Op-Ed: If We Made Crime illegal: We'd Have a Crime Free Utopia
There’s been a lot of talk in the United States lately about Gun Control and whether or not it will make our streets safer. Both sides have made impassioned arguments but it is clear that they are making no headway, as tragic mass shootings continue to plague the nation multiple times this year. Even in Canada, where we think we are comparatively safer, large cities such as Toronto have seen an increase in gun violence this year. So what’s the issue here? It seems that everyone from politicians, to lawyers, to activists, to the media can’t wait to give their two cents on this subject. However, I believe many of them are missing the point: if we just made crime illegal, there would be no more crime.
I know it’s a radical idea and I’m willing to take a bit of flack for it, but it really is such a simple solution to the epidemic of violence that I can’t believe nobody has thought of it yet. If we simply went into the criminal code or, nay - the Constitution, and enshrined the outlawing of murder, theft, assault, rape, and all other forms of crime, it would send a message to those no-good thugs out there that these things are not only frowned upon, but punishable by our society. I bet you a lot of them would think twice before going out and becoming a criminal.
This would cause a ripple-effect through society down to its very fundamental levels - the children. Those we want to protect. Those on whose backs the future rests. If I were a child growing up in a disadvantaged neighbourhood where turing to a life of crime - perhaps even violent crime - would be one of the few opportunities I had in my life, I would certainly strongly reconsider that if I knew that these were illegal. The threat of the police being on the lookout and ready to arrest anyone committing a crime would be a terrifying thought to any would-be criminal, and thus the cleaning up of our oft-blood-soaked streets could begin.
We often like to tell ourselves that we come from a society that instilled in us strong values and a moral compass of what is right and what is wrong. As a product of the Catholic School System, the Lord literally knows how many times we were instructed to obey the Ten Commandments, passed down from God to Moses more than 3000 years ago. While these commandments do set forward may noble goals - ‘Thou Shalt not Kill’, ‘Thou Shalt not Steal’ - the generations of leaders that came afterwards have failed to actually enshrine these ideals in any kind of legal form. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. This is not a problem restricted to Judeo-Christian cultures either. Across the Eastern world, various faiths of old - Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism - have laid down in their own religious texts a set of moral rules for believers to follow, following the same basic guidelines. But yet after centuries and centuries of crime and bloodshed, these have yet to have any kind of impact on official legal proceedings. But with my one simple proposal, that could all change.
The police could actually begin to make a difference in communities - rather than sticking to their current duties of crowd control and handing out drinking tickets, they could actually start being able to arrest those who murder, steal, assault, rape and lock them away under full authority of the law. A law that prohibits all such toxic behaviour.
I imagine a brighter future, where the words “Hey, you can’t do that - that’s a crime!” will actually mean something instead of just wishful thinking. Hopefully times will change and the leaders at the top will begin to realize that when you make crime illegal, you will see less criminals. It’s as simple as that. And then, my friends, the future will be a bright one indeed.