17 Victimless Crimes

In Bolivia, a clown known only as “Mr Twister” has been threatened with prison for refusing to promise a Santa Cruz court that he would not repeat his offence. Mr Twister was charged with repeatedly feeding the parking meters of complete strangers.

Report in the Guardian, June 96

Here we look at the proliferation of victimless crimes appearing upon our statute books. The original remit of the state was to protect us from other states. As the need arose this was expanded to include protecting us from criminal elements within our own state. Now, satisfying the state’s need for increased regulation, it takes on the mantle of protecting us from ourselves.

We briefly explore the laws against cannabis use, which have imprisoned millions for enjoying a safer and happier alternative to alcohol; those governing the education of our children, which have seen parents killed and children taken into care for disagreeing with legislated educational requirements; laws covering the entire sexual arena, from determining what orifices may legally be used to banning visual or verbal depictions of the activity that creates us; laws governing permissible and non-permissible housing, which can make it impossible to live in a hand-built shack on your own land with a compost toilet; and forfeiture laws in America which routinely deprive people of large sums of their legitimately earned money as punishment for having unknowingly neglected to fill out a required form, or for accidentally making an incorrect entry upon a form.

It would seem obvious that more laws against victimless crimes creates more criminals and less resources to reduce the number of victims of actual thieves and violent criminals. It will be obvious to readers by the end of this chapter.

Greg's posts on this

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In the chapter titled Victimless Crimes I write of an imaginary situation where the police might shoot somebody for threatening suicide. Seeing it as an amusing concept, I never imagined it actually happening. It happened in Utah when Jose Calzada,

Protecting a child or defending their authority?

At issue in the sad case of young Ashya King is NOT concern over the life and well-being of a young child but a response to his parents’ defiance of the state’s authority over them and their child. This story

Faking Crime Figures apparently not a crime

Yes, the police manage and massage the crime figures to meet targets and objectives and get away with it, as Simon Jenkins reported in the Guardian. I’ve written about the inherent problem of a system in which those who deal

Victimless crimes get life in prison

From The Guardian: At about 12.40pm on 2 January 1996, Timothy Jackson took a jacket from the Maison Blanche department store in New Orleans, draped it over his arm, and walked out of the store without paying for it. When

The crime of not wasting food

in The Telegraph Sept 6, 2013 When Sacha Hall realised her local Tesco was throwing away thousands of pounds of fresh food following a power cut, she thought there could be no harm in taking some to eat. But to