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Fri 11/11/05 at 09:47
Posts: 18,185
Sticking with the prison issue can I present another issue?

I accidentally, but stupidly, assisted in the burning down of a barn with a compensation claim reaching 200,000. I got 200 hours community service and a 2000 compensation payment.

During this incident my solicitor and PC Dave Lofting of the Huntingdon Police said to me "If it was a shed you wouldn't be in trouble".

So basically, I am a criminal because it was a lot of money I accidentally destroyed, I am not a criminal if the money was low??? But the crime is exactly the same. If I had burnt down something worth little I am not a reckless arsonist but if it is worth a lot I am???

How flawed is this.

During my community service I have met a chap named Steve. He is a very very nice guy, he helped me build a ramp (actually I helped him but lets not bicker). His wife left him and threw him out the house. 2 of his children want to live with him so that has made him feel better. The sad thing is he hasn't a home. He contacted the council and they are still, 3 months after he was kicked out, looking for a place to live. (he has a very small income).

Anyway the council understood that he was living in his car. One day after a mates birthday he comes back to his car after 4-5 drinks. He falls asleep only to be awoken by a knock at the window. He is breathalised and is given 100 hours community service for being "drunk in charge of a vehicle". The council wrote a letter explaining to the court that it was his home. They didn't care.

Now from both of these cases you could say neither me, nor steve are criminals. I was an idiot but hardly deserving of the label "criminal". Steve certainly isn't.

But then... lets take this example further. Much further.

One night a man is coming home from a late bussiness meeting. Very very late. Missing his family he tries to get back before his wife and kids go to sleep. He isn't speeding, but he is tired, normally he'd have stopped by now but he is but a few miles from home. He may as well continue.

But disaster strikes, he falls asleep. He drives off the road and onto a railway line. He is hit by a train. He survives. But 50 passangers do not. The man, when he comes around is devestated. He has killed so many people, he feels physically sick and can't begin to comprehend the damage he has done. Of course the judge has no choice but to send him to prison. A hardworking human being with a good family who has never been in trouble before goes to prison for a lengthy period of time.

The families of course believe it isn't enough. The judge, to some varying agree knows, that the man he sent to prison is no criminal. But a man who made a terrible mistake.

Looking at that incident and maybe some of you can relate to it. I have been in the car with many people who are driving home tired. From concerts or one day music festivals mainly. Worn out and exhausted my girlfriend drove 100's of miles home and nearly fell asleep. It could have been her, it could have been me... it could have been you.

Of course similar stories are found all the time involving drunk drivers.

What defines a criminal exactly?
Tue 15/11/05 at 14:26
Posts: 68
I think where you lost me was with the line :

"What he's clearly saying is that people aren't perfect, and just because we aren't perfect that doesn't make us criminals."

Perfection and criminality bear no relation to each other, though I admit sometimes they become the opposite ends of a scale, by the self-appointed moral police of our country.

I'm talking about the media primarily, but I'm sure you're aware of the type of torch igniting morons I'm referring to. The media has such influence in our society, sometimes morality is the deciding factor in criminality. This is wrong.

Morals may have a big part to play in creating laws, but once they are put into place, the discussion of right and wrong should be at an end. If you don't agree with a law, write to the government, take part in a political campaign, or move to a country where the laws are different. If you do not have the time or cannot be bothered to commit yourself, then continue to break the law. But be fully aware that your actions may lead you to being tried under our legal system, and don't come crying to us when it happens.

I don't agree with many of our laws. Speed cameras are the bane of my life. But I only have myself to blame for getting caught - no-one forced me to speed.
Tue 15/11/05 at 13:40
"respect my che"
Posts: 21
Cycloon wrote:
> go ahead and rewrite the lawbook.

If only someone would.
Tue 15/11/05 at 13:34
"gsybe you!"
Posts: 18,825
I did read it, my point was exactly in reference to yours - 'We shouldn't be criminals'?

You broke the law, end of - please, go ahead and rewrite the lawbook. You're again imbuing 'criminal' with 'bad' in an ethical sense INSTANTLY.
Tue 15/11/05 at 13:34
"Wanking Mong"
Posts: 4,884
Isn't it more a case of the law being an ass, and justice being about common sense?

It's impossible not to be guilty of some sort of crime during ones life, unless one stays in a tightly locked darkened room for all time. Which would probably see one arrested for loitering.
Tue 15/11/05 at 12:00
"respect my che"
Posts: 21
For crying out loud, read what I said before you jump on the bandwagon. I agree we're all criminals because we all break the law, but thats the problem, because we clearly shouldn't all be criminals. Now that's not to say we aren't all breaking laws, what im saying is that some 'laws' are clearly rubbish which is WHY we are all criminals.

Is it SO hard to understand?

It shouldn't be about the 'level' of criminal you are, or whether you're hated by the general public or not. It's just simply almost impossible to stay within the law which surely shouldn't be right.
Tue 15/11/05 at 11:42
"gsybe you!"
Posts: 18,825
Maolin Shunks, you're a criminal if you break the law - we all are criminals really. Criminal by definition does not mean 'evil mad rapist', it means 'one who has broken the law'. Ergo, you are a criminal.

Morality has nothing to do with the definition, it has everything to do with the connotation. If you have to cut the rope, you killed someone. You murdered them. However, that doesn't mean you'd get treated in the same way as a serial killer in moral terms.
Tue 15/11/05 at 11:06
"Pouch Ape"
Posts: 14,499
Smedlos wrote:
> Have a look at The Wright Stuff on Channel 5 now they're debating this
> issue.

Oh Jesus...Matthew Wright is like a mini Kilroy. The whole show is based on reading whatever is on the front of the tabloids, then opening up the phone and "txt" lines to the inhabitants of mongland for a screaming match - whoever shouts loudest wins.
Tue 15/11/05 at 09:56
"Wanking Mong"
Posts: 4,884
Maolin Shonks wrote:
> Now if everyone can stop telling
> me the moral issues of law that would be great as its rather boring.

Heh. Nice to see that staff are still refraining from being dictatorial...
Tue 15/11/05 at 09:46
Posts: 10,009
Have a look at The Wright Stuff on Channel 5 now they're debating this issue.
Tue 15/11/05 at 09:33
"respect my che"
Posts: 21
If i didn't understand law Borat I'd be in prison. Everyone is spouting that things are illegal, and yes, if you break them you're a criminal. That's no news to me. It's what they consider to be illegal that sometimes I have problems with. Now if everyone can stop telling me the moral issues of law that would be great as its rather boring.

I don't frankly care what Dringo did, and I have no idea either seeing as I've been around for about 2/3 weeks, but I agree with him in that sometimes the law is pretty daft. Go on, argue about it, still true :)

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