Sociology

What is a Criminal



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It can be argued that criminality is subjective in that what is considered legal and acceptable within one system of laws can be a capital offence under another.Consider most nations where Islamic law prevails where attempting to promote an alternative system of faith is a capital offence yet elsewhere in the world freedom of religion, and the right to promote a system of faith is enshrined in both law and constitution.




Systems of law vary and are often rooted in archaic religious concepts based on community morals and cohesive group behaviour.Within any society we find malcontents, dissenters and those unwilling to act in the interests of the community.Freedom of choice allows for disagreement however there are limits imposed on how far our freedom of choice extends.Those unwilling to live and adhere to a community system of cohesive society governed by laws are not necessarily criminals since it is in a free society possible to voice dissention and object without breaking the law.




The line is crossed however when activities of dissenters, malcontents and perhaps simply self-centred individuals begin to directly impact on the interests of others, of government and of community.A person caught stealing for example is clearly a criminal because of the fact their choice to take what is not theirs will mean someone else looses.This may mean that banks loose money, governments loose money through fraud and/or an individual looses money yet some would argue that dire circumstances somehow validate the choice to steal.The reason is irrelevant; a thief is in fact a criminal.




Expanding this to a system of laws, a criminal is a person either convicted or otherwise, and who engages in activity contrary to laws of the land.It is that simple.This being said, arguing that laws are unjust, are unworkable or even not rational changes nothing because the action of breaking the law by definition makes one a criminal.Qualified above with convicted or unconvicted', those facing the justice system were unfortunate enough to be caught or detected whereas a great many seem to get away with criminal activities without ever being caught.They are still criminals.




Systems of law evolve and change with society.What may have been a common and acceptable practice of bygone days evolve and change to become a criminal offence.An example of this is cannabis (marijuana), used for thousands of years became illegal early last century.Opium used in some Asian nations may easily be thought of as a cultural issue rooted in thousands of years of tradition where usage would be comparable to western society with alcohol.Interestingly, alcohol in nations where Islamic laws govern is considered as criminal as drugs and where extreme forms of punishment apply for those caught imbibing.




Whether you agree with laws, fair, unfair or otherwise, the choice to disregard or deliberately break the law makes you a criminal.Being detected and prosecuted is some ways might be thought of much like a lottery given the fact only a relatively small percentage of law-breakers face their respective justice systems but breaking the law still makes one a criminal.Think on this:are you a criminal?If the answer is no then you live your life knowing and understanding every single law, bi-law and regulation without a breach either knowing or unknowing.No system of justice is perfect, indeed it is not uncommon to discover one law contradicted by another which in turn suggest the only logical conclusion:we are all criminals in one way or another!

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