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  • #16
    Many so called "victimless crimes" have a wider impact on society than the individual (or are at least perceived that way) and are therefore outlawed. A couple of brief examples taken from above:

    Prostitution: Impacts society in two areas: Public health (spread of STDs) and defacto slavery of some people (typically women, but not always.) If you don't think a pimp is a slaveholder, talk to the girls in the stable. It will open your eyes to the way the real world functions.

    Speeding: Impacts society by endangering others. Direct costs associated with damages and healthcare for accident victims and secondary costs due to the investigations (both police and MEs) and continued healthcare costs are enormously high. While insurance covers some direct costs, others are written off as a loss. In either event, insurance premiums rise. Most secondary costs are borne by the taxpayers.

    Are there ways to deal with these things, mitigate the costs to society and eliminate the crime? Sure, there probably are. However, some of those things can be costlier in the long run or have a worse impact.

    On the other hand, some "crimes" are merely religious holdovers (sodomy, gay marriage, Sunday "blue" laws) and have no reason for existing at all at the secular level. As such they should be removed from the power of any civil authority. If the members of a religious community wish to impose such laws on their members as part of their practices, they are certainly welcome to do so, but such things should never be enforced at the civil level.
    Last edited by Thorn; February 14, 2006, 10:08.
    Thorn
    "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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    • #17
      The laws are basically broken into two types: Malum in se, and Malum prohibidum. Malum in se are things that are just wrong, like robbery, rape, murder. Malum prohibidum laws are illegal because a statute says so, like jaywalking, prostitution, driving without a license, etc. Stay out of the former and then geography dictates the latter.

      Most everyone here knows that I spent seven years as a photographer in places that were less than ideal. Yes I drew attention to myself many times in my course of employment, and yes I had to give camera lessons to many police officers who knew no better.

      I still have no idea how taking pictures of a bridge will help the bad guys. They can probably even buy the plans for the bridge online.

      Now in the last few years there have been some pervs out there putting smaller cameras in dressing rooms, on their tennis shows, and other stuff that used to be unheard of. A new market sprung up. Now folks with cameras may be seen as suspect, especially if they are a young male. I say phooey. It ia not now nor has it ever been illegal to take pictures from a public location. If you don't want me shooting in your windows, close them! That is the only way to be sure, for sure.

      When Roy was bitten by his white tiger, everyone in the scheme of things wanted a video to try to figure out what happened. They were begging folks for images or video. Hello! You made it illegal to take cameras into places like that! Same with places where a bomb went off like in Bali, or 9/11. Everyone send the .gov for your film!

      If you ask me, making Americans carry cameras would be a better idea.

      My Mom would never be questioned for carrying a camera. Most folks with instant cameras or little disposable ones ought to be just fine. Spend a few bucks on a good lens and walk along the beach and you will be harassed to no end.

      A cop may stop you and ask what you are doing. If you are taking pictures, say so. If he asks why, ask him where this is going. He does not really care if you took a picture, he cares of you are going to do something bad. I suppose you can be chummy with the guy, that may help, but then you get folks who block your car in untili they call a supervisor (thank you Long Beach Port Police!).

      I am so tired of their questions, I just ask "What did I do?" They usually do not have an answer.

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      • #18
        One I dont think has been mentioned is the mandatory seatbelt laws. If I choose to endanger my own body when I travel in a vehicle, thats my choice.

        I've heard the excuse its to stop you from being ejected out of the car and into another vehicle.

        You cant drive a car without your seatbelt.. Its a health risk apparently.
        However you can buy cigarettes and smoke all you want.


        I myself have been stopped for photography, surrounded by 3 cars & 5 police.
        Apparently a passerby felt the need to call and report the "suspicious activity".

        I was taking photos of a power plant located on a lake. When asked why? I didnt really have a response.
        Why do people photograph ducks? or Flowers?

        After this event I went online and found out how many people had similar experiences.
        Last edited by [Syntax]; February 14, 2006, 11:03.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Thorn
          Many so called "victimless crimes" have a wider impact on society than the individual (or are at least perceived that way) and are therefore outlawed. A couple of brief examples taken from above:
          Which is why I said I could argue the issues either way. To play devil's advocate.

          Prostitution: The criminalization of prostitution necessarily prevents organization of the workers which would lead to more testing, safer environments, and shifting the money away from those that "do what it takes" to those that do "what's best for business".

          Speeding: During the busiest times (which is when an accident is most likeyl to occur) there is a de facto speed limit due to the fact that traffic always slows. When the highways are mostly free people tend to speed and those of us who follow the speed limit rather than the flow of traffic are a significant hazard. (Remember that the chance of an accident increases linearly with speed but exponentially with speed differences.) During inclement weather the speed limit is often too high and should also be ignored. This argument isn't entirely without merit as examined here.


          The problem with most of these laws is that they all involve a very grey area of understanding, and we, as a society, prefer to use "instinct" and "common knowledge" rather than fact because it involves less of that thinking business.

          Originally posted by [Syntax]
          One I dont think has been mentioned is the mandatory seatbelt laws.
          I was actually in the middle of writing a bit about it when I saw your post. They are interesting in that there is no downside and everyone should wear them. Why not have a law against them, then? After all, what's the harm of creating a law commanding people to do what is simply a good idea?

          I firmly believe, though, that most law-enforcement officers use the law simply as an excuse to pull over suspicious vehicles. After all, the police are people just like the rest of us and have little interest in harassing people that are simply getting on with their lives. Perhaps this law is a good thing, then, but (if you haven't figured it out) I'm in favor of less regulation and minimal relinquishing of power whenever possible.
          Last edited by Voltage Spike; February 14, 2006, 11:26.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by [Syntax]
            One I dont think has been mentioned is the mandatory seatbelt laws. If I choose to endanger my own body when I travel in a vehicle, thats my choice.

            I've heard the excuse its to stop you from being ejected out of the car and into another vehicle.

            You cant drive a car without your seatbelt.. Its a health risk apparently.
            However you can buy cigarettes and smoke all you want.
            Seatbelt use (and mandatory motorcycle helmet laws) is another one where the costs to society as a whole far outweigh the imposition on the individual. If everyone who was refused to wear a sealbelts was denied any and all crash related medical treatment over and above their own insurance, I could care less if they wore them. However, if you expect taxpayers to footing the bill for the medically uninsured/underinsured, then it is not unreasonable for the taxpayers as a whole to impose that the individual minimize the damage to themselves.
            Thorn
            "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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            • #21
              Thorn hits it very squarly on the head. Alot of the 'dumb' statutes and laws are religious holdovers and serve no basis in reality beyond keeping a certain group happy or 'because that's the way it's always been'. No buying alcohol on Sundays or not allowing stores to open on Sundays come to mind.

              The other dumb laws are ones that usually are'nt even laws to begin with, but quickly become the defacto order of things. i.e. photography of public places is not illegal, however since 9/11, etc, everyone is suspicious of anyone taking photographs, it is treated as if it were illegal and probobly will become illegal.

              (Side note: If people should'nt take photo's of the outside of public buildings, why do they still usually put large pieces of publically funded art outside the entrance? Don't they want us to photograph it and appreciate it?)

              You can also find examples (not just contemporary ones) where corporate pressure shaped laws for corporate gain. One example is hemp/marijuana. Hemp is an insanly useful product that can be used to make fuel, paper, cloth, paint, plastic, protein, soap, oil and over 25,000 other products. In 1938, DOW introduced nylon to the market and was a major supporter in having the entire hemp family declaired 'illegal' to eliminate competition, rather than just the varieties with high THC content. The law gets really sticky about possession without permit, even of industrial grade hemp. Thus the innocent possession of a useful plant is made illegal through outdated laws and corporate guidance.

              Now back to your regularly schedualed non-rant
              Never drink anything larger than your head!





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              • #22
                To go with Thorn's point about secondary effects, that is something that needs to be addressed. I've spent a lot of time around various types of bikers and one commonality is the 'who the fuck cares if I wear a helmet or not, its my head' arguement. The problem there is when Scum Dog the biker crashes his bike and becomes a vegetable his family will expect the state to pick up the tab for his continued care. If there was a way to 'opt out' when you got your license, then I'd have no issues.

                As far as the secondary effects of things like prostitution, its because they are illegal that these secondary effects exist. Good example are the legal brothels in Nevada. The girls are there voluntarily, they get tested for STDs regularly, they are required by their health code to use protection for everything from giving a handjob to anal sex, and most of them make more money than me. Yes, there are eastern european gangsters kidnapping girls and forcing them to turn tricks in New Jersey, but thats because when you ban something you create an underground economy that caters to the need. The US government helped put the Mafia on the map in America by banning liquor. We helped create the Pablo Escobars and Felix Ramons of the world by banning drugs. If we remove the prohibition against a lot of these things, we remove the secondary effects. Up in Vancouver BC there are clinics where heroin addicts can come in and shoot up. They cant buy the heroin there, but they can come in, grab clean rigs, shoot up, and stay there till they feel ready to leave. The clinics are well lit, have security guards, and are well protected. The result of this is that non-heroin using folks like myself dont have to deal with junkies hiding in the alleyways. They dont leave their spent rigs laying on the street for kids to pick up. They dont OD and die next to a dumpster where they get to rot for days. They dont get victimized while shooting up. So, by just removing partial prohibition a lot of the secondary effects get mitigated.

                I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Voltage Spike
                  Which is why I said I could argue the issues either way. To play devil's advocate.

                  Prostitution: The criminalization of prostitution necessarily prevents organization of the workers which would lead to more testing, safer environments, and shifting the money away from those that "do what it takes" to those that do "what's best for business".
                  No question it can be argued this way. Of course, one impact of legalization would most likely mean another bureaucratic organization to regulate licensing, testing, etc.

                  In fact, I have no problem with the concept for legalizing prostitution. It's just a good example of one type of law that may have more perception pushing it's current implementation than actual fact. While there are a certain number who would argue against legalization on the public health issues, I think far more people would argue about it on religious or quasi-moral grounds than anything else.


                  Originally posted by Voltage Spike
                  Speeding: During the busiest times (which is when an accident is most likeyl to occur) there is a de facto speed limit due to the fact that traffic always slows. When the highways are mostly free people tend to speed and those of us who follow the speed limit rather than the flow of traffic are a significant hazard. (Remember that the chance of an accident increases linearly with speed but exponentially with speed differences.) During inclement weather the speed limit is often too high and should also be ignored. This argument isn't entirely without merit as examined here.


                  The problem with most of these laws is that they all involve a very grey area of understanding, and we, as a society, prefer to use "instinct" and "common knowledge" rather than fact because it involves less of that thinking business.
                  Yup, and most officers recognize this. If traffic is moving at a given pace, even above the posted limit, then the people who get stopped are those on either end of the differential. And yes, (in my prior career) I've stopped people and issued tickets for going too slow. It's called "Obstruction of Traffic."

                  Most place also have laws governing when the weather or other conditions changes the speed limit. Usually said laws are referred to as "Too Fast for Conditions" or something of that ilk.


                  Originally posted by Voltage Spike
                  I firmly believe, though, that most law-enforcement officers use the law simply as an excuse to pull over suspicious vehicles. After all, the police are people just like the rest of us and have little interest in harassing people that are simply getting on with their lives. Perhaps this law is a good thing, then, but (if you haven't figured out) I'm in favor of less regulation and relinquishing of power whenever possible.
                  Where I live, you cannot be stopped for not using a seatbelt. It is a "secondary violation", meaning that if an officer observes it in the course of another violation (e.g. a speeding stop), then the ticket can be issued.
                  Thorn
                  "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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                  • #24
                    A lot more things would be legal if the government could just figure out how to tax them.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by noid
                      As far as the secondary effects of things like prostitution, its because they are illegal that these secondary effects exist. Good example are the legal brothels in Nevada. The girls are there voluntarily, they get tested for STDs regularly, they are required by their health code to use protection for everything from giving a handjob to anal sex, and most of them make more money than me. Yes, there are eastern european gangsters kidnapping girls and forcing them to turn tricks in New Jersey, but thats because when you ban something you create an underground economy that caters to the need. The US government helped put the Mafia on the map in America by banning liquor. We helped create the Pablo Escobars and Felix Ramons of the world by banning drugs. If we remove the prohibition against a lot of these things, we remove the secondary effects. Up in Vancouver BC there are clinics where heroin addicts can come in and shoot up. They cant buy the heroin there, but they can come in, grab clean rigs, shoot up, and stay there till they feel ready to leave. The clinics are well lit, have security guards, and are well protected. The result of this is that non-heroin using folks like myself dont have to deal with junkies hiding in the alleyways. They dont leave their spent rigs laying on the street for kids to pick up. They dont OD and die next to a dumpster where they get to rot for days. They dont get victimized while shooting up. So, by just removing partial prohibition a lot of the secondary effects get mitigated.

                      Excellent point noid.

                      Wishing certain things away through law tends to push them underground and make the problem worse. The 'safe injection sites' that noid mentions are a good example of a community realizing the problem won't go away just by wishing and doing the best they can to dea with a serious health problem (addiction). And noid is also right in that prohibition caused more problems than it solved (also created one hell of a boom industry for us in Canada to satisfy the US's thirst. Thanks!)

                      In Canada we have a major problem with marijuana use (I think weed is currently our #1 export. Guess who the primary customer is...). Consider if the Gov't legalized it, licensed, inspected and regulated producers, and provided rules on distribution (i.e. only sold to persons over 18, proof of age must be shown) and most importantly, tax it! The benifits outweigh the problems.

                      You suddenly put the mob (or in Canada's case, biker gangs) out of business, you collect tax money that can be put into programs to help addicts, you also make sure the supply is safe and not cut with anything harmful. On top of all of that, you now have probobly saved the taxpayer alot of money by eliminating all the 'posession of small amounts' charges cloggin gup the courts.

                      Often it's argued that legalization would cause all sorts of secondary problems. Driving while high, public 'intoxication' (public highness does'nt sound right), but we already have laws covering these things (driving under the influence). If you treat it the same way you treat alcohol, you will have similar control and similar results.

                      Just my $0.02 (CAN)
                      Never drink anything larger than your head!





                      Comment


                      • #26
                        wow! so many outstanding comments from everyone on this thread. i'll re-read them again and add my replies after dinner. one thing i wanted to respond to, however, is a point renderman made that sometimes raises a flag with me
                        Originally posted by renderman
                        In Canada ... marijuana ... Consider if the Gov't legalized it ... and most importantly, tax it! The benifits outweigh the problems.
                        i agree that tax revenues would be a significant (if unwelcome) "benefit" to the legalization of many things that are currently part of the world's underground economy.

                        however, i do not feel that pot should be thought of as something that could become a cash crop or a source of tax revenue. in my opinion, if weed were legal, it wouldn't be a retail item... it would be free. (at least for personal consumption)

                        alcohol, tobacco, etc... these are all consumer goods bought and sold at retail stores for the simple reason that the production of these substances is often long, requires investment in material and machinery, and requires painstaking effort and significant skill to do well. in short, one has to be a particular breed of expert to make a hobby out of, say, beer production. (just ask che)

                        most citizens are unwilling to setup a backyard still or hopper, complete with tanks and casks and a bottling operation. they'll just spend $20 at a local mart for a case of lager. same with tobacco... most people aren't moving to virginia and setting up long rows of plants and drying racks when marlboros are $5 a pack (or whatever the heck cigs cost nowadays) at the 7-11.

                        weed, however, requires almost no skill and effort to grow and can flourish almost anywhere. just ask the local potheads who grow their own... they'll tell you that 90% of the "effort" involved is keeping your garden concealed, etc. if anyone who wanted to could have a plant or two in their backyard, people would be giving away ounce bags in work like they currently do with tomatos and lemons. of course i could be wrong... and even with hobbiest gardeners giving away fruit and vegetables there are still many people who buy these items in stores, so who knows what would actually happen.

                        i know that i, personally, would never have a need to buy a pack of "marlboro greens" or whatever joints wind up being marketed as when the shackles are finally removed.
                        "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                        - Trent Reznor

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                        • #27
                          Actually, on the brewing front you are only allowed to brew 200 gallons of beer or wine a year for personal consumption. Resale of said homemade booze is illegal. Distilation of alcohol is also illegal in the US. That one falls under the 'its illegal because you arent giving the government their cut' ideology. They make claims about public safety, but in reality the government gets big money from the licensed distilleries in the US and the backyard hooch makers arent paying up.

                          I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by noid
                            Resale of said homemade booze is illegal.
                            how about simply giving away one's alcohol as gifts? is the transport/distribution illegal if no profit is made?

                            Originally posted by noid
                            Distilation of alcohol is also illegal in the US.
                            sweet fucking hell, that would definitely make my list of things that should be legalized.
                            "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                            - Trent Reznor

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by noid
                              Killing people is illegal, so who cares if I have a bolt action Mauser made in the late 1800s or a supressed MP5? If I'm commiting crimes with it, then nail me for it.
                              Bingo!

                              I think all libertarians realize two things:
                              1) Making something illegal doesn't make it go away
                              2) Making something illegal has its own deleterious side effects which are often worse than the ones which were used to justify making it illegal in the first place

                              Case in point: prohibition. Sure, alcohol leads to murder, rape, violence, and all sorts of actions which result from impared decision making. However, prohibition lead to the highest homicide rate in American history. Furthermore, none of the problems associated with alcohol went away because people didn't stop drinking. Prohibition removed all government regulation of alcohol, funded a lucrative black market, and criminalized ordinary citizens who just wanted to drink.

                              It all comes back to one group wanting to impose their morality upon another group in issues that don't affect the first group directly at all. In doing so, they make things worse for everyone.
                              45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B0
                              45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B1
                              [ redacted ]

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by renderman
                                The other dumb laws are ones that usually are'nt even laws to begin with, but quickly become the defacto order of things. i.e. photography of public places is not illegal, however since 9/11, etc, everyone is suspicious of anyone taking photographs, it is treated as if it were illegal and probobly will become illegal.

                                (Side note: If people should'nt take photo's of the outside of public buildings, why do they still usually put large pieces of publically funded art outside the entrance? Don't they want us to photograph it and appreciate it?)
                                But is IS illegal to take photographs of large pieces of art!

                                http://www.boingboing.net/2005/02/07...photos_of.html

                                (This one is a classic. The public isn't allowed to photograph a particular sculpture
                                because the city says that the artist retains the copyright. Seriously.)
                                "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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