Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Crime and Punishment... Or, Crime and Crime

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

“You do the crime, you do the time.”

“Great idea! With a catchy phrase like this, people will really think twice.”
--No One Ever

As a kid I’d often run up and down the steps at home. My dad would see or hear me and punish me by making me walk slowly up and down five or ten times.

All I’d thought to do back then in response was grumble, hang my head and slump my shoulders, and then take the hike.

Now much more inquisitive, I have to ask:
  1. Had I really done anything wrong?
  2. If so, did the punishment fit the offense?
  3. Did the punishment have any value in curbing my behavior?

Had I really done anything wrong?

I would argue that I hadn’t. I would argue that wrongness is in the eye of the beholder in these types of situations.

This seems like one of uncounted instances that play out in everyone’s lives where a parent chides their child for “misbehaving” only because their parents had done the same to them. For reasons few people ever actually question, running on the steps is just an inherently “bad” thing that only “bad” people do.

If safety is a concern, is this concern realistic?

I would say not so much for the same reason that Mark Twain said, “I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened”: people usually imagine far worse futures for themselves and others than they ever actually experience.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a time when kids still practiced the nearly lost art of playing outside. This caused me plenty more harm than running the steps ever did, yet I was never punished for it. What’s the difference if I run the steps or run a hill and climb a tree?

Did the punishment fit the crime?

To answer this question we must, of course, assume that I had done something wrong.

This is a hard swallow, but let’s pretend.

The most significant thing that comes to mind to answer the question is:

Punishment is horrendously subjective!

Couldn’t my dad have instead told me to walk up and down only once or given me the belt or taken away TV-watching for three days? Theoretically, yes.

I heard a story the other day in which a mother had left her kids home alone while she worked and had told them before leaving that if they wanted something to eat to call her. It ended up that she got home, saw that her son (perhaps 6 years old) had taken it upon himself to eat a canned spaghetti-type meal, and then beat him to death with an extension cord.

Did the punishment fit the crime?

Internally disconnected and without any “Healthy Standards for Human Engagement” rulebook, everyone’s left to do their own subjective thing. Such is hardly conducive to fairness and balance.

Did the punishment have any value in curbing my behavior?

Sort of, but not really.
The punishment was superficial because it didn’t in any way address the underlying cause of why I had been running to begin with (again assuming I’d done something wrong and hadn’t simply been being a kid and doing what kids do).

If my running had truly been a problem and the issue was then looked at in a truly helpful way, my thoughts are what would have to have been addressed rather than my behavior since behavior is informed by thought, not the other way around.

Regardless of the number of times that I had to walk up and down the steps as punishment, the only limitation I recall making was to temper my speed when my dad was around—but still run as usual when he wasn’t.

In other words, I partially stopped because I didn’t want to get punished, not because I came to see the light.

And if I was told things such as, “Stop running, you’re going to fall down the steps,” think about it—when do such cautionary statements ever work? We’re hammered day in and day out with cancer warnings, legal warnings, and numerous other warnings, and yet we all pretty much go on doing exactly as we’ve been.

If true, positive change is to happen, the mind must either willingly release its former view and/or be offered healthy reasoning that trumps everything it already holds as “truth.”

Why any punishment might have curbed my behavior comes down to three things: belief, fear, and/or trauma.

I think it’s inappropriate to say that I was ever traumatized by stair-running punishments, but, generally speaking, belief, fear, and trauma are what cause people to change their behaviors in these sorts of situations.

Nothing is healed and change is not willingly chosen. Rather, old programming is forcefully layered over with harmful beliefs, fears, and/or trauma for the sake of unnatural self-protection.

All in all, this parent-punishing-child scenario is how it’s been for ages. For some it’s not been as bad, for some it’s been far worse; in times past the punishments tended toward brutality, in recent times they’ve tended toward mildness. Nevertheless, the same threads are woven throughout.

Crime and Punishment in the World at Large

Although my personal stair-running “crime” and punishment scenario is quite minor, what underlies it is the very same thing that underlies the vast majority of crime and punishment scenarios around the world and through time.

Let's look at the questions asked earlier, but let’s change the wording slightly:
  1. Are any crimes actually being committed?
  2. If so, do the punishments fit the crimes?
  3. Do the punishments have any value in curbing future crime?

Are any crimes actually being committed?

People commit crimes all the time and we can say with certainty that this is so because crime, it could be said, is behavior that causes direct or indirect harm to others.

There are also definitely times when “crime” is merely a matter of stupid laws and conspiracy and profit, such as the illegalization of marijuana and putting people in prison for 20 years for carrying a mere ounce of it.

Assuming crime is legit, however…

If so, do the punishments fit the crimes?

Just like my story from home, although crimes are fairly well defined, there’s rarely if ever a standardized consequence for a given action. Worsening matters, our “criminal justice” system has been little more than a system in which so-called “justice” is meted out by criminals.

Two guys could murder their wives in an identical manner and receive the same charges, yet one could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and the other to 75 years. It seems more dependent upon whether or not the judge was angry because he ripped open the roof of his mouth while eating Cap’n Crunch that morning than do to any real desire for fairness and balance.

I understand that similar crimes may have differences from one another and so there may be some subjectivity and variation on punishment. But the general manner of punishing crime has been abusively arbitrary.

Add to this the fact that the whole legal/court/prison system here in the US is heavily monetized. To describe only one facet of this abomination:

If someone gets arrested, they might be told that even though they’re potentially guilty they can get out of jail until their court date by paying a bail fee.

So it’s like: You’re being convicted of murder, but we’ll let you out of jail until your court date because you paid us an (arbitrary) $50,000 bail fee… But the guy who would have been your cell mate and has been convicted of the same thing as you couldn’t afford his bail fee, so while you’re out free, he’s rotting in his cell for the next year until his own court date.

Do the punishments have any value in curbing future crime?

Make no mistake: crime and punishment is a Big Business.

Like all those fields that we have blindly depended on for eons to tell the truth, to find cures for disease, to end poverty, and all that stuff, crime and punishment has basically remained unchanged because it’s all about money and power.

If people were given paths to healing, knowledge, happiness, prosperity, and abundance, that would be at least a little bit detrimental to the Controllers, don’t you think?

So the area of crime and punishment has largely been designed to steer clear of offering ways to help offenders heal the very psycho-emotional beliefs, fears, and traumas that had set them up for prison time.

Heck, there are even those who, upon their release from prison, deliberately commit crimes and get caught once again because they know that in prison all their needs will again be taken care of.

I'm sure, too, that, if we don't live in such a place or time, most of us have heard about governments that have used “eye for an eye”-type punishment systems. Any half-reasonable person wouldn't dare to steal if they knew being caught would mean losing a hand or commit rape for fear of being castrated—but people have gone and done the deed and been brutally punished anyway.

Behaviors don’t change if minds don’t change, and minds don’t change so behaviors don’t change.

…But I suppose there’s the death penalty… In terms of potentially repeat offenders, that seems to work quite well in cutting down the crime rate…

It’s Not Enough to Merely Make Change—We Must Be It.

I fully accept that if someone is harming another then action must be taken so that the harm ceases.

The trouble is, whether a parent toward a child or the legal system toward a potential or known criminal, our methods of crime “management” and “prevention” have been so utterly deranged.

These methods don’t work, and when they “do” work, they cause people to take on negative beliefs, fears, and traumas which themselves drive people to commit more crimes in the future.

It is critical that people wake up to this fact and make an effort to turn the situation around.

For most people this will have nothing to do with involving themselves in the criminal justice system, and for everybody it will be internal.

"If People Want the World to Change for the Better..."

The way parents treat their children is in large part due to their own inner state but also is as a fragment of the local collective consciousness (for example, generally speaking, parents in the US raise their children how parents are taught to raise their children in the US; they don’t raise them like the !Kung of the Kalahari Desert).

The people who work the broken system, who create distorted laws, who lobby for special interests, and so on, they are there because it’s what resonates with the collective consciousness. Joe and Jane Citizen are the ones who put them there, directly or indirectly, and allow them to remain there.

What this means is that we each have to change ourselves in order to change our respective individual lives, and we must also change ourselves in order to shift the collective consciousness, both global and local, and thus deny support to the wicked.

As life-as-we-now-know-it is proof of, making up crimes is of no benefit; punishing people for these made up crimes is of no benefit; maintaining junk beliefs, fears, and traumas is of no benefit; meting out punishment for valid crimes without regard for the internal mechanisms that drive the negative behaviors to begin with is of no benefit.

And so we have to do something about it.

You do, and I do. We all do.

Because nobody is going to do it for us.

Even those who’re waiting for a savior of some kind, whether Jesus, the Fantastic 4, or a Powerball lottery win, even if a savior were truly coming, so what? That savior hasn’t come.

Does that mean we should just continue sitting here and letting the world go to hell? For how long?

If your child, father, or neighbor were drowning, would you just say, “Meh. Not my problem. They should have learned how to swim”?

As each of us is a piece of the whole of humanity, we have an inherent responsibility for each other.

More importantly, we have a responsibility for ourselves.

I hope you’ll take these responsibilities seriously.

It could be said to be a crime to do otherwise. The punishment is self-inflicted.

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