RE: virus: AIDS Meme

Hakeeb A. Nandalal (
Tue, 22 Oct 1996 02:41:23 +0000

Vicki Rosenzweig wrote :-

> Can you back any of these claims about the dangers of
> compassion and justice with actual data? The last I checked, the
> US crime rate (both total crime and specifically violent crime) was
> down...
> ......
> As for technicalities, a lot of those are helping the police. For
> example, under current US law, the police have the right to stop and
> search a car if it has a broken taillight.
> ......
> There's a lot of talk about technicalities, but in the real world of law
> enforcement, the Fourth Amendment is about as relevant as Oliver Cromwell.
> This is actually fertile ground for a study of memes and how
> they spread: for some reason, whether the crime rate goes up or down,
> the perception of danger keeps going up. Whether the conviction rate
> goes up or down, people keep believing, and repeating, that ever more
> criminals are getting away because of "technicalities." I don't know why
> these memes are so powerful.

On a purely academic level, paranoia is actually conducive to survival, but
worrying about crime is not simply paranoia, depending on where you live, it could
mean the difference between life and death. First of all let me state that I wasn't
thinking of the US when I suggested that the "justice" and "runaway compassion"
memes were potentially AIDS-like destructive, I was actually commenting on the
state of crime and subversion in my own country, the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.
However, let's look at crime in the US, a few excerpts :-

Criminal Law Links

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued its "Uniform Crime Reports:
1995 Preliminary Annual Release" (UCR), which shows that crime has dropped
in the United States for the fourth year in a row. In particular, the murder
rate is down 8%. Despite agreeing with UCR homicide statistics, "The Real
War on Crime" is critical of the UCR because most criminologists consider
UCR statistics to be inaccurate. This is due to flaws in reporting, over
counting and budgetary incentives for the police to inflate many of the

"The Real War on Crime" cites the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
as a more accurate source of information than the UCR. This is because the
NCVS, which is conducted by the Census Bureau, uses scientific polling

The Costs of Crime to Victims

Crime victims in 1992 lost $17.6 billion in direct costs,
according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
These costs included losses from property theft or damage,
cash losses, medical expenses, and amount of pay lost because
of injury or activities related to the crime. The crimes
included in this figure are rape, robbery, assault, personal
and household theft, burglary, and motor vehicle theft.
Crimes include attempts as well as completed offenses.

The Exclusionary Rule Reform Act of 1995

EXPLANATION: The Exclusionary Rule Reform Act of 1995, under the
Taking Back Our Streets Act of 1995, is a part of the legal reform
Congress is considering. Under the Exclusion Rule Reform Act,
evidence obtained in a search or seizure that was in violation of
the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution would not be excluded
from a court trial if the search or seizure was carried out with
the belief that it was done in agreement with the Fourth
Amendment. Evidence that is obtained in a search that violated the
Fourth Amendment is excluded from court trials, but under this
amendment the evidence would not be excluded if the search or
seizure was done "in good faith." Democrats added amendment to the
bill that slightly weaken the bill.

STATUS: The House approved the act (289-142) on February 8, 1995.
The act moved to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary the next

PRO: Supporters of the exception argue that the Supreme Court in
1984 already made similar exception legal. They say they are
merely writing a law that represents the Court's decision. They
say that too many criminals are found innocent because of
technicalities that violate the Fourth Amendment.

CON: Opponents of the rule reform argue that the bill may be
unconstitutional. They says that the bill is shortsighted and
could lead to infringements on the Fourth Amendment guarantee of
protection from unreasonable search and seizure.


>From the first excerpt we can see that crime may not have necessarily gone down but
that the *reporting* of crime may have been doctored to accommodate law
enforcement. There is also the problem of the classification of what constitutes a
crime since many violent domestic abuses are not reported as such.

The issue of "technicalities" was important enough to be debated in Congress. From
the "pros" and "cons" we can see the battle between the survival meme and the
justice meme. I hope you don't get the impression that I'm a "hang em high"
fanatic, I'm not, neither am I a "goody two-shoes sheep" who is ready for the
slaughter by the criminal element. My point is the original intention of the
"justice" meme has been slanted in favour of the "criminal" meme by giving way to
the "runaway compassion" meme. The folks at the ACLU (an organization whose
principles I strongly support) try to keep the country on the straight legal path
but as a consequence they allow some criminal and subversive (hate/militia groups)
memes to replicate. This is not a criticism - it is an observation.

Let's look at your example : "...the police have the right to stop and search a car
if it has a broken taillight. (No, I don't know what the connection is between
having a damaged vehicle and being likely to have committed a crime.)". So they
stop a car and find 10 kilos of cocaine, possibly an uzi machine gun and other
drug-pusher paraphernalia. The courts throw out the case. Who wins? Society for
being so just? Later when we hear that so many died from being shot (drug gang
rivalry), so many others died from overdoses, so many crack babies were born, what
do we say : oh well, at least we have a just society. My point : blind justice is
not the same as "sensible" justice but of course the latter may be impossible to
define and implement. Therefore an unchecked justice meme may work against the host

I don't think that the perception of criminals are getting away because of
"technicalities" comes from television news only, it's usually reinforced by
numerous newspaper reports and accounts from friends and family who have been
victims of crime and never seem to get justice.

If you're interested, I tell you what it's like to live in a country with a soaring
crime rate and my personal experience of living through a bloody attempted coup to
overthrow the government.

* *
* Hakeeb A. Nandalal *
* *
* *