Crime stats

Postby Somebody Strange on Mon Jul 16, 2001 9:09 am

Very interesting concepts you discuss in your note on crime statistics. You're correct -- most victims of violent crime are victimized by someone they know, not a total stranger.<P>In fact, kids who are abducted are usually abducted by a friend or relative. The ones you hear about on the news tend to be the strangers and psychopaths, because police have a much harder time finding those kids. Schools are pulling back on their "Stranger Danger" programs and pushing more towards "Protect Yourself" programs -- stuff that includes "Stranger Danger" but also points out that you can't necessarily blindly trust people you SORT OF know. The next door neighbor may not be a stranger... but he may not be someone you should go home from school with, either.<P>Marilyn vos Savant (you know who she is, right?) once made a great point about crime and punishment. People who commit crimes in "the heat of the moment" often receive lesser sentences. Our legal system and our general moral sense seem to suggest that people who plan their crimes carefully and "coldly" are more dangerous than people who are subjected to major stress and react. She disagreed with that concept. Truth is, people who plot are usually rational (albeit not very ethical) and could change their minds when reason is applied. Say you have a brother who plans to kill you because he thinks you're sleeping with his wife -- if he learns you're <i>not</i>, he probably won't want to kill you, right? But someone who can just snap, someone who can't deal with adverse situations... that's a scary person.<P>The argument is that people who snap have done so for a very specific reason. That may be true. But it's also a matter of a person who could not control himself, and I personally would rather have that person kept off the street.<P>Just my $0.02.<P>--Strange/Dave<P>------------------
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Postby Tim Broderick on Mon Jul 16, 2001 10:20 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Somebody Strange:
<B>Very interesting concepts you discuss in your note on crime statistics. You're correct -- most victims of violent crime are victimized by someone they know, not a total stranger.
</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>So that really brings up interesting plot choices: Is it scarier to have the killingr be a random act of terror, the result of a brief link in life? Or is it worse if it's your brother?<P>A recent murder in Charleston, IL (not far from you Dave) hit on this a bit: A student was murdered by the guy who lived across the street. Whether they knew each other or not is unknown - at most, it was one of those "hi, how are you" relationships. <P>But as a writer, how fair is that to the reader? You'd have to have a serious red herring to hang the book on, then all of a sudden it points to the guy across the street.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>
In fact, kids who are abducted are usually abducted by a friend or relative. The ones you hear about on the news tend to be the strangers and psychopaths, because police have a much harder time finding those kids. Schools are pulling back on their "Stranger Danger" programs and pushing more towards "Protect Yourself" programs -- stuff that includes "Stranger Danger" but also points out that you can't necessarily blindly trust people you SORT OF know. The next door neighbor may not be a stranger... but he may not be someone you should go home from school with, either.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Or a father - like the one in Mexico who raped his own daughter. It's that kind of thing that makes me want to go home and promise to my kids and wife that I will never, ever do that.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>
Marilyn vos Savant (you know who she is, right?)
</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Parade magazine columnist, allegedly the person with the highest measurable IQ currently living. (No, I didn't know who she was but the information was just an internet search away <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspace.com/forums/wink.gif"><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>once made a great point about crime and punishment. People who commit crimes in "the heat of the moment" often receive lesser sentences. Our legal system and our general moral sense seem to suggest that people who plan their crimes carefully and "coldly" are more dangerous than people who are subjected to major stress and react. She disagreed with that concept. Truth is, people who plot are usually rational (albeit not very ethical) and could change their minds when reason is applied. Say you have a brother who plans to kill you because he thinks you're sleeping with his wife -- if he learns you're <I>not</I>, he probably won't want to kill you, right? But someone who can just snap, someone who can't deal with adverse situations... that's a scary person.<P>The argument is that people who snap have done so for a very specific reason. That may be true. But it's also a matter of a person who could not control himself, and I personally would rather have that person kept off the street.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>True. I think the rationale for lighter sentences for crimes of, shall we say, passion was that if it weren't for a specific incident that pushed the person over the edge, they wouldn't have committed the crime (not unlike your example of the brother). <P>As far as I'm concerned, the only difference between the two is time. How much time passes between the decision to kill (or whatever crime) and the actual act shouldn't make any difference. The problem is that the decision was made and it shouldn't make any difference whether the crime was committed in the next second or the next week.<P>The only bearing on the guilt ought to be what caused the decision to be made and whether there was intent to kill. Someone who stabs someone out of anger should be treated more harshly than someone who pushes someone away in anger, that action resulting in an accidental fall that causes death.<P>Oh, and in case you think that's a spoiler for the current story: it isn't. Straton was murdered <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspace.com/forums/wink.gif"><P>------------------
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