Dropping Crime Rates, The Definition of Crime, and the Real Criminals

30 November 2014

One of the discussions around the Thanksgiving table this year centered on crime rates before leaded gasoline was banned, and the drop in rates of crime since its use has been curtailed. The statistics show that since the ban on lead in gasoline, and after the necessary interval of time for a general, societal lead “detox”, crime rates have dropped drastically. Certain crime rates to be specific. Inner city crime is the focus here, “street crimes”, and New York City was the example cited at dinner as 4 of the people at the table were from there. I can’t argue against the fact that certain crime rates have dropped, nor can I argue that it is due to something other than lead. Some crime rates certainly seem to have decreased. Cities across the country appear cleaner without lead, and at the same time safer, more vibrant and friendly. In some places, like New York I am told, there are fewer murders, rapes, and robberies- less “street crime”. This is great. I am all for it.

But the point that was lost on everyone is that inner city “street crime”- “crimes of the powerless”- both non-violent and violent crime, is but a very small part of the overall crime committed in this country. It accounts for a very small percentage of financial loss, cost to the taxpayer, and costs in reparations.

The vast majority of crime is perpetrated in corporate offices, in boardrooms across the country, in Wall Street brokerages, in the secret meetings between executives and their accountants in penthouse suites far above those diminishing street crimes. These crimes are committed by the most wealthy, trusted, and “respected” members of our society, by the powerful- by investors who are lauded as leading our economy forward, by their lawyers who knowingly collude with them, and their financial advisers who explain to them how to make their 10,000 dollar profit look like 10 million to investors, while making it look like 100 dollars to the IRS. This is crime.

A comparison of the actual cost to society for a street robbery compared to a corporate crime is next to nothing. The cost to us, the taxpayers, the citizens represented by our government, by a government who is supposed to try, punish, and mete out justice for us- that cost for corporate crimes is sickening. And remember who pays for it- not the corporations.

Does anyone need a reminder about these crimes- remember ENRON, AIG, Bernie Madoff, countless mortgage companies and giant banks, insider traders, and my personal favorite- the Bush family and the Silverado scam. You’d forgotten about that one I bet. We, the taxpayers who footed the bill for that (and all of them) never did see justice served. Every last one of them- George, Barbara, W, Jeb, and the rest, and especially the perpetrator right here in Colorado- Neil, are still at it. That is crime.  And these financial crimes are just one example of so many types of corporate crime- don’t forget about defective vehicles, unsafe toys, foods that shouldn’t be eaten by anything living, the mining of asbestos and uranium without any concern for safety, and cigarettes! You should be able to add hundreds more to the list on your own. But I digress.

To pull it all together, we are told (by the media) that crime is down. Cities are safer. Yes, crimes still happen; there was a murder, a rape, robberies, shootings and so on. There are still plenty of those. My point is that these are “crimes” (as defined by the media) and our focus is directed to them,  how they have decreased, but how we still must pay for them as a society. And my question is what about the rest of it- corporations just “lie to the investors”, “cook the books”, “present falsified information”, and “commit fraud”. Is that not crime? Yes there are fines, and a few are sent for brief stays in “prisons”. But all of these are laughable. We fall for the semantics of the corporate owned media, and in the end we pay. And they and their families still keep all their countless houses around the world, their islands, their private jets, their yachts, and nearly all of the money.

Feel free to do some research on this. A great place to start is the book Why Crime? An Integrated Systems Theory of Antisocial Behavior, by Matthew B. Robinson. This is a textbook for criminology courses; parts might be quite dry if you are not excited by the topic. But the first chapter, “What is Crime?”, will open your eyes. Also see Silverado: Neil Bush and the Savings & Loan Scandal by Steven Wilmsen. This title will be particularly interesting to those living in the Denver area.





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