Australian Politics The Law

Crime does not have one distinction, one size does not fit all

Crime is not one thing, it is variable. Cultures practice different structures making certain things criminal that are an everyday acceptable practice for another culture.

Many socio-economic divergences deliver differences to punishments that are metered out for crime. If an unemployed father steals much needed baby formula for his child, he will most likely receive the harshest penalty from the law for his crime because he is unemployed and will most likely offend again because his baby will need to eat again soon.

If a politician uses his tax payer expenses account for personal use, then apart from Mr Peter Slipper, who Liberal National Coalition Party threw to the wolves in opposition, they pay back, I think its now 10% of the amount unlawfully used, get a stern warning from the Attorney General George Brandis, also guilty of expenses rorting, and who is ‘writing’ a new ‘code of conduct’ so that expenses rorting can be frowned upon.

A recently hired young woman working in an office environment that has had a pilferer for over a year, stealing the coffee and bicky money, finds herself fired and on charges for theft because when she put her money into the tin for her $3 contribution, she changed a $10 note. Someone saw her take her money from the tin and she is now up on charges for a crime that had been occurring for a year before she started working at the tax office – true story.

An Aboriginal man walks into a deli and all the female shoppers take a tight grip on their handbags and the owner/cashier watches their every move, a Muslim walks into the same store and all the shoppers look for backpacks and an exit whilst the owner/cashier waits by the phone with 000 already to be phoned, a big white man with tattoos walks into the store holding a motor bike helmet and most of the shoppers don’t make eye contact, some look at him in disgust, some look at him hoping he will save them from the first two shoppers, a young white woman walks into the same store pushing a pram and the store owner/cashier watch her every move in case she puts stuff into the pram, under the child. The only person(s) not criminalised in this is store is the owner/cashier.

Crime is relative to the perception of the witness. If the owner/cashier has those preconceived notions about the customers, all of whom are just people going about their day, then it is very likely that terrible things can happen. One crime does not fit all. You cannot taint all Muslims as being the same as a couple of Muslim persons who might or might not have been the centre of a crime, nor can you treat every single mother as a prospective shoplifter, not all bikers are criminals, most are not in fact, not all Aboriginal people want to steal your purse and sometimes a backpack is just a backpack.

Notice how every person below the ‘manager’ has been criminalised to some extent. So crime is a perceptual creature, each witness, witnesses a different aspect, or chooses to believe in a truth unfounded, it is what will fit in your mind, what truths you choose to allow to take up residence in your head with all the en-framing that you unwittingly do, that produces your perceptions of criminality, though camera footage does not lie, it records. It does not en-frame, it simply is.

Crime does not have one distinction, one size does not fit all.



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