Three Felonies a Day? Really?

By now, you’ve probably heard of the assertion that the average American commits an average of three felonies a day, as suggested by an apparently prominent civil-liberties lawyer in a new book.

Now, I have no doubt that the average citizen commits three crimes per day… and probably breaks a half-dozen laws a day, but it’s quite a leap from that to three felonies daily, isn’t it?

What I kind of wonder, though, is what percentage of these hypothetical felonies are copyright violations (i.e. music/movie piracy), and what percentage are controlled-substance issues (i.e. narcotics violations). When you get rid of those, I suspect the figure becomes much less exciting, something like “one felony a week”… and even then it would be a bit disingenuous to imply that every person – young and old, rich and poor, Joe Six Pack and Her Grace Dame Esme Weatherwax – are somehow at fault. I know the point is not that we’re a nation of lawlessness and incivility, but it just bugs me that that’s more or less the “takeaway” from the whole thing.

I mean, in the last forty-eight hours, I’ve committed about a dozen ordinance violations and petty misdemeanors (mainly jaywalking), have been in possession of burglary tools (technically speaking), and some of the things I said to the telemarketer who called three times yesterday evening probably qualifiy as terroristic threats. Okay, and because I buy a lot of stuff on eBay, I’m probably, technically, in possession of stolen property, somewhere, somehow… but I digress. I like to think of myself as a pretty average Joe, but should I suddenly be appalled that my criminal behaviour appears to be markedly sub-par? Should I go use my neighbor’s wi-fi (theft of service, yay!) to download some copyrighted (copyright violation, yay!) Asian movie containing sexually-suggestive scenes involving underage kids (possession of child pornography, ich blech phooey eeeeeeeww!), or something, just to bring myself up to par?

Nah. You know what? I’ll stick with going for quality over quantity, thanks – like providing material support to (accused!) terrorists, woo-hoo. And they say my g-g-generation are underachievers? 🙂

Published in: Geekiness, General | on October 1st, 2009| Comments Off on Three Felonies a Day? Really?

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