Justitia, Old Bridge of Heidelberg

Justitia, Old Bridge of Heidelberg
Justitia, Old Bridge of Heidelberg © Gernot Keller, 2007
Blinkered Justice articles also appear on CrimeTalk and Government In The Lab

Friday, 3 February 2012

A poetic social construction of crime

Oscar Wilde and his lover, Alfred Douglas,
prior to his trial in 1894

As we each slink off to our weekends, I am publishing the poem below, written by Criminonymous. You can find another piece here, published on Anna Raccoon a few days ago.  No need for me to add any more; the strength of the piece speaks for itself. 

The only thing we have to blame is blame itself

I fail to see what we gain from blaming the individual
The working class criminal whose education was minimal
Some see their behaviour as indefensible
That the casual accrual of wealth through unconventional or deviant methods
Demeans the tax-paying, hard-working and indebted

If it were only explained more clearly in schools
That it’s just a few tools
Who monopolise the making and enforcement of rules
Why do we assume that the criminal law is the best way to respond to these issues?
Crime is a social construction
Should homosexuality be a crime?
Obviously, obviously not
But some countries still consider it as such
Do you think that alcohol should be criminalised?
These things vary over space and time
It is wrong to assume that the laws as they stand
Are based on rational calculations
Nor should it be assumed
That the direction in which the criminal law is currently headed
Is necessarily in the long-term interests of society as a whole

Some people see ‘criminals’ as totally different to them
When they think about crime
They remember what they have seen in the media
They immediately think about the most heinous of transgressions
But this is only a tiny fraction of what ‘crime’ really entails
Incidentally, many of these people are swing voters
The central focus of modern-day locusts
But when elections are based on fear
There is no incentive to ensure that our electorate is educated
And this lack of knowledge is perpetuated

In reality, all are equally likely to be caught up in something this forlorn
Because you have no control over where or when you are born
Some people truly believe that they had immunity
Thinking: “They are not us, so they deserve no impunity”
But we were all born in the same world, without equality of opportunity
Substitute assumed fallacies for humanity
It’s safe to say that we’re pretty lucky
I could have been born in Kentucky
Home to sixteen of the one hundred poorest counties in that country
Equally, the Queen is lucky not to be an Armenian from 1915
Got any pre-teens?
Elsewhere they make green jeans for the armies
Like Akala said, as hard as some of us have it
We’re still far better off than ninety per-cent of the planet

It is totally understandable that in this environment of propaganda
People make false assumptions about crime and justice
We don’t get to decide what counts as a crime
When the law should change its mind
Or where our priorities should lie
Nor are these decisions made well for us
So forget your anxiety regarding impropriety
And consider the long-term interests of our society


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