It was suggested that crimes in which no one was harmed should not lead to punishment by incarceration.
The following are examples of crimes which can place you in a jail cell without the direct harming by you of any person:
- Possession of certain types of sexually oriented material
- Attempted murder (and any number of "Attempted" crimes)
- Possession of controlled substances
Now you can make any number of cases and examples, for instance threats causing harm because you are invoking "fear" in people and then this becomes a Torts discussion ---
But the bottom line is, in my opinion, that believing victimless crimes are not crimes, is like believe consequences dictate your actions. Tool wrote a song called Jerk-Off that everyone should listen to regarding this.
We can shift the discussion to the prison-industrial complex and how many people are in jail - but I would also like to hear thoughts on the morals of this.
Really what I want is GermanStar to expand on this because it was his original assertion that made this thread.
І що орел, коли його орлина зграя
Не рве з землі в блакить ясного дня,
І що за лицар ти з усмішкою льокая,
Без гордих дум, без честі і ім'я?
It's a tough road to hoe, but you'll need to clarify the examples you've posited, in regard to harm. You've provided six examples, at least five of which can conditionally cause harm. For example, dependent upon circumstance, perjury might lead to grievous financial harm inflicted upon one or more individuals. No harm, no foul is fine, but harm comes in many flavors....
Bear in mind also the conflict between punishment as deterrent and retribution.
Had [the Framers] known the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they might have been more specific. They did not presume to have this insight. They knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom. Justice Anthony Kennedy, Lawrence v Texas, 2003
So if I shoot in your direction and I happen not to hit anything and no one get harmed - I shouldn't go to jail?
Originally Posted by GermanStar
Did you demonstrate an intent to harm?
An intent to harm is not of itself harm. Now you're focusing on *intent* instead of harm.
But if you want to go there, say I get drunk some night and just go shooting in general directions mostly in the air for the fun of hearing the gun go off and seeing the pretty sparks fly out of the end of the barrel. I don't want to hurt anyone and don't mean to. Through a series of miraculous coincidences, none of the bullets cause any damage, they all fall to earth without damaging anything or anyone.
To me that needs to be a punishable offense. We don't want people shooting guns indiscriminately just as we don't want people driving drunk.
But some drunks will find ways to get into cars, and some felons will find ways to get guns. If fines don't stop them, or if they can't afford the fine, what then? The olden days it was "thirty days or thirty dollars"; maybe that's the option, only adjusted for today's dollars? Then you end up valuing a life that might be taken as well; is $100,000 enough for the old guy he might run over next time?
At present there is simply no way to preclude the ability of a determined drunk to get behind the wheel of a car. Perhaps at some point in the future that will be possible, once the government convinces us we all need chip implants or something. Either way, as of now, it's not. So what is the other alternative?
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