This article is from the Lawful
Arrest/Search/Seizure FAQ, by Ahimsa Dhamapada
email@example.com with numerous contributions by
1.7: Isn't "committing a crime" the same as "violating the law"?
"Crime" traditionally has *not* been defined in terms of
the Law, moreover, it *cannot* without leading to paradox.
If the law is the "prohibition of crime", and crime is
"that which the law prohibits", we do not come closer
to an understanding of anything. It is a tautology:
a circular definition!
Crime must be defined in terms the victim's injury.
This is known by the Latin: "Malum In Se", meaning "Evil
of itself", true crime. Thus, if there is no injury,
there can be no crime.
"We suspect he's involved in ...
-- from Terry Gilliam's film _Brazil_
The facts of the crime are collectively called (more
Latin!) "Corpus Delicti" [From Gifis]:
1: A victim who has sustained an injury
2: A criminal cause (as opposed to an accidental cause
or act of god).
Here are examples of true crime, which always produces a
victim with injury:
o kidnapping or taking a hostage/slave/prisoner
Conversely, Laws ("Malum Prohibitum") are seldom defined
in terms of victims or injury. These are all examples of
common violations-of-law for which there is no *guaranteed*
o Possessing a thing (plants, weapons, books, music)
o Not Possessing a thing (insurance, ID, license)
o Having bad intent (usually in combination with another
victimless crime, like "possessing a thing WITH INTENT
to do something really horrible")
o Having an opinion (contempt of court)
o Talking about doing something really nasty (conspiracy)
o Having improper velocity (speeding, loitering)
o Existing in public at a certain time (curfew)
o Gambling (unless it's the State Lottery!)
o Buying or selling sexual pleasure
o Most motor-vehicle or traffic "offences"
Judge: You are accused of "injuring no person"!
How do you plead?"
Accused: I try to "injure no person"
at all times, m'Lawd!
In fact, certain categories of law are not defined
in terms if the severity of act, but in terms of the
severity of the punishment!! (e.g., Felony, "Capital
Offenses", etc.) Thus, ridiculous as it might seem, *if*
the punishment for spitting on the sidewalk was death,
it would be considered a felony!
Which leads the author to ask:
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE,
AND COULD ONLY CHOOSE ONE,
WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING WOULD IT BE?
o Society should seek to reduce "Violations of State Law"
o Society should seek to reduce "The causing of injury"
The author suggests that a truly free, thoughtful, and
civil society shouldn't give a damn about one, but care
very deeply about the other.
WARNING! Once you realize this simple fact, it may change
your entire world view. You may stop eating cheeseburgers,
for example ;^)