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Calls for Police State ultimate admission of failure

Written By: - Date published: 6:32 am, June 26th, 2008 - 46 comments
Categories: crime, Social issues - Tags:

Michael Laws has called for ‘draconian, central measures’ to fight gangs; he wants the army called out. He wants military force let loose on our streets to engage in combat with an undefined enemy. Where are we? Iraq? That way lies dictatorship, military rule, the end of our freedom.

If we don’t want kids going into gangs and committing petty crimes that sometimes grow into more serious crime, we need to change the conditions that lead them into these lives. These kids are not born bad; they are not evil. They are ordinary human beings, and every human being has a propensity to commit anti-social or criminal acts, for some individuals it is greater than others. That can’t be changed, what can be changed is the conditions that see propensity realised.

Kids from happy homes, from ‘good suburbs’ with good urban design and quality housing, with parents in work, who get a good education, have a decent chance of a good future, and live in communities where people decent incomes rarely commit crimes. It is the poor kids from the poorly built suburbs with the bad schools and no jobs that commit crime. And, mostly, they commit them against other members of those deprived communities.

If we want to stop crime we need to change those communities. And the Labour-led governments have done an excellent job in that regard more jobs, higher pay for low income people, more money for health and education, Working for Families, more social workers and more cops etc. But the street kids of today had their formative years during the high unemployment, high crime era of the 1990s. The conditions of the 1990s created a generation of poor kids who missed out on a decent childhood, on getting a decent education. Turning the small percentage of them who turn to crime is hard work that needs resourcing.

Making sure the next generation has a better childhood has been Labour’s paramount success, and one the Left can continue to build on. That’s the real solution to reducing the number of criminals on our streets: not creating them.

46 comments on “Calls for Police State ultimate admission of failure ”

  1. “Michael Laws has called for ‘draconian, central measures’ to fight gangs; he wants the army called out.” The man is a politician that no one takes seriously, why else is he mayor of Wanganui instead of Auckland.

    “These kids are not born bad; they are not evil.” Sure but even in poor areas only a small percentage of families are criminal. Poverty is not in itself a reason why people commit crime: therefore throwing more of my tax money at the problem is not going to fix it.

    [yes, I talk about propensity to crime in the article. Not everyone commits crimes but put the right conditions in place and more will. SP]

  2. Steve: Let’s look at the numbers:

    1) Total recorded crime has stayed flat during Labours reign after falling during Nationals.
    2) White collar crime like fraud has fallen dramatically.
    3) Violent crime has climbed rapidly.

    [Bryan, you don’t know the stats you’re talking about – recorded crime per person sky rocketed under National and has fallen under Labour, when you talk abotu ‘white collar crime’ you’re looking at the ‘dishonesty’ catagory, eh? The bulk of the dishonesty catagory is burglaries and theft, and that’s what has fallen sharply, Violent crime reporting has increased strongly. SP]

  3. higherstandard 3

    As I said here

    Old man’s law

    Too many advocates of the root causes approach just can’t bring themselves to deal with criminals decisively and they tend to dismiss reliance on police and prosecutors and prisons as unenlightened.

    Those that would give short shrift to suppression of crime through strong law enforcement measures, but would instead rely upon dealing with root causes, are missing a basic point – social programs can’t be pursued at the expense of, or instead of, tough law enforcement policies. Law enforcement is the foundation upon which all else must be built and is an absolute prerequisite for social programs to be successful.

  4. HS: “Too many advocates of the root causes approach just can’t bring themselves to deal with criminals decisively and they tend to dismiss reliance on police and prosecutors and prisons as unenlightened.”

    Yep, too many hand-wringing do-gooders with diplomas in psychotherapy from AUT.

  5. ghostwhowalks 5

    And the police state approach and with a heavy army presence with it has worked where ?

    Northern Ireland, had effectively a police state, which didnt work, ultimately there was a political solution.

    NZ however instead of having an Assistant Commisioner for Terrorism ( who was responsible for the bungled Tuhoe raids) should have an AC for dealing with the gangs on a national basis

  6. bill brown 6

    social programs can’t be pursued at the expense of, or instead of, tough law enforcement policies

    As an, alleged, member of the medical profession I’m surprised that you think the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff is more important than the fence at the top.

  7. higherstandard 7

    Bill

    Did you read what I wrote ?

    Perhaps you should read it again and then read the link.

    In my opinion we need both approaches, properly understood, acting together.

    For those currently in gangs and contributing significantly to the crime and drug problems in this country however a very firm approach is clearly required.

  8. RedLogix 8

    SP. While I totally agree with and support the allocation of resources to tackle the root causes of crime, I’m don’t think this absolves us from dealing firmly with the existing symptoms either.

    I’m very persuaded by the idea that at risk children can be identified at a very early age and that it is possible to hugely reduce their chances of becoming career criminals if we do the right things both with them and the environment they grow up in. It’s a complex and difficult task, and I think we still have a lot to learn about it… but it’s far more effective to prevent crime than to clean up the mess afterwards. We all know this.

    But at the same time there is an existing criminal gang underclass that perpetuates itself in a variety of ways. They are like an gangrenous toe that must be removed if the patient is to ever get better. While they are allowed to exist, while we lack the courage to decisively excise their malign influence…. all our other efforts to reduce crime will be undermined.

    This isn’t a binary choice… we have to tackle BOTH the root causes and the existing effects of crime in order to have any hope of actually achieving anything. All we are doing at present is talking past each other… while the thugs and assorted scumbags laugh at us.

  9. Joker 9

    Is this another case of “it’s not your fault but poor people dont know how to raise families, let the Government do it for you”.

    What the hell is wrong with taking drastic action to smash organised crime in this country?

  10. Matthew Pilott 10

    What the hell is wrong with taking drastic action to smash organised crime in this country?

    The sledgehammer approach usually has a degree of collateral damage. I’d cite the unfortnate gentleman shot on London’s tube as a glaring example.

    I’m not sure the citizenry would really appreciate the sight of LAV-III’s and Steyrs on the city streets either. it might be a laugh for a while but what will it really achieve?

    But this is taking the extreme view. What does smashing organised crime entail for you, Joker? Didn’t the Labour govt pass a law a few years back that allows police to confiscate any proceeds of crime, in a similar vein to the US’ RICO laws? I know it’s not as sexy as a gun, but it’s probably more useful.

  11. MikeE 11

    I’d agree with you there, the only addition would be the removal of victimless crime, so police are focusing on actual crimes rather than imagined ones

    (I read last week that 16% of the prison population is there for drug offenses, which quite frankly should be a health/social policy issue rather than one of law and order).

  12. bill brown 12

    Did you read what I wrote ?

    Yes I did, that’s why I responded. You wrote:

    Law enforcement is the foundation upon which all else must be built and is an absolute prerequisite for social programs to be successful.

    (my emphasis)

    And I believe you have it the wrong way around. A lack of social programmes influences law breaking. Start with the cause, not the result.

    This does not mean I do not agree that enforcement is not needed as there is an influence, not an absolute correlation, between a lack of social programmes and law breaking.

  13. “Law enforcement is the foundation upon which all else must be built and is an absolute prerequisite for social programs to be successful.”

    Obviously, law enforcement and social programs (including better town planning and a low unemployment policy) go hand in hand But if you say you’ve got to beat the symptoms before attacking the root causes, you never get beyond fighting the symptoms.

  14. Matthew Pilott 14

    MikeE, now that National has stopped blocking it (and ACT weren’t present to veto it), Labour has passed a law that will help clear the backlog of methamphetamine cases, allowing the courts system to be a lot more effective. That should help.

    Just out of interest, who were you agreeing with?

    And what’s your take on drugs that clearly have law & order impacts such as meth, or alcohol? I’m interested in hearing where you fraw the line between the two issues, as they clearly intersect.

    I know if meth was legalised you’d take the wind out of the organised (as opposed to street) gangs’ sails, but at what cost?

    Edit: just saw Steve’s last comment. My take on that (HS’ original quote) is that you need both simultaneously – you can’t have one without the other, which is what steve and bill seem to be saying. Think we all agree there to some extent, and the answer isn’t APCs.

  15. “The sledgehammer approach usually has a degree of collateral damage. I’d cite the unfortnate gentleman shot on London’s tube as a glaring example.”

    Jean Charles de Menezes was an unfortunate victim of the fear campaign run by Al Quaeda. If he hadn’t been shot and then turned out to be a terrorist bomber, nother 52 tube commuters may well have died (no to mention 700 injured ) as in the earlier attacks. There are some people who can only be controlled by the sledgehammer approach.

    It is very easy for ‘hand wringing do gooders’ to be wise after the fact.

  16. “If he hadn’t been shot and then turned out to be a terrorist bomber, nother 52 tube commuters may well have died (no to mention 700 injured ) as in the earlier attacks”

    Should we shoot you in case you turn out to be another terrorist bomber?

    Pathetic stuff Bryan.

  17. Bill 17

    ‘Create the wealth, forget yourself’…and your community, your society. Wind up dis-empowered and atomised chasing a consumerist utopia or excluded from that chase. In either case, wind up in a situation where dealing with the daily (dis)functioning of your society is given over to outsiders; to ‘authorities’.

    And people wonder why there are problems?

    A situation in which debates centre around cops with guns, the army being called in, tougher sentences or social programmes miss the fundamental point and will not result in any solutions. At best, some of the effects of our various societies ongoing dysfunctions will be ameliorated,but not eliminated.

    We have ceded the running of our daily lives to external influences that maintain their position through the exercise of power and control. No matter how benevolent the intention of that external force is, the end result will always be a degree of alienation for the people who comprise the societies or communities that are subjected to the exercise of power.

    Where there is alienation, there will be reaction (including, but not limited to crime in its various forms). Imposing counter measures on a society to deal with crime will produce more alienation, will produce more reactions, and so the spiral continues.

    So whereas social programmes dedicated to a more equitable spread of resources and material opportunity is surely preferable to draconian ‘lock em up and throw away the key’ programmes, end results will be partial because both approaches are simply treating symptoms of an underlying cause.

  18. Vanilla Eis 18

    Bryan: If I remember the case correctly, de Menezes displayed no signs of being suspicious or dangerous at all. He walked calmly onto the train. He didn’t jump the turnstile as claimed. He didn’t have a bulky jacket or backpack, as originally claimed by the police.

    He was shot in the head at close range, multiple times.

    You favour randomised on the spot executions by the police as law-enforcement procedure? Fantastic.

  19. Joker 19

    I find it hard to beleive that the guy got blown away because the cops just felt like killing someone. Something gave them a reason to fire.

    “You favour randomised on the spot executions by the police as law-enforcement procedure?”

    It works for Judge Dread.

  20. Vanilla Eis 20

    Dredd, but close.

    I have to admit, it would probably be a fairly effective deterrent. To pretty much everything. (Including getting out of bed in the morning)

  21. Matthew Pilott 21

    Michael Laws’ comments reduced to Judge Dredd in under six hours.

    Says it all!

    Bryan, so the question here is how much more interference in our lives we wish to take. The difference here being instead of not being able to buy obsolete lightbulbs, you might be shot.

    Apart from Laws’ comments, which I interpret as LAV-IIIs and Steyrs on the street corner, I haven’t seen a battle plan or alternative. What do you want to have happen? How do you smash the gangs (tactically) by force, and how do you curtail their inevitable future rebirth (strategically)?

    P.S. do any of you see it that way? The short game being stopping crime/gangs now, ‘winning the battle’, and the long game being the ‘strategy’; eliminating the source of the problem.

  22. MikeE 22

    Matthew Pilott, I think Meth should be legal, and treated as a health issue.

    Of course P only exists as a direct response to prohibition. I’d also support taking away being drunk/high as a defense from crimes. etc.

    I own my body, providing I harm noone – noone should be able to stop me from putting whatever I damn well like into it. If I do harm someone I should be charged for the harm caused, not what I put into my body.

    That said I think meth use is disgusting and should be discouraged, but that doesn’t mean I think that people should end up in jail for a) cooking and b) consuming it.

  23. roger nome 23

    Bryan:

    “Total recorded crime has stayed flat during Labours reign after falling during Nationals.”

    Now this is more than a little cheeky. Violent youth crime tripled from 1991 to 1996, at the same time as child poverty tripled (which underlines Steve’s argument. National had to take poverty and crime up to record levels before improving economic conditions brought them down a little from those dizzy heights.

  24. I’m sure none of us would want to be in the shoes of the policeman or woman who has to make the decision wether to shoot or not. An interesting excerpt from a relevant article in the Washington Post.

    “After the July 7 attacks on the London transit system by suicide bombers, the international police chiefs organization produced a detailed training guide for dealing with suicide bombers for its 20,000 law enforcement members. It recommends that if an officer needs to use lethal force to stop someone who fits a certain behavioral profile, the officer should “aim for the head” to kill the person instantly and prevent the setting off of a bomb if one is strapped to the person’s chest.

    The police organization’s behavioral profile says such a person might exhibit “multiple anomalies,” including wearing a heavy coat or jacket in warm weather or carrying a briefcase, duffle bag or backpack with protrusions or visible wires. The person might display nervousness, an unwillingness to make eye contact or excessive sweating. There might be chemical burns on the clothing or stains on the hands. The person might mumble prayers or be “pacing back and forth in front of a venue.”

    The police group’s guidelines also say the threat to officers does not have to be “imminent,” as police training traditionally teaches. Officers do not have to wait until a suspected bomber makes a move, another traditional requirement for police to use deadly force. An officer just needs to have a “reasonable basis” to believe that the suspect can detonate a bomb, the guidelines say.”

    Washington Post

  25. Matthew Pilott 25

    MikeE, that is valid enough in isolation. I have certain thoughts that are similar, but they always stall when I try to rectify them with their practical application.

    I’ll use cooking as an example. It is a hazardous, toxic process. If it were to be legalised, it would require some form of regulatory regime to ensure kids didn’t get a lungful of hydrogen cyanide on their way to school (as, of course, happens now – that point hasn’t escaped me).

    So you regulate – cooking licences perhaps. But it’s not a simple or safe process – you’d need to ensure adequate training. It’s not like chucking a few seeds under a heat lamp on your cupboard, for example.

    So once your licenced and trained, you cook. However, it’s not easy and I’d imagine you’re going to be producing a fair bit to make it worth the while – so now you’re comercially distributing such a substance. Do you try to surreptitiously advertise to make some extra cash, drive up demand a bit? Why not – it’s a commercial process – let the market decide.

    Such are my thoughts. This being at the top end of the scale, but I’m always aware that to have an economic bad legalised carries manifest consequences.

    I think that if a substance is legal (or otherwise) consumption thereof should be an aggravating factor in sentencing – as you say, it’s your body, you put it in there. Goes for the turps, IMO.

  26. roger nome:”Now this is more than a little cheeky.” Yes but no cheekier than the way Labour leaves out the public sector when reporting productivity statistics.

    Matthew:”Bryan, so the question here is how much more interference in our lives we wish to take.”

    While staying in Washington D.C. for a month or so I felt surprisingly reassured by the heavily armed, black dressed police patrolling all the subway platforms. I get similar reassurance from the unarmed security guards that patrol Britomart or going through domestic airport security. I’m prepared to experience personal inconvenience for enhanced security; especially when I have my seven year old son with me.

  27. Matthew Pilott 27

    Yup Bryan, so back to my earlier point – do APCs and fully armed soldiers count?

    Maybe we should do it properly and ask the UN to send in peacekeepers, that would be the proper way to do it.

  28. Felix 28

    I’m prepared to experience personal inconvenience for enhanced security

    If only there were a way for you to feel secure without fecking with my liberties.

    Do you not believe in personal responsibility all of a sudden?
    What’s happened? Why are you so scared that you’d infringe on my personal freedoms?

    p.s. leave your kid out of it. According to your professed belief in personal responsibility, why should I care about your child just because you do?
    Next you’ll be asking me to contribute financially to it’s well-being you filthy commie.

  29. bill brown 29

    I’m prepared to experience personal inconvenience for enhanced security

    I hope you’ll be paying for those gun toting body guards out of your own pocket instead of sucking at the teat of the state by expecting the rest of us to pay for your personal sense for a need for security.

  30. Pascal's bookie 30

    I’m prepared to experience personal inconvenience for enhanced security

    Bedwetter. What ever happened to ‘give me liberty or give me death.’

    Now it’s ‘omigod there’s is a statisically negligent chance of me dying in terroism, so frisk me sideways, tap my phone, fingerprint me at customs, and please shoot first if I look suspicious’

  31. MikeE 31

    “I think that if a substance is legal (or otherwise) consumption thereof should be an aggravating factor in sentencing – as you say, it’s your body, you put it in there. Goes for the turps, IMO.”

    I agree with you 100%

    Providing you actually cause harm. No harm, no crime.

    Same thing goes with the example of Kids.

    “I’ll use cooking as an example. It is a hazardous, toxic process. If it were to be legalised, it would require some form of regulatory regime to ensure kids didn’t get a lungful of hydrogen cyanide on their way to school (as, of course, happens now – that point hasn’t escaped me).”

    I’m sure that this would be covered under existing child abuse laws and OSH etc. No need to be covered under a MODA.

    “I’m prepared to experience personal inconvenience for enhanced security”

    Your also prepared to inconvenience everyoen else, without their consent while you are at it.

  32. Matthew Pilott 32

    I’m sure that this would be covered under existing child abuse laws and OSH etc. No need to be covered under a MODA.

    Be that as it may, I have yet to figure out how something like that can be implemented without encouraging wide-state commercialisation and consumption of a detrimental good.

    Another issue I have is that we’d need to produce everything domesticlly because manufacturing overseas is illegal, and we can’t support criminal organisations overseas. Either we’ll have to hugely beef up border security, or accept that we’re encouraging and financing international criminal organisations. There are literally dozens of reasons such as this which preclude what you advocate being a viable option.

  33. MikeE 33

    I seriously doubt you’ll see an increase in consumption if it was legal. The difference though, is people would be able to openly admit to having a problem without being treated as criminals.

  34. Matthew Pilott 34

    Well we don’t drink less because it’s been legalised. I gather Amsterdam was debating re-criminalisation due to the prevalence of drug tourism, although we’re more isolated for that to figure hugely, but also because of increased drug use in general, and the corresponding increase in prostitution and crime.

    Have you ever looked at it from the relation between crime and drugs. i.e whether it fits with your values to knowingly advocate legalisation of something that gives you an x increase in the chance of violating someone else’s rights and freedoms? How does that work?

  35. Matthew: “Yup Bryan, so back to my earlier point – do APCs and fully armed soldiers count?”

    No, using the army to control crime is wrong.

  36. MikeE 36

    “Well we don’t drink less because it’s been legalised. ”

    If you look at the stats regarding alcohol, consumption increased during prohibition times.

    You could also easily argue that we drink more bleach because its legal to do so, simply due to availability, but having it legal doesn’t result in a load of people deciding to drink it for shits and giggles.

    Drugs don’t *make* people commit crime anymore than masturbation does. Sure there is the inherant crime committed if they are illegal, but this is caused BY prohibition..

    People might commit crimes while under the influence of drugs, but this doesn’t make sense to criminalise others for the same crimes which they have not committed.

  37. Matthew Pilott 37

    If you look at the stats regarding alcohol, consumption increased during prohibition times.

    Not from what I’ve seen, but they weren’t necessarily definitive.

    You could also easily argue that we drink more bleach because its legal to do so, simply due to availability, but having it legal doesn’t result in a load of people deciding to drink it for shits and giggles.

    But we don’t and it kills you, so I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.

    Drugs don’t *make* people commit crime anymore than masturbation does. Sure there is the inherant crime committed if they are illegal, but this is caused BY prohibition..

    Disagree totally. Masturbation doesn’t make you think you’re 10′ tall and bullet-proof. Nor does engaging in such behaviour have medium-term psycho-active effects and a distortion of reality and perception. Drug consumption can lead to you picking the bugs out of your face, last I heard that didn’t come as a result of choking the chicken.

    People might commit crimes while under the influence of drugs, but this doesn’t make sense to criminalise others for the same crimes which they have not committed.

    If it can be proven that they are more likely to, then it does make sense, it makes perfect sense. They are engaging in behaviour that increases the likelihood of them violating your rights and freedoms. How can you knowingly encourage that?

    Try and argue the same for handing out hand grenades to those who want them.

  38. Bill 38

    Arguments to legalise currently prohibited drugs in the context of this thread are dumb, dumb arguments.

    Alienation can lead to criminal behaviour and/or mental illness and/ or drug taking plus a whole heap of other shit.

    You want to solve the fundamental problem by legalising drugs!?

    Not only would it not work, but is the same as arguing that crime be legalised.

    And such arguments also, sadly, accept external authority as legitimate. So come on down Jesus Christ, head honcho politician, greylon or whoever/ whatever and save our sorry arses. Then again, maybe pulling the chain and flushing us and our proverbial is the way to go? Seems we don’t care either way… just want someone or something else to make it all up for us.

    As I commented quite a few posts back…deal with the underlying causes or put up with the effects of inconsequential tinkering, ie things carrying on much as before.

    Is that really in the ‘too hard basket’?

  39. MikeE 39

    “Try and argue the same for handing out hand grenades to those who want them.”

    Handing them out, I have a problem with, as it implies a subsidy.

    “Not only would it not work, but is the same as arguing that crime be legalised.”

    Most crime has a victim, most drug consumption does not.

    Simple.

    Any crime that doesn’t have a victim SHOULD be legal.

  40. Bill 40

    MikeE…so an addict suffering major health issues and social exclusion problems is not a victim? You think addicts made a ‘choice’ to be an addict and everything associated with addiction? Drug addicts are no less victims than gambling addicts…life’s get blighted.

    And I’m not so sure that most crime has a victim. Insurance covers for a lot of property crime.

    Whatever, the argument is secondary to the cause at the root of the problems.

  41. Draco TB 41

    Most crime has a victim, most drug consumption does not.

    Manufacture, distribution and possession of certain drugs is illegal but consumption isn’t.

    So glad you agree with the law as it is.

  42. MikeE 42

    Bill – use does not always equal abuse. If you think everyone who consumes substances is an addict then you really don’t know what you are talking about. I’m involved in the Auckland clubbing scene and I see consumption of all sorts of crap around me. I’d say 99% of these peopel aren’t addicts, and choose to put what they want in their bodies. No victim whatsoever to this..

    “And I’m not so sure that most crime has a victim. Insurance covers for a lot of property crime.”

    Are you trying to say that theres no victim in this?

  43. Phil 43

    “And I’m not so sure that most crime has a victim. Insurance covers for a lot of property crime.”

    Since when does that make the crime “victimless” !?

  44. Matthew Pilott 44

    MikeE – cheers for indulging my questions yesterday. I guess that I am in favour of the concept of legalisation (of some substances) for a few good reasons – removal of the criminal element from both consumption and manufacture, taxation of goods to counter the externalities brought about by consumption, and regulation to ensure what’s taken is what it should be, and how it should be.

    Still, too many show-stoppers in the way, at this stage. I think the problems outweigh the benefits of a solution, and I’m not guided by an anti-regulation/absolute-personal-right ideology that I gather you are, to make me happy for this to happen.

    Bill, regarding your earlier comment – if it wasn’t in the ‘too hard’ basket it wouldn’t be a problem – but it’s also wider in scope than I was interested in pursuing here. Bacically you’re looking at the wider socio-economic context of modernisation, urbanisation and globalisation, and how it affects social interaction. Big topic…

  45. Brownie 45

    Phil,

    Insurance premiums are driven up as a result of “victemless” crime which hits us all – no matter what our political persuasion – in the pocket.

    Mat Pilot,

    Completley agree with you on most points. I have a few friends who are cops on the beat as well as social workers, counsellors and therapists who work “at the coal face” of a lot of these young offenders. Ask any of them and they will agree that drugs and alcohol are the DIRECT influence on crime, whether it be nuisance or domestic.

    SP

    Are you saying that violent crime is not on the increase?

    Captcha: missing wash

    This thing knows when it’s time for me to have a shower. Spooky!

    BTW, Laws is a sensationalist as a way of drawing attention to the issue. Anyone who seriously thinks that the army is in any way a solution, is either a nutter or hasn’t watched the movie “The Siege”.

  46. Bill 46

    MikeE…Of course not all drug use leads to addiction. Some does. In the same way that recreational gambling can lead to addiction in some. The point I was making was that where drug consumption does lead to social or health problems for the user, then the user is a victim. That’s all. Not a controversial point to make.

    As for the crime example…bad example. So what about when somebody robs a bank and doesn’t harm or threaten anyone in the process? Don’t you have a private wee thought hoping they get away with it? Afterall, no bank customers lose money and no-one has been harmed.

    Or what about the shoplifter who out of necessity steals nappies or some other essential grocery item they can’t afford? No victim. The supermarket already has wastage and theft built into their margins. (I believe it’s about 10%). Call me cynical, but I do not believe that grocery prices would drop by 10% in the absence of theft.

    Again. These arguments are peripheral. The over arching socio/economic system we live within has alienation built into it, and alienation will result in individuals committing crime (as defined by the controlling power(s)within that system), joining gangs or whatever, or having addiction issues, mental health issues etc.

    In other words, many life’s are blighted because of the nature of our socio/economic system and we have no effective say in the shape or functioning of that system. Tinkering with the effects and ignoring the root cause will not produce a solution. Crime goes up, crime goes down. A new addiction programme is launched. Mental health initiatives are launched. Something is done to increase material inclusion of more of the population and so on. But at the end of the day, all that this tinkering ensures is the perpetuation of what we have. That’s not good enough. The problems will not go away until the root is identified and pulled up. I’d have thought that would be an uncontroversial focus for a blog claiming to carry on the tradition of working class movements of the past. But sadly, thus far, apparently not.

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