Guest Commentary / May 31, 2022

The Real Cause of and Cure for Crime

People resort to crime and violence because they have no sense of right and wrong.

By Larry Craig

Crime is in the news a lot lately, particularly violent crime. There is just too much of it.

Of course, nobody knows why any of this is happening, so we have to call in the experts … or so they can tell us.

I think life is a lot less complicated than that, and I think the experts are getting it wrong for the most part.

A recent letter to a newspaper captured this clearly. The writer says, and I’m sure the experts will agree, that “the unacceptable level of crime in our city is due to many factors: poverty and equity, low employment opportunities in under-resourced neighborhoods, high dropout rates and tension between law enforcement and those communities.”

Apart from the high dropout rates, everything is somebody else’s fault. Maybe the high dropout rates are somebody else’s fault too.

If only our government had spent billions of more dollars in certain communities; if only we had given poor people more money so they wouldn’t be poor anymore; if only selfish employers, or the government, had made more jobs in certain neighborhoods; if only the police were nicer people, then people wouldn’t resort to crime. They would be happy and content and wouldn’t want to shoot anybody anymore.

No, people resort to crime and violence because they have no sense of right and wrong. Usually that requires a belief in God, who sees and knows everything and who holds people accountable for their actions. But even prior to that, it’s a value system that says certain things are just wrong.

Many times in my life I have had to figure out what to do about something, and there were always a number of options that were never considered. Because they were wrong.

When you have no sense of right and wrong, then wrong things become options. And when wrong things are options, we can find reasons to do them. Even random, spontaneous violence or crime happens because a person previously had permitted violence or crime as a viable option for certain situations.

As long as crime and violence are somebody else’s fault, we will never solve them. We will never feel like society is doing enough as long as there is high crime.

But nobody can say that I am not responsible for what I did, and society needs to affirm that. Prosecutors must hold them accountable. There are no acceptable mitigating circumstances for violence.

The cure for crime and violence is parenting. That means a husband and wife in a loving relationship and raising their own children.

Of course, there are exceptions. There are bad parents. There are parents that fail. But having a child’s natural parents in a loving home is still the best program we have with the highest success rate.

What are parents but full-time mentors, caregivers, supporters, educators, tutors, and support systems for each child? Moreover, most parents find that children create a love they didn’t expect and didn’t know before.

Whether you believe in God or evolution, they both ended up at the same place. Children are the result of a mutual biological act that creates new life. Children prosper best when they have the benefit of both parents together in their lives.

And all this is at no cost to the public treasury.

It used to be a shame in our society for an unwed woman to become pregnant and have a child. Now it is often celebrated.  We don’t want anybody to feel shame for their actions, like they might have made a bad choice.

Our schools encourage children to become sexually active at very young ages. They don’t teach that sex is something that is meant for marriage, or even that marriage is something they might want for their lives. Sex, yes. Marriage, who knows?

As a society, we should encourage families. They are the foundation of a society. The smallest building blocks. Every new member has two full-time adult mentors to show them how to live. There is no better solution.

The problem, of course, is that encouraging marriage, families, and parenting won’t solve today’s crime problems. It’s the best answer to solve future problems, but not today’s.

Whatever else you want to do to make society a better place, you need to enforce the rules. There must be consequences for those who commit crime. Without that, all those other answers won’t change anything.

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