My wife and I were going through a number of random topics – our viewpoints on things are either very similar or almost completely opposite, so this can be a fun pastime – and came across the following hypothetical:
If you couldn’t be convicted of any one type of crime, what criminal charge would you like to be immune to?
It required some thought. You don’t want to waste your immunity on something stupid. Likewise, you don’t want to waste it on something you would never do.
Here are some of the things you can get done for, vaguely ordered from less naughty to quite naughty indeed:
- Taking drugs
- Traffic violations (speeding, parking)
- Pirating videos/downloading TV shows.
- Tax evasion
- Pirating (parrots, wooden legs)
I’ve left off things that I wouldn’t even consider. And probably a lot of things that I would consider, but I didn’t think of.
Then we started thinking about why we would need immunity from them. Is it because it’s something we’re likely to do on a regular basis? Or because the punishment is so severe that we don’t want to face it?
I mean, the punishment (as a middle-aged white guy) for taking drugs, jaywalking and shoplifting aren’t so bad that they warrant immunity from being charge for them. Same with speeding and parking fines. But if you were constantly speeding, or taking speed, it might be worth it for the savings.
On the other hand, in today’s political climate, it might be worth being immune to prosecution over acts of treason, terrorism and assassination. We’re only a bad decision away from being labelled treasonous or a terrorist. And I’d hate to be blamed for moving that piano using a dodgy crane just as the PM was walking underneath. It was an accident I swear! Same as last week with the piranhas! The punishments for the big things might make that choice worth it.
You know, if you planned on doing it more than once…
…Or blogging about it.
Maybe choosing something that you might do accidentally. It’s easy to stuff up a tax return, or walk out of a shop carrying that bag of oranges. Or dressing up like a bat and protecting the citizens of Melbourne from criminals.
I meant speeding. It’s easy to accidentally speed. Dressing up like a bat is quite difficult, especially with a bit of a pot belly.
Some people might suggest that putting murder and assault on the list might be considered a little bit evil. But here’s where the idea of being immune to prosecution for a crime starts to sound a bit more tempting:
Sometimes you REALLY want to kill someone, but it is considered illegal in this country (and most other countries). And fair enough too. I don’t want murder to be made legal. I just want it to be something that I personally can get away with. It wouldn’t even be considered legal, just something that I get away with.
Hear me out. I don’t want to go around randomly killing people. But if someone killed a family member and got away with it, I have a few friends who would help me bury the body.
I honestly don’t know whether I could kill someone. Probably not. Maybe I should just stick with vigilantism.
I rock a cape.