Our ability to celebrate the mystery of life seems to be severely affected by the occurrence of crime. Our freedom is limited, our horizons filled with walls and barbed-wire fences and our movement impaired by locks. In the quest to regain our freedom, it is important to define crime, what does it really mean? I propose at least three approaches.

The first and probably the most audible is the use of the word in relation to damage suffered by upper and middle classes. The damage suffered by the poor in this regard might be less in terms of money but definitely not so in terms of dignity. A person or persons unlawfully enters another person’s space and take what does not belong to them, be it a car, applications, money, dignity and sometimes even a life. The focus seems to be less on those without a voice but rather on those who has both things and a voice. It is crime in this sense of the word that is the proposed source of society’s problems and flows mainly from poor to rich or richer.

Of course crime can be used in another, legally valid way. One example will have to suffice; whenever someone drives at 80km/h in a 60km/h zone, it is a crime. Although it is technically true that by speeding one is breaking the law, and thus acting in a criminal way, very few people allow this to influence their behaviour. The opposite seems to be true. When someone is caught speeding, the person involves often get irritated with the police and tells them to go and catch real criminals or stop real crime. Almost everyone is guilty of this type of criminality and thus in some ways are deemed acceptable.

The third way to use the word is very unpopular and seldom used. It might be argued that the exploitation of people and nature is criminal in essence, thus a crime has been committed whenever either people or nature are exploited. The problem is that the paradigm of unlimited growth seldom acknowledges the fact and that federal law upholds this growth paradigm and does little to protect either people or nature from such abuse. The criminal flow in these instances is from rich or richer to poor.

While it is therefore true that crime is a problem of limiting life. It is however very one-sided if we reduce the meaning of the word to a specific form of crime; that form we are not guilty of ourselves. Where we refer to as society as criminal; it will serve us well to remember that we are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

What is the solution? I would argue a life lived intentionally within the boundaries of a moral and just society. One where we respect each other’s personal spaces together with the acknowledgement that all people are equal and that exploitation in any form is a crime. This acknowledgement starts with the I and do not, primarily, refer crime to the other.

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