When I was in school, I remember the whole class being punished (eg work in silence) unless a guilty one or two owned up to what they’d done. Surprise, surprise, nobody owned up and we all suffered the consequences. It never seemed to enter the teachers brain that the type of individuals responsible were never going to own up, since they didn’t care about the rest of us. Only those who did care would own up, but they were the sort unlikely to commit the misdemanour in the first place.
Time and time again this was the preferred solution. I don’t recall it ever working.
Years later, I saw the exact same behavour from government. Perhaps out of laziness, instead of targetting those responsible for a crime, the whole community is sanctioned in the hope it retreat further crime. Today, over at Anna Raccoon, we read of another example. A couple of parents were caught fighting outside the gates of a school in Cardiff. Rather than dealing with these two individuals, all parents are now banned from droping their children off at the school gates.
Such injustices are commonplace. Instead of enforcing existing laws against public drunkenness, we raise alcohol taxes and propose new minimum prices, and ban booze from public transport (at least in London).
Denmark has followed New York City and enacted a ‘fat tax’, punishing all those who like an unhealthy treat every now and then, all while hurting the poor the most.
Or consider drug prohibition, where it is illegal to smoke a relatively harmless substance just because a few might abuse it.
Justice is never served by punishing or removing freedoms from the majority, in order to make it easier to deal with the ‘crimes’ of a few.
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