On April 3rd, Warner Brothers released the trailer for the new movie JOKER starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character. Fans are thrilled to have the Clown Prince of Crime back on the big screen and for good reason. The Joker is not just one of the most beloved villains in DC history, but in all of pop culture. Why is an insane criminal one of society’s most loved villains?
Cassandra Twining | @cass_twining
Capital punishment, commonly known as the death penalty, is one of the most contentious topics of our time. There are many nuanced positions the thinkers of our society take. One of the most popular arguments in favor of the death penalty is the idea of retribution; an eye for an eye. This is not any new concept, it has been around for hundreds of years. This, however, doesn’t mean it’s right or a perfect argument.
Louis Pojman, Oxford graduate and author of A Defense of the Death Penalty, argues in his paper that we should enact capital punishment when it is necessary and deserved. He believes that is the case when someone takes the life of someone else pointlessly and intentionally. Pojman argues that when someone consciously takes the life of an innocent human they inherently forfeit their right to life, and therefore can be put to death without breaking basic moral codes.
Tom DiGennaro | United States
South Dakota is now the 14th U.S. state to enact constitutional carry into state law. Governor Kristi Noem signed the bill, introduced by the Republican-controlled State Legislature, into law. Therefore, constitutional carry is the law of the land in South Dakota, effective July 1st.
Constitutional carry, also known as permitless carry, allows full civilian concealed carry. It is a derivative of the Second Amendment; “The right of the people to keep and bear (carry) arms, shall not be infringed”.
Full List of Constitutional Carry States
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
In some states, constitutional carry applies to open carry, some concealed carry, and other both.
The Constitutional Argument
If you need to ask permission to exercise a right, then it is not a right. Rather, it is a privilege, and the Second Amendment is not on the Bill of Privileges.
Government involvement in the process of firearm ownership, as well as carry, essentially defeats the purpose of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment’s protections extend further than just personal self-defense. Rather, the Second Amendment’s purpose ensures that a citizenry has accessed the proper means to form a militia. The militia is necessary to defend a nation from oppressors. Foreign invaders, as well as domestic tyrants. Anyone who swears into office affirms they will defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Obviously, the government controlling the right to bear arms that exists for defense against the very same government is illogical.
Therefore, the only feasible way the Second Amendment can serve its purpose is to eliminate government-issued carry permits or licenses. Imagine one needs a background check, a waiting period, a fee, and a license to publish a news article. It is wrong for the government to suppress ownership and carry of firearms. The same way it is also wrong for the government to suppress speech. Ironically enough, the former protects the latter.
Aside from constitutional purposes, constitutional carry obviously makes it easier for law-abiding citizens to carry and defend themselves.
Accessibility Regardless of Income
This applies especially to those with lower incomes. Carry permit fees can be as low as $10 but can also range between $100-200. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it is difficult to find 200 bucks to shell out. Obtaining a carry permit also requires a business day trip to the licensing agency. Some states will also mandate a training course. Not everyone can afford to take time off work either.
General Public Safety
It may be hard to convince fear-mongering gun grabbers of such, but making guns more accessible to the public correlates with safety. Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire and Idaho report the first, second, third, and fifth lowest crime rates in the country, respectively. They also have constitutional carry laws.
At the end of the day, there is no amount of legislation possible that will eliminate violence. Those who wish to commit crimes with firearms will be able to obtain them, whether they are legal or not. They will carry them, whether it is legal or not. The vast majority of people who walk into gun stores and purchase a firearm do not commit a crime with that firearm.
An armed population is a deterrent to crime. A criminal is extremely less likely to rob or assault someone they know is armed. The same thing happens when they are unsure that they are unarmed. Armed citizens are a poor choice of prey.
The Future of Constitutional Carry
A variety of other state legislatures are working to push constitutional carry through. Ultimately, constitutional carry is vital to the preservation of a free nation, common public safety, resistance to tyranny. One can only dream one day the Second Amendment is all the paperwork necessary to carry, in all 50 states.
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By Ian Brzeski | United States
For many people, morality is relatively subjective. To some, sex before marriage is a sin, and to others, it is perfectly reasonable. Some people love taking drugs, and others are appalled by them. People of all kinds differ in their values on these issues and on many others such as access to guns, homosexuality, and prostitution. Whether or not committing a particular act falls under someone’s values, everyone should realize that committing victimless “crimes” should not be punished by the state.
What are Victimless Crimes?
In essence, a victimless crime is a “crime” under the law where there is no identifiable victim. It is performed when no other person or party is involved in the action taking place beside the perpetrator or consenting adults. Consuming drugs is a prime example of a victimless crime. The only party that person would potentially be harming in that act alone would be himself. He or she willingly chose to engage in this act; thus, there is no victim. The same goes for that person when they engage in obtaining the drugs through consensual means. These means include joining into a contract with his “dealer.” The two adults here both agree on terms in this exchange. The dealer provides the drugs, and the consumer provides a means of exchange for his desired goods, presumably money.
Freedom of Choice
Locking people up like caged animals for committing victimless, nonviolent crime is complete nonsense. It does not matter what a person’s morality says about drugs. One could think that they are awful and downright immoral, but that does not change the fact people can do as they please as long as no other person is harmed or brought into unwanted affairs. Those people, out of their own free will, chose to engage in that exchange and then go on with their lives as they please. Nobody was hurt, and everything was purely consensual. Fundamentally, it is not that much different than going out and buying groceries.
If you do not like drugs, don’t do them. Nobody forces you to take them, and if somebody does force you, then that is a crime in itself as it takes away your freedom to make those decisions for yourself. Just as people want the freedom to decide to say no to drugs, others should also have the freedom to take drugs without fear of being imprisoned by the state. It is inconceivable to think that drug abusers belong in a prison cell. Drug abusers need help, not prison time.
While incredible amounts of funding have gone towards decreasing drug use, the drug addiction rate is the same as it was about 40-50 years ago. Instead of spending over a trillion dollars in incarcerating these people, spending should be focused on helping these addicts. Portugal decided to do this about 17 years ago, decriminalizing all drug use and focused their spending on rehabilitation for drug users. At one point, about 1% of Portugal’s population were drug abusers, and now that number has been halved.
The same decriminalization practices should be used for prostitution, pornography, owning guns, and any other victimless crime. If you do not like any of these things, then don’t partake in them- it’s as simple as that. Not to mention that decriminalizing and accepting all of these would make them safer. No more back alley pimps who abuse and drug their prostitutes to make a quick buck. No more sketchy and untrusting drug dealers who may lace their products. No more massive cartels as the majority of their products would be legally imported in the country; thus, losing the majority of their funding. Everything listed here would run as a legitimate business which would then promote competition, naturally making these businesses safer. Interdiction on all of these things is no different from the prohibition of alcohol, and we all know how well that went.
Legalization in Amsterdam
I recently went to Amsterdam where marijuana, certain psychedelic drugs, and prostitution are all legal. The prostitution is all kept in one sector of the city, known as the Red Light District. The Red Light District was bustling with people and seemed as if it were just another business center. These businesses are basically “forced” to care for the health of their laborers as they would have an incentive to because it would be horrible for business if one of their workers had some disease such as an STD. One could find drugs anywhere, but nobody is forcing others to take them. If you want to smoke a blunt, then you can, and if you do not want to, then you do not have to.
The overall cleanliness of the city was surprising. One would think that by allowing drug use and prostitution, the city would be pretty dirty, but that is not true in the slightest. Homeless people and garbage on the streets were not to be found, at least from my experience. Amsterdam has experimented with decriminalizing some of these victimless crimes, and it seems to be going pretty well for them.
Victimless crimes are not real crimes. People should not be punished for doing things that do not harm others or their property, and we must put an end to decades of government control over people’s choice of how they treat their bodies.
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Thomas Calabro | United States
Perhaps one of the most polarizing debates in our political environment is how to prevent crime from happening. This is a legitimate issue to debate as we desire security from threats against us. But the fear of crime usually leads us to the inclination of sacrificing our constitutional freedoms for “security”. For most of these cases, the inclination is utilized by politicians who harp on these emotions to instill a greater requirement to implement their policies. They wish to be the heroes that stopped crime and saved our society violence by providing more tools for the local and federal governments, and seizing our rights to privacy, to bear arms, and to live peacefully.
There are those who oppose these policies and call for protecting our constitutional rights, these so called “heroes” rebuke by delegitimize the rights and liberties being violated. Those rights are portrayed as a risk for flourishing more crime, and are not even protected by the constitution. If this tactic of disparaging their opponents argument fails their next move is to simplify the argument to this context to either preserving liberty or obtaining security. But rather than using more direct approaches that sacrifices our rights, we should focus on the indirect approach of not creating the crime in the first place.
We should not support policies that create instability in the world, and lead to insurgency groups retaliating against us for creating chaos. It is easier to understand why radical groups rise up to attack an intruding country when you think in terms of China invading the US. This is a point that many view as equating the US to terrorists, but should be seen as an acknowledgment that many will react to situations in similar ways. Viewing those in the Middle East as different from us detracts the ability to fully understand their actions as very similar to what ours would have been if we were in that same scenario. We would not end terrorism by detracting from our current interventionist foreign policy, as that would likely not be the case. However, reducing instability in the world would prevent more groups from rising from power vacuums, especially those that are provided arms by the US, that will be used later against our troops.
We should start asking “Why” a perpetrator would commit a heinous crime rather than “How.” Looking at the psychological, social, and cultural issues of a group, and understanding why people from this group commit violent crimes, is a reasonable way to notice a pattern that ultimately leads to violence. Yet many refuse to look in this way and instead focus on the tools used in the process. The idea of prohibiting the use of this item from some, or even all, and hoping to stop a plotted attempt has grown popular in todays society, providing a “quick fix” that will supposedly save the day. But this not only threatens the individual liberty of each law abiding American, it also may have unintended consequences, simply leading some to find other ways to obtain these goods and perpetrate acts of evil. By looking at the causes of acts of violence, we may find a more disturbing fact in our society that drives people to take the lives of others, and create new strategies to fix this permanently.
Finally we should question whether the crime is really harmful. We should be a country with citizens that abide to the laws, but the laws that we follow must be reasonable and follow the very principles of our country. We must understand that not all laws truly follow the principles of this country, and to keep them around is to approve of their purpose in our country. If we are to uphold the principles of our Country to make the US a symbol of liberty, we should look at our past mistakes of infringing on American’s freedoms to make sure they are corrected in our present and will never happen again in our future.
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