AW: crime in big cities and Europe

From: Karsten Baender (
Date: Wed Jun 21 2000 - 08:15:56 MDT

[Non-member submission]

> [car security]
> Actually, there is a nice system that originated in South Africa that
> consists of some short duration flame throwers that shoot up from under
> the rocker panel, covering the doors on both sides of the vehicles.
> Supposedly very effective in deterring and preventing carjackings.

Nice idea, but would never be allowed in Germany. Has this system ever been
produced for the common market? As I have many friends in Eastern Europe,
where carjacking is a major problem when you have an expensive car, they
would be very intersted in such a system.

> The way to secure your car most cheaply is to live where so many law
> abiding people are armed that a car thief is more likely to be
> apprehended by an armed civilian than to escape with the vehicle or its
> contents. Where I live most people don't even have to lock their cars.
> The concept of the security of one's private property is part and parcel
> of one's right to personal security. Its understood that your countries
> suffer from a higher percentage of five fingered socialists, always
> willing to redistribute your stuff to themselves.

The problem is not the "five - fingered socialists" but the white-collar
socialists who run this country. Our actual political system is closer to
Socialism than to my understanding of Democracy.

There is also a difference between living in a big city like Frankfurt and
living in the country like my parents do. I do seldom lock my car when I am
there as I never heard of such crimes in that region.

BTW: A friend of me from southern Italy once told me of a small town where
there is absolutely no crime. It is the home town of a large mafia clan, and
they keep it clean. About ten years ago there was a thief in town. He was
found some time later on the bottom of the harbor.

> What is your life worth when your life savings and property have been
> destroyed or stolen? A person who would steal the product of your labor
> is stealing your time, is stealing your life, is enslaving and killing
> you. Just because the theif only takes a small portion of your life
> makes him no less a killer than one who takes your entire life at once.
> Lets say a pickpocket steals my insulin kit, and I'm visiting a city in
> europe where few people around speak english to a degree to understand
> my needs as a diabetic. I go into insulin shock and die. Should the
> thief be charged with murder, or just for petty theft? He only stole
> maybe $100 worth of medical equipment and drugs. Thats not much. But it
> was the difference between life and death for me. Even if I reach
> medical attention in time to save my life, the toxic shock has
> irreversibly shortened my life, so years of my life have been stolen,
> not just a mere $100 worth of medical equipment, and my life was
> threatened. Lets say I pull my legally owned pistol when the pickpocket
> grabs my medical kit, and hold him at gun point. I can justifiably say
> my life was threatened, can't I? Was ALL of my life threatened, or just
> part of it? Which part? The part represented by the $100 invested in the
> insulin kit? Or the possible years taken off the end of my life by
> insulin shock? Or would it be the entire remainder of my life if I could
> have died?

I do have my own oppinion on this, but as I am a law student, I know the
official way the law would handle this: Certainly the thief would not get
punished for murder, he would - perhaps, if it is a good day - get a
sentence for accidental killing. Anyway, our laws are way to soft. But as it
was not his intention to kill, you could hardly try him for murder.

>> criminal sued them for severe injury. In the end, the criminal
>was sentenced
>> less hard than those who had helped the victim. And that is
>definitely not
>> just!
> Very much so. There are places here like that, very socialist states
> like Massachusetts, where such idiocy is allowed to be considered common
> jurisprudence.

I did not know that such things happen in the US. But I doubt that this is a
sign of "Socialism".

>> That is one fact. In Europe, possession of arms is restricted.
> But the "bad
>> guys" also have limited weapons. If you would allow anyone to
> carry weapons,
>> then the bad guys will certainly carry them. Although I would
> have prefered
>> to have a gun as long as I lived in Frankfurt, I doubt that it
> would have
>> done any good. If you are unarmed, well, you can get beaten up
> or robbed.
>> Okay. If you are armed, you get shot. Okay, if you are a combat-trained
>> gunslinger, you might be able to shoot them, but most people
> aren't. So this
>> is no big defense. The bad guys usually have more guns, more
> firepower and,
>> ost important, the least problems of using them.
> The 'bad guys' in europe have all the weapons they want. The bad guys
> carry them whether law abiding people have them or not. If a criminal is
> so bold as to decide to take your life in defiance of the law against
> murder, what makes you think a little thing like a weapons law will keep
> him from getting a gun. BTW: I've always wanted to ask a German this:
> How does it feel to still be living under laws drafted under the Nazi
> regeime?

First of all, Psychology tell us that few criminals have an interest in
killing others without a cause. The cause could be money. If the victim is
unarmed, killing is not necessary, threatening with a weapon usually is
enough. In Germany we have a very low rate of Murder, with 381 cases of
murder. There were a total of 12.448 cases of weapons usage only as a
threat. So you could say that we have a very, very low rate of crimes with
actual wepaons usage. The crime rate in the US is quite different: 1998 ther
were 14088 cases of murder.

The German code of laws has not being drafted by the Nazi regime. Though
many laws have been changed under in the Nazi time, these changes were
reversed after the war. The history of Greman law is much older: The civil
code of law, "Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch", was published 1900, it based on the
Prussian Land Law "Preussisches Landrecht", which was around 200 years
older, which in turn based on the Carolina, published under Emperor Karl V
around 1500 AD. This in turn had its origins mostly on the Roman law, but
also in the laws of the Germanic people.

>> Weapons do no harm. It's the people who use them. Most of the people who
>> have guns neve use them. At least not on other people. Even
> most criminals
>> would not deliberately use excessive force to achieve their goal. If all
>> people have guns, the criminal is forced to use maximum force to achieve
>> their goal without danger for themselves. The problem of
> liberal gun laws is
>> that the tendency to use them will increase.
> No. you are very wrong there. States here that have liberal gun laws
> have shown very little use in crime. It is in states and cities that
> have very restrictive gun laws where most gun crime occurs.

>From my point of view here in Germany I do not have a good possiblity of
anaylzing the differences between the US states. In the News it's simply the
US. If this is indeed true, then this would be some good argument, as I
personally do not agree wit hthe strict gun laws here. But I have a problem
with a general freedom to carry weapons. Weapons are most dangerous in the
hands of people who are not able to use them. In any case I would allow any
lawful citizen to carry a weapon, I would demand him to obatain a license
much similar to a driveng license.

>>> I have heard stories of severe thievery in Europe and on a
>>> sophisticated level that dates back centuries. I did not know
>>> they suffered from apathy when it comes to intervening in
>>> situations such as an ongoing rape. I know that has happened in
>>> the United States. What parts of Europe are you talking about?
>> Well, that is indeed a problem. A 17 year old girl was raped in
> Hamburg, by
>> day (!) and in a crowded local train (!!). I do not understand
> hos something
>> like this can happen in my country. Though I made the shocking
> experience
>> that this is common in this country, though rarely in such an
> extreme case.
>> Most violations are never reported due to the shame of the
> victims, which
>> makes it only worse. The problem here is not guns but simply the way of
>> thinking. As long as this does not change, the way people
> behave will not
>> change.
> That way of thinking is the thinking of well conditioned sheep. Any
> society that would convict good samaritans deserves the crime it gets.
> We had similar problems here in the states in the 1960s and 1970's,
> where criminals would sue people who apprehended them, and police and
> prosecutors would convict good samaritans. Finally people got sick of it
> and got the legislature to pass good samaritan laws, and they formed
> neighborhood watch groups, like the Guardian Angels.

Well, most people are well-conditioned sheep. I sometimes have the
impression that people bave become so single-minded that they simply do not
understand that i f they don't act, they could be next.

>> If we look at the overall facts, crimes like burglary or
> robbery might be
>> more frequent in Europe. But definitely the rate of murder and
> other capital
>> crimes is much higher in the US. If faced with the choice, I
> would always
>> prefer Europe. Property can be restored, that's why we have
> insurances. But
>> no insurance can give you back your life.
> You yourself pay for the property to be restored, since you pay much
> higher insurance premiums than I do. In the meantime, some of your life
> has been stolen, just as sure as if it had been killed off with a knife
> or a pistol...

Well, if you see it this way, the German state is the biggest thief, as we
have substantially higher taxes as you have. And that's a lot more than the

>> Like the Romans said: Ab igne ignem. - Out of the fire - fire.
> They also said "come home with your shield, or on it." Stand like a
> Roman against the barbarians and fight and win, or fight and die, or
> don't come home at all. In the Roman Republic, only the serfs, the
> slaves, were disarmed. Now you want us all to be slaves?

Now we get to the point. The question behind all this discussion is moral.
It is a question of the ethical values and how to apply them. It might seem
arrogant, but our system of laws is by far superior to that of the UK or the
US. We have ended the era of court law about five hundred years ago when
Emperor Karl V compiled a code of laws for the Holy Roman Empire. That
marked a change from the meideval system of feudal and court law. By the
way, the Romans also had a complete system of laws. Besides that I do not
like the idea of 12 laymen judging over things they do not really
understand. But what are the moral values that underlie each system? And
that's the great gap that we must close before we can compare the US with

The freedom to carry weapons is part of the US constitution. It is not part
of our constitution. It is part of our tradition which comes from imperial
times where the right to carry a wepaon was a priviledge. I would prefer if
every good citizen would be allowed to carry a weapon if he were able to use
it, much in the same way as you are allowed to drive after you have proven
your skill. But I doublt that this will be possible here in the near future.
The laws for carrying a gun are very, very strict in Germany. The idea
behind this is that the police is guarding the people. As this is a fiction
by now, the police will normally apear only after everything has happened or
not at all, I have taken a license to possess a weapon. But that is very,
very difficult to obtain. And the laws are getting stricter all the time! I
hope that this tendency will reverse at some time.

best regards


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