Friday, May 28, 2010

Let the punishment fit the planning for the crime!

Louisiana lawmakers are proposing that burglars who use Google Street View (or similar map aids) to plan a burglary should get greater sentences: an extra year in jail, or an extra ten if such aids were used to plan terrorism. Security expert Bruce Schneier disagrees. He wrote: “Crimes are crimes, regardless of the ancillary technology used to plan them.”

Now I have the greatest respect for Bruce Schneier, but this time, he’s wrong. Burglars should use traditional tools to facilitate their crimes. When they don’t, they weaken society as a whole, by causing us to overreact spectacularly. As a simple example, we will have to ban all children’s toys if criminals keep using them to commit robberies.

The list goes on. Here are a few of the obvious cases:
  • Robbery using toy guns: five years extra on the sentence, and only a toy commode will be placed in the perpetrator’s cells.
  • Using a Vortex to commit a crime. Add seven years to the sentence. (Vortexes are a precious new age resource; it’s unacceptable to waste them.)
  • Committing a crime while using a sexual aid. Add two years to the sentence. (No one should be permitted to encourage a practical use for a sexual aid.)
  • Committing a crime while using meat. Add ten days to the sentence. (The use of meat is likely to make vegetarian burglars feel bad. This is a democracy.)
  • Committing a crime while using a religious symbol. Add six months to the sentence. The issue here is that once the federal government takes control of the crime scene, they cannot favor any religion by leaving the religious symbol in place, so the police would have to choose between defacing the crime scene or favoring one religion over another. Bruce Schneier, can't you see how much trouble these robbers can crreate with their choice of ancillary materials?
  • Using a gun to commit a crime. No problem here. The right of an American citizen to bear arms must not be infringed. (Add ten years to the sentences of illegal immigrant perps.)
  • Using speech to commit a crime. Although the first amendment protects speech, there must be sensible limits. No man should be allowed to cry “Give me all your money” in a crowded bank. The penalty in this case is specified in a secret law. Perps will not be told how much extra time they must serve.
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