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04-25-19 11:21 AM

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tgags123
01-10-19 10:35 PM
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Can there be a crime without a victim?

 

01-10-19 10:35 PM
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This thread isn't really about a specific political issue, but rather an ideological viewpoint. Do you believe there it is possible to commit a crime in which there is no victim?

According to every legal system in the world (as far as I'm aware) the answer is yes. I'm fairly certain every country has laws that punish people for crimes in which no one (other than potentially the person committing the crime) is hurt, such as drug possession, prostitution, and gambling.

To me, there should be no such thing as a victimless crime. People should be free to do whatever they want to themselves, as long as it doesn't harm others. Do you want to smoke crack 5 times a day? Go for it, it's your own body that you're harming. Do you want to become a prostitute and make a living have sex with people? More power to you. Do you want to gamble away your life savings betting on black at the roulette table? That's your choice.

People may argue that things that are morally wrong should be illegal. That is a common argument with the examples I listed above, and it was the argument that made homosexuality illegal for centuries across the world. That's a terrible argument to me. The government should not be deciding what is and isn't morally appropriate behavior. Additionally, not all things that are morally wrong are (or should be illegal). Calling someone stupid is morally wrong, but you can't get arrested for it, for obvious reasons. Subjective moral arguments should not decide the law.

What do you think? Do you believe in victimless crimes?
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01-10-19 10:43 PM
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Stuff like not cleaning up your trash can be considered an offense that doesn't technically have a victim. It's not on the same level as some of the things you listed, obviously, but I don't think that you can 100% say all crime should have a victim. 

Though on the other hand I do see where you're coming from with this. Some countries can be way too strict with what is all considered a crime. Being a prostitute shouldn't get you years in jail as it does in some places. 

tl;dr I think it's a case to case thing and not something you can stick an overarching requirement on.
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01-10-19 10:44 PM
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The only argument I would make in favor of laws against those activities is that the outcomes of those lifestyles are very nearly never positive.

How many people do you know that do drugs, are prostitutes or have a gambling problem that you actually like being around or feel safe with?

I personally don't know many but if I learned that information about a person it would definitely make me wary to be around them. And I think most of us can either think of, or speculate about, the result of the lifestyle those things entail and see them as being so strongly negative that they will, at some point, become a danger to other people.

So in a sense they are illegal in order to prevent even worse criminal acts to be committed. That's about the best I could come up with on short notice
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01-10-19 10:49 PM
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geeogree : I agree that those lifestyles aren't healthy, but if that's the lifestyle you want to live, shoudln't you have that choice? I also think if those activities weren't illegal, there wouldn't be the connection to other criminal activities. If prostitutes could work as employees at a prostitution company, not only are they better protected against violence, their customers are also protected against STDs. Additionally, any of the crime related to money would disappear, because the prostitute could sue the customer if they refused to pay, an option they don't currently have.

Similar arguments could also be applied to gambling and drugs. If drugs are purchased at a regular store, the whole "if you don't pay me I'm going to shoot you" aspect goes away, because there are legal ways to go after people that steal.

I do think those lifestyles are unhealthy. But if they were legal, they wouldn't result in worse crime nearly as much as they do now.
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01-10-19 10:52 PM
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There is never a crime without a victim. But in every case of crime, that victim is, at the very least, ourselves. If we commit a crime, it damages our self-esteem and causes us to feel shame.

You could also define crime as this: Any action that causes harm to ourselves or someone else without just cause. That said, we can commit a crime in which the only victim is ourselves. Self-mutilation and suicide, by that definition, is crime. Overeating is a crime. Undereating is a crime. Yes, it's a very broad definition, but it makes sense.

That said, there are cases in which the law of the land isn't sufficient for the fuller law of justice. Justice requires that we follow the law, but not when following the law creates chaos. A moral compass is required to sift that which is correct from that which is wrong.

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01-10-19 10:53 PM
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supernerd117 : By if we are the only victim of our own crime, why is it a crime? Why don't we have the choice to harm ourselves if we want to?
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01-10-19 11:56 PM
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tgags123 : Whether or not we have the choice to harm ourselves is irrelevant to whether or not it is a crime. We are free to do what we want, but according to my definition, a crime is a crime regardless of whether someone is free to do this or that. What it all boils down to is intent.

That said, not all crimes are created equal. I acknowledge that a crime as I define it means that there will be actions, even many perhaps, that require no trial by jury. There are misdemeanors less than misdemeanors that can be taken to court.
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01-11-19 12:09 AM
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supernerd117 : That's an interesting way of looking at it. I don't agree with you, but I understand what you're saying, and I appreciate you sharing your thought process.
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01-11-19 12:40 AM
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I feel like this is a great question but a difficult answer. We have a court system set in place that allows people to defend themselves during a trial- yadda yadda yadda, we all know this.

I do not personally believe that a crime in which one person affects another that it can be inherently victimless. I do, however, believe that it's not so black in white as "Person A affected Person B negatively. Therefore Person B must be the victim."

There's a lot to go into it. Let's say the police were called. They show up and Marvin is hitting Steve. The police obviously get Marvin off of Steve to separate the two and question them. Both of them are going to have a reason on why they're the victim of the circumstance.
So Steve presses charges against Marvin.
Marvin is accused of assault and battery. Not charged, but accused. He has to have the chance to defend himself. Why did Marvin attack Steve? Did Steve hit Marvin? And then you have to take Actus Reus and Mens Rea into account.

We have to see if Marvin had the A. The apparent, present ability to carry out the act, B. If the act was unlawful, C. Meant to cause serious injury, and D. Intended it to affect another person.

It gets into the territory of well what if Steve threatened Marvin. Then, under the definition of assault (a credible threat or attempt to cause battery), Steve assaulted Marvin. Marvin would have had to respond in a means to stop himself from coming into imminent harm and take the steps necessary to prevent them. This part of the story is called causation which must be determined before any charges are placed.


So obviously there has to be a victim in a crime. But things aren't so black and white and things can be argued toward on person or the other. I believe that it's certainly possible to be more than one victim. For example in this crime, both can technically be victims. I guess this is why we have courts..
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01-11-19 09:33 PM
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Crime and justice vary between groups of people. They're whatever a demographic's general consensus is. All I can offer is my own interpretation.

Crime is spite. Unwarranted harm against the community or any of its members. This ranges from battery and theft to slander and even all the way down to littering if someone's conscious of the potential damage.

This also means that I don't agree with "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" as this is also the same spite the criminal committed, and I'm opposed to the death penalty. Realizing that giving every unrehabilitatable criminal free housing, food, entertainment, etc. for the rest of their life would be expensive, I think labor camps are the better alternative. One is forced to give back to a community which was directly and willfully damaged by their hand. I know there's a bad gut feeling that comes with hearing the phrase "labor camp", but anyone looking to labor camps as a more moral alternative to the death penalty would be bearing living conditions and basic human rights in mind. And I guarantee you that people would think twice about throwing a soda can or a cigarette butt in the ditch if they were the one cleaning them up for a week or two.
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01-11-19 11:15 PM
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Kiyo : You make some really good points. There can definitely be multiple victims in a crime, and there are definitely situations where both parties are at fault. I think what I was getting at was a little different than your points, though.

I'm talking more about situations where no one is negatively affected by the "criminal" act, such as the examples with drugs, gambling and prostitution I used in the opening post. If someone does something that doesn't hurt anyone else in any way, should it still be labeled a crime because it is subjectively considered to be morally unacceptable?

m0ssb3rg935 : Interesting, so you seem to agree more with supernerd's viewpoint about intent then? That a crime is more about the motives for committing the acts and the desired outcomes rather than the actual impact of them?

I also kind of like the labor camp idea. I'm personally a supporter of the death penalty for really heinous crimes like rape and murder, partially because prisons are expensive. There is always the possibility that someone is actually innocent though, and was just framed really well or defended in court very poorly, and once the death penalty is enacted it obviously cannot be undone.
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01-12-19 02:29 AM
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tgags123 : Yes and no. I feel like one can be criminal without committing crime. We can wish we could murder someone or steal something or cheat to get where we need to and we're thinking criminally, but unless they act with intent, it's not committing crime. So there needs to be a conscious decision and some action involved, even if there's somehow no impact in the end.

If there's an attempt at murder but the person in question gets out of it completely unharmed, were they not still a victim? What about if a fire's set with the intent of burning a town down but it burns out before any real damage is done? Still crime in my book.

I will say that self harm is the exception though because each person is their own and everyone has the right to do whatever they want with their possessions. Self harm is instead an example of a crimeless victim, in my opinion.

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01-19-19 09:32 PM
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Yes there can be a crime without a victim I.E. "victim less crimes" essentially   crimes like prostitution and drug usage where the only person your hurting is yourself as long as your not forcing it upon others or selling or promoting to kids. Me personally I don't think prostitution should be a crime as long as your not sex trafficking and forcing minors to do the act. 
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