Anyone contemplating doing a crime needs to consider FIVE questions.
One: what do I have to GAIN?
Two: who gets HURT?
Three: how MUCH?
Four: what is the likelihood of my being CAUGHT?
And five: what will HAPPEN to me if I do?
These five questions apply to ANY crime. Two cases in point…
One fine day, you decide to visit your Granny in a nearby village and are motoring down a quiet country road when all of a sudden, a white van goes HARING past you with one of its rear doors swinging wildly. A minute later, you discover the reason for the driver’s haste as a police car with lights flashing and sirens blaring goes past at a similar pace.
Since you are an innocent bystander you continue on your journey, keeping a sharp lookout ahead – in case the van has crashed or the police have caught up with it and a melee is in progress.
Thus it is that while slowly negotiating a bend, you observe a grey lump in the ditch at the side of the road. As you come closer, you see that it is a plastic sack. And as you slow and draw level, you observe it has split and wads of MONEY are spilling out.
You stop and look around – you see NO-ONE. Stepping out of the car, all is quiet, save for the distant wailing of the police car’s sirens. You stand there for a moment – then in a flash, you open your car’s boot and throw the sack into it, quickly followed by the wads of notes that have spilled out.
Satisfied you have found them all, you pause once more – all is now silent apart from the wind rustling in the trees and the curlew’s soft impeachment. You JUMP back into your car and quickly do a three point turn – careful to leave no tracks – and head back home, figuring to visit Granny another day.
As you drive – resisting the temptation to speed – you have time to consider the ramifications of what has happened. You figure the van must have been returning from a robbery and one of the gang failed to secure the rear door – and the bag is part of the “swag”.
Once home, you drive the car straight into the garage and check your rear number-plate. You breathe a sigh of relief as you see the plate is caked with mud after your last trip out to your brother’s farm.
You had meant to wash the car – but, knowing many police cars have “dash-cams” – are damn glad you did NOT. And so, taking comfort from this, you set about transferring your find from the car, through the interconnecting door to your house.
There you sit in your bedroom, surrounded by CASH. Around a hundred grand, by your estimate – and all in used, non-sequential twenties. A quick test under the UV light in your bug-killer confirms the notes are genuine.
They appear to be heavily used – but not enough to affect their value. You figure they must have been destined for destruction, before they were intercepted by the crooks. Next day’s newspaper confirms this theory. It also tells you the crooks got AWAY.
You reason it is unlikely they KNOW they are missing a bag – and even if they do, there is nothing to identify YOU as its recipient – while the cops will assume the crooks have ALL the loot. You have just committed The Perfect Crime.
So now, let us apply those five questions to this case. One: what do you have to gain? Answer – a HUNDRED GRAND in READIES. Two: who gets hurt? Well, NO-ONE – unless you figure the entire COUNTRY. But then, the answer to question three – how much – would be a tiny fraction of a penny for every man and woman in said country. They would never miss it.
But what about question four – your chances of getting caught? Well, ZERO, provided you did not get SILLY. And five – what would happen to you if you did? In that case, a good brief ought to be able to convince even the STERNEST judge or jury that ANYONE who was not a MULTI-MILLIONAIRE would have done the SAME – had such an opportunity dropped into THEIR lap.
So – a crime worth committing? Of COURSE!
But now let us examine ANOTHER scenario. You are in a Post Office, queuing to buy stamps. In front of you is a little old lady, collecting her pension. Once she has gone, you pick up your stamps and leave the shop.
You turn into an alley and find yourself walking up behind the little old lady.
It occurs to you that you KNOW she still has her pension on her – she did not have time to spend it – and since the two of you are here alone in the alley, parting her from her money would be a pushover. Literally.
But first, consider again those five questions.
One: what do you have to gain? A lousy double-figure sum – hardly retirement money. Two: who gets hurt? Well obviously – a poor little old lady. Three: how much? A hell of a LOT. That is probably all the money she HAS. And even if you avoid injuring her, a mugging at her age might make her afraid to leave the house again – ever. You’d ruin her LIFE.
Then four: what would be your chances of getting caught? Probably quite high, unless you were just passing through the area. The Post Office probably had a surveillance camera – and suppose a couple of Lads turned the corner of the alley, just as you were committing the deed?
They would CREAM you.
Finally, five: what would happen to you if you were caught? Well, it wouldn’t be good. The best brief in the COUNTRY could not mitigate a crime like that. And once your fellow-prisoners found out what you were inside for…
So – another crime worth committing? Of course NOT!
But whilst these two examples are fairly clear-cut, others are not so simple. However – WHATEVER the crime, these five questions apply to ALL of them.
Given poverty and the right opportunity, we are ALL bent. Morality is for those who can AFFORD it. The only aspect that divides us is the question of the VICTIM. There is nothing wrong with a person who is happy to fleece corporations, banks and governments – they fleece US every day.
But only a TOOL will steal from another PERSON. We have enough trouble trying to keep our heads up above the constant onslaught of ripoffery (it’s a word) perpetrated by The System – without having our brothers and sisters JOINING it!