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Tighterning the law

category national | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Monday January 16, 2012 21:35author by JIm Travers Report this post to the editors

It's what I want, it's what everyone wants.

It would appear that new rules and regulations introduced by government are designed for the purpose of securing revenue for the state rather that resolve problems of law and order. Take for example RSA who-ha, who-ha that gets great press, lots of photo shots and then nothing. Within a short period of time all is forgotton and what was supposed to make a difference (regulations regarding learner drivers, taxi drivers ect, ect) is swept aside and left on the shelf to gather dust. And this applies right across all sections of Irish society where the band plays, colour lights flash in all their splendour, as suited gentlemen take the bows and then move on to more public eye catching events leaving everything as it was in the first place.

Stronger laws, stiffer jail terms and zero tolerance is what we need to curb the rise in violent assault that leads to injury or death. I want it all, I want it all to apply to everyone and I want it now. I want to sleep safe and secure at night, I want my children to be able to walk the streets at night knowing they will be safe from the thugs and wasters who crawl around looking for the opportunity to do anything. I want stronger laws that protect my family from the rest of society, but I cannot and will not agree to laws that stop me from singing my heart out at two in morning while people try to sleep. I cannot agree to laws that prohibit me from urinating on my neighbour’s car because I feel it a discomfort to wait until I open my hall door. And if someone says boo to any of my family I feel it my constitutional right to kick the daylight out of them for interfering in something that is none of their concern. Yea, I want strong laws to apply to everyone except me.

Oh the discomfort in having to stretch to the right of my drivers seat in order to pull a belt across my waist. Why should I be told to keep down the noise when I want to party all night long? Its my right, I have rights you know, its my freedom to express myself in whatever way I so feel fit. I live in a democratic country that gives me the right to say what I think and to a lesser extent do as I feel. I know the laws of the land protect me, laws that will come to my defence by providing legal counsel that will argue my innocence even though I know I am guilty. You are right, there is no respect in the country anymore. We blame young children, teenagers and young adults for the problems we see in our society, a society that has gone hell bent on the promotion of violence and disrespect. We forget to admit that both we and our parents are the constructors of the society we see today.

Little Johnny can do no wrong, even if little Johnnie is the biggest bast-rd that ever walked the earth. Over many years politicians caved into pressure from minnow groups who screamed about justice for the guilty but forgot to mention in their protest the right to justice for the innocent and victims of crime. We are at this point because we sought a justice that slid in one direction to the detriment of the other. Government wants to bring in a sliding scale of justice for drink driving, yet we know this proposal has two objectives. The first is to secure revenue for the state through financial penalties and the second is to enable a greater level of flexibility that will give judges the legal ability to crucify motorists who stray, while at the same time minimise the inconvenience to politicians and their business friends who are stopped by the Gardai for driving on the wrong side of a motorway while under the influence of the combined contents of a brewery. This is Ireland for ye, a country where those who are supposed to lead by example just sit back and pray that God will do something before we are all condemned to hell. The presidential farce tells us a lot about Irish politicians, political party's and a number of others in the public domain. Our legislators now reside in their own world of make believe and attempt to apply rules and regulations that bear no resemblance to the real world occupied by everybody else. This is why law and order is drifting towards anarchy; legislators debating about the colour of a sticker while society moves from grey to bleak to lost. Individuals have their own opinion about resolving problems of law and disorder, yet collectively there is no answer or solution that will address the same problems that are seen and recognised by all. This therefore points to a serious problem with our legislators and their inability to legislate in the greater interest of society rather than that of the individual or the right of law in itself.

author by Tpublication date Tue Jan 17, 2012 23:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While I understand your concerns and especially the perspective that the criminals whether they be the government or some regular thug seem to get more of the spotlight and the victims pay the most, I think you are viewing this from the way the mainstream media, especially some of the tabloid papers present this kind of world view.

First take your point: Stronger laws, stiffer jail terms and zero tolerance is what we need to curb the rise in violent assault that leads to injury or death

This is the typical black/white or good/bad approach that the capitalist media present. They frame the debate as either or. So for example, following your argument, it would mean there should be tougher and longer sentences for robberies.

But its not that simple. For example in Kenya, you can get the death penalty for robbery. Yet the robbery rate is high, not low. Why is that? Because what the thieves do is they don't rob houses as individuals. They go around in gangs of 10 or 20. And what they do is they regularly kill the occupants if they get in and with their numbers can more easily get away and fight over any opposition. Many houses there are like fortresses, with high walls, razorwire and electric fences, 24 hour guards etc and grilling on all windows. So you see the people just respond or evolve to whatever you do in terms of the law.

In the case of those countries where they practiced zero tolerance, they happen to be countries where the private prison industry has taken a hold and I can only assume that it is this industry has been behind the media campaigns and endless news releases and media coverage of crime to generate public opinion in their favour to solve the 'crisis'. To go off on a tangent for a moment, during the Reagan years they launched a media blitz about drugs and drug crime and this increased "awareness" was used to effectively launch the Drug War which has cost 100s of billions, and many 1000s of lives. However the statistics from the period show there was no dramatic increase during the period of the blitz but surveys/opinion polls showed that Americas had perceived things to have got dramatically worse.

So getting back to zero tolerance, prison rates went way up. Prison rates are measured as the number of people in prison per 100,000 of the population. Most of Europe varies from about 70 to 160 per 100,000. In the UK it is at the higher end and has increased in Ireland in the last decade. The rate in Russia is circa 550 per 100k as you might expect and China is even worse at about 660 per 100k. What many will find surprising is that the land of freedom and opportunity is actually worse than totalitarian China and now stands at about 720 people per 100,000. They practice zero tolerance there. It is almost impossible to calculate the damage this does to people, families and the children of people in jail -given that you go to jail for very very minor things in the USA. So the zero tolerance just accelerates the social damage. And one may ask, but surely this costs a lot just to pay for the prisons. It does. But for the elite it is a very cheap way to keep things in check otherwise the lid would have blown off the deep social tensions with US society along time ago. It is simply the cost of preventing a rebellion or revolution arising. Its a bargin for the elite.

So you may ask what then is the answer to all these social ills? Well there is a treasure trove of research linking crime with poverty and they are not neccessarily the obvious direct links in terms of mechanism. It more relates to when you have a society such as Ireland today where all the supports are being removed to pay off the financial gamblers debt, that our health system is being systematically taken apart and converted into a private health system, all help for people with disabilites going, education cuts, social welfare cuts, community welfare cuts and on and on and on.

What is happening is that the social fabric of society and all the pieces and services it needs to function properly and to enable people to have a decent living, relatively stress free, with good health is being dismantled because this represents money diverted to these things that can now being diverted to the rich. They are not content with what they had in the past. They want it all now and they are getting it. We are being penned into a barbaric system. This is why you see what you see.

There was a very good book a number of years ago called the 'The Status Syndrome' by Michael Marmot and through a wealth of facts, he shows how as the overall stress of people in society goes up, the crime goes up and the life expectancy goes down and it even goes down for the rich too.

So to answer your article above, it might be best to consider two different societies. Let us imagine one like Ireland probably will be in a few more years. In this society everything is privatised. Your health, education, sewage, water, bin collection, there is no dole, no minimum wage. Households pay a poll tax that started out at 100 euro and is now over 1000 euro a year. There is no public transport and most major roads and bridges are tolled. The tax rate is low but the VAT rate is high. Also housing is completely market driven and expensive. In this society there is also no state pension or free travel when you are over 65 and this puts the fear of God in people nearing retirement which has been set at 70 years of age, because to live in this society you need to have a big pot on money saved and there is always the fear you could end up in a OAP home and you would burn through your savings in a few months. Also I should add in this society most of the small shops closed becuase they could not complete with the big box stores, so it usually means you have to drive to the shops because they are so far away. However this society is a free market paradise and people like Constantin Gurdgiev love it.

Now consider the other society. In it there is universal health care, education is free including third level. You can call the Fire Brigade and don't have to hand over 500 euros. Water is free, paid for by taxes. There is no poll tax. Public transport is excellent and recently the government calculated it would cost less than 1 billion euro a year to introduce free bus travel for everyone throughout their capital city just like the case in the Belgium city of Hasselt (pop 70k). In this society there is help for the disabled, extra teachers and home help and many communities initiatives to help disadvantaged areas and other schems to improve the local environment. Cycling is also encouraged while cars are not. A comprehensive reorganisation of housing was made, and the financial model followed was that used in Germany that has 1000s of co-operatives that build and rent housing at cost value with the result that Germans only spend 20% of their income rather than 50% on housing. There is no profit incentive in these as they are co-operative local ventures by the people who collectively run them. In this society the health is also promoted and advertising by junk food outlets was banned, Schools removed fattening sugar containing soft drinks and so on. In this society there is a state pension when you retire at 65 and since everyone has free travel on public transport then it just continues for you. Since health is free, the stress and worry of having a big pot of money on retirement is a lot less. Besides the much cheaper housing means people pay off their mortgages much earlier in life and have saved more anyhow. Overall people are less stressed but this is probably because the need and urge to pay for so much is so much less. The annual 6 weeks holidays long a feature of contential Europe, being introduced was probably a help too. People feel like you can do things, go places and meet people in this society. Stress is a lot lot lower.

So now I think you can see the answer to your questions and concerns. I think we both know which society of the two above is going to have the lower crime rate.

Ah but where will we get the money for it? Why we will just take it over the 1%.

author by The Shadowpublication date Wed Jan 18, 2012 13:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

With things like rehab or treatment like in the USA.They simply execute the pusher and the user,and send the next of kin the bill for doing so.Oh they dont have long waits in their execution process like in the USA,where it can be dragged out for years with legal battles up to the supreme court to try and argue that your mass murderer is totally innocent..The Chinese simply send round one of their mobile execution wagons to do the job there and then for you..

Really like the Chinese for this,much better than our system in the West.

author by jim traverspublication date Fri Jan 20, 2012 20:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I started by highlighting a point where law-abiding people are becoming prisoners in their homes because they cannot walk the streets because of the criminal activities that take place. I get story lines that go around the world with examples of how things are done in Kenya and everywhere else. Im not interested in how they do it in Kenya or the US, my interest is in ireland. Handing people free housing, education, medical care and the rest of it is not necessarily the best way to avoid problems of law and disorder. Some of these yobbos cost the state a fortune and give absolutely nothing back to society. From my experience I know that handing people services where they have no need to make either an effort or a contribution to that service very quickly becomes abused. This is seen right across society and is not just a class related problem. Irrespective of how they do it in Kenya or the US, innocent law-abiding people in this country should not have to accept nor feel sorry or forgiving because the thug who beat the shit out of an innocent passer-by was socially deprived, out of work, stressed or just broke up with the girlfriend. Some people complain about their welfare payment being cut, yet thay can afford to buy the very latest android phones, purchase a crate of booze on payment day or complain about their inability to pay the €10 rent for their social accommodation. On the other hand you have couples who are struggling with dear life to keep the roof over their heads, find it increasingly difficult to keep bread on the table for their kids and get no help in any way from the state for the hole they find themselves in. While living on social welfare is not a luxury, the many people who do not have the luxury to be able to seek a reduction in rent because they do not live in local authority accommodation find that the once classed 'socially deprived' people who live in such accommodation are really now the socially well-off because they enjoy low housing accommodation cost, hold medical cards, bus passes various wavers and are eligible for whatever the state is prepared to hand over. All this comes through increased personal taxes, social contributions, household tax, bin charges, water charges and all the rest of the charges that are directed at those who remain working. There are decent law abiding people as there are hooks and crooks in all social classes. Using deprevation or class divide as a reason for the surge in crime and physical assault is but a political arguement that is exploited by politicians with vested interests in being seen to be all for law and order but are unprepared to call a spade a spade. Like everything else in this country, if you want to feel safe and secure, they it best you lock yourself away and forget about living beacuse when a thug decides to rob you or beat the shit out of you as you attempt to walk the streets or sit outside your hall door, because he or she is bored with life, then accept it as there will be many a voice to come to his or her defence.

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