It’s simple, really: People commit crimes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 17, 1999

It’s becoming all too typical.

Tuesday, August 17, 1999

It’s becoming all too typical. Instead of enjoying a conversation during the evening meal, a family of four opts to watch television after the pizza boy pulls off in his 1988 rusted Chevy Celebrity.

Email newsletter signup

But this night is different. At least, that’s what the casual, take-no-time-to-understand observer might think.

Normally, &uot;Friends&uot; and &uot;The Simpsons&uot; are the programs of choice, but tonight mom grabs the remote control. She wants to educate her family and turns on the nightly news.

Blah, blah and blah.

It’s the normal stuff. Who cares? Facts. Boring.

Then, the attractive anchor woman introduces the just-as-stunning-roaming-reporter, who is following a developing story.

The dazzling woman smiles as she explains the story of a crime-ridden neighborhood united in one goal – eliminate crime from its borders.

She interviews a community leader.

The family is glued to their television in interest. But if they’re not going to talk to each other, the family might as well watch fictional television.

The story is real, but it’s based on complete nonsense. What the neighbors accomplished is admirable, but is nothing but feel-good hooey.

They weren’t planning community watch patrols to target criminal behavior. There wasn’t an effort to educate children about the dangers of drugs.

No, individual responsibility wasn’t even considered a factor. Instead, the hypothetical family was introduced to an evil home.

The grizzled looking chap who spearheaded the effort explained that one home is the source of all the trouble.

&uot;This home is evil,&uot; he says, pointing at it with a damning finger while curling his intent lip. &uot;We must get rid of this home.&uot;

He says, surely the home is evil because criminal elements are known to frequent it.

Because of crime problems, the man says residents often asked the city to condemn the home, but, technically, there’s nothing wrong with it. So, the residents decided to take action themselves.

He asked for donations.

Once enough money is raised, he says they plan to purchase the three-story evil home and demolish it. Eliminate the home, eliminate the problem.

&uot;Well, that sure sounds like a just goal,&uot; adds the reporter, contributing to the spread of nonsense.

An evil home?


With the possible exception of some sort of demonic possession – I’m not skilled in these occurrences – a home is just a building. It has no ability for rational, or irrational thoughts. It’s just a bunch of building materials connected to form a place where people live.

It’s a structure. It’s not evil.

OK. By demolishing the home, the neighborhood crime rate decreased. That is, for awhile anyway.

About two years after this story aired on a Twin Cities television station, the neighbors were targeting another &uot;evil&uot; home. The first bad home was demolished, but the real source of the problem moved three doors down the street.

They labeled another home &uot;evil&uot; and now proposed another feel-good, empty – and costly – attempt to eliminate the problem. Of course, they blame anything but people for their problems.

Sound absurd? It is, but their solution is, unfortunately, common.

Another example?


Can anyone explain the now common headline that includes some variation of gun violence? I don’t have a degree in English, but isn’t this implying that guns are capable of committing violent acts?

If this is true, should I arrange counseling for my shotgun?

All jokes aside, it’s just more feel-good hooey. If we blame guns, we don’t have to blame ourselves.

Crimes are committed by people. As such, only people deserve blame for crimes – these type of people are, obviously, called criminals.

This sounds too simple, but it’s where we should start if we want to decrease crime.

Let’s get real and quit proposing feel-good, empty solutions.