Thursday, June 16, 2005

Illegal and Lawless

Observation: when things are made illegal, people hesitate to report crimes relating to the illegal act, even if the crimes are more severe and more serious than the initially illegal item.

For example, take marijuana. Marijuana is a pretty innocuous drug, but its definitely illegal. So say you were trying to buy some marijuana, but then someone robbed you and stabbed you.

Well the robbery and the stabbing are for sure worse than the act of trying to buy and use marijuana.

Unfortunately, a crime such as this may go unreported and thus unregulated by the government or legal authorities.

Maybe this particular crime would be reported, since the consequences of having marijuana aren't as severe as say, dealing with crack cocaine or something like that.

But the point remains, by making something taboo, we plunge that act along with other more terrible acts into chaos. (I'm not sure what the solution is though.. this is just an observation.)

This is why the Belgian experiment to legalize prostitution (WSJ - password required) is so interesting. You can also sample this lawlessness phenomenon by viewing the movie Maria Full of Grace, a story of a young pregnant woman who agrees to become a drug mule in hopes of achieving economic prosperity. Great movie, sad story in some respects, highly recommended.