Alright, Round 3. To make thing easier, below is the opening three paragraphs from a Tri-City Voice editorial from earlier this year. I’m offering the possibility of prizes for the first person to correctly tell me what the editorial is actually about. A hint: the subject matter is timely and it’s not about Octoberfest.
Here we go:
In the world of law and order, the magnitude and nature of a crime is often viewed through different prisms depending on the observer. A perpetrator’s biological age, socio-economic status and mental state are factors for legal maneuvers and courtrooms, but in most cases, there are clear winners and losers. If physical injury is involved, pain and suffering are measurements to determine the harm sustained. Mental distress may be a less tangible result, but no less injurious. Crimes against large groups of people can be classified as “crimes against humanity” and tried in national or international venues with highly publicized significant, even fatal results.
On the other end of the spectrum, crimes that are petty, thoughtless and downright stupid are often shrugged away as the acts of idiots who are not worth the time and effort of mainstream society. If caught, such “criminals” are considered a petty nuisance, unworthy of law enforcement efforts and costly counseling to try to reform such behavior. It is unfortunate that such individuals form patterns that persist, causing grief in communities that have enough problems without such juvenile actions. A kid with a can of spray paint, a sharp object or rock can do much damage to the property of others, but suffer little consequence since these actions are often done while cowering in darkness and, if caught, regarded as a mental Lilliputian. Law enforcement fiscal and manpower restraints work in favor of these denizens of depravity.
The problem for law enforcement when faced with “petty crime” is that often these actions are not really petty. Serious and injurious actions against the community may have far-reaching effects. As an example, when mental deficient individuals spray graffiti and damage property that serves the community with no other purpose than betterment of local conditions without personal gain, such criminals are committing a criminal act – a crime against their community. There is no excuse for such behavior; it simply degrades everyone and everything around them; a social injustice to the entire area.