alcoholic rehabilitation. Second offense? You never drive again in your life and mandatory six months in jail plus alcoholic rehabilitation, and you can no longer hold a public office. Third offense, mandatory five years prison, rehabilitation... etc.
What if the penalty was so harsh that you wouldn't even THINK of violating the law?
Multiple rape offender? Castration. Or maybe even give them sex change then throw them into general population at supermax
What if execution from death penalty violations was really slow and painful? How about screaming your way to your coffin? I think that might
be a deterrent.
Let's get rid of some laws and increase penalties for some others. It will make the hard job police have easier and deter crime. That is a win-win.
Laws don't stop crime.
Penalty for violation does.UPDATE (3:56PM):
Here is another example. Hawaii intends to ban pocket knives
. I ask you, does making law abiding citizens MORE helpless and creating a new criminal class solve the problem?