People become criminals either out of necessity, laziness or greed, by breaking a legal edict, moral or religious law, or someone else’s leg. There are, of course, the exceptions to the case, which involve people who are wrongfully convicted of a crime that they did not commit, nor had any role in. When people are duped into helping other criminals, and then get caught, they are given light sentences due to their unknown accompaniment with the crime breaker(s). Unfortunately, stupidity is no excuse, as they are still criminals since they were convicted of a crime, whether they knew they were part of one or not.
In the Americas and most of the European Union, we have laws that are basically derived from the Ten Commandments, and other musings from various versions of The Bible. In Muslim societies, laws can be based on Sharia Law, where findings of guilt or innocence, and the punishment are based on community and elder, respected businessmen, tribal warlords and statesmen. What it all boils down to though is do what we tell you to do and how to do it, not what we do and how we do it, because if you don’t, you are have become a criminal.
People break the laws of man, of their land or of their God, and are thus labelled criminal. To many people, being a criminal is one of the easier jobs out there, with an easy three hot meals every day, a cot (made of concrete or steel, but still a cot), and a roof over their heads when they need it at the iron bar hotel. People with jobs who get fired or laid off lose their homes, cars and, sometimes, family and friends. But when a criminal gets fired, or caught, they gain a new home. Sort of seems wrong, now doesn’t it?
How people become criminals is rather easy, as they simply need to break a law and get caught, placed in a court of law and judged by an assembly of their peers, found guilty and sentenced to prison, probation or both. Sentences range with the graveness of the criminal activity, though, and the more successful a criminal, the less amount of time spent in the iron bar hotel.
A successful criminal would be a person who manages to never work for a living, never be arrested or charged with a criminal offence. To be successful, they would also have to make more than enough money to live comfortably, while not harming any innocent people in the commission of their criminal activities (leaves out a lot of criminals, like drug dealers and importers, sex crimes, burglary, robbery, etc.).
Now, with the advent of biker gangs, we now have laws that make you a criminal if your friends are criminals. If you knowingly associate with a member of an organized criminal association, you are guilty of “association”. Now, in my humble opinion, that is beyond the intent of the law, and a prime example of lawmakers gone amuck, because if you happen to have relatives or friends who are in an illegal biker gang, and you visit or associate with them, you are a criminal.
Now, we have to define innocent people, since there would be no criminals if there were no innocent people, or no victims, as there are no victimless crimes. Somebody must be harmed by a criminal activity, or the activity would not be considered illegal, and when that circle starts slowing to a halt, the understanding of what makes a criminal becomes clearer; a criminal is someone who wants to live in a manner befitting his own desires, without getting a job or earning a proper living. A criminal can also be a wealthy person, policeman, judge, politician, priest or pauper, the station in life does not define criminal, activity or lack thereof defines criminal.
A crime being committed is how a criminal is made. But what happens when a society commits a crime, or even a country, as witnessed in the case of the Germans under Adolph Hitler, or the Russians under Stalin and the Iraqis under Saddam Hussein. When people are killed for no reason other than they were in the way, they pray to a different God, or they live in a different village, these are all crimes. Crimes against humanity. But the purveyors of these crimes are not considered criminals by everyone, they can either be war heroes or martyrs, depending upon who you ask.
A criminal can be made, as in the case of banking, newspaper and oil executives taking a few more dollars from the company coffers than the multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses that they already receive, a crime in itself. Bernie Madoff, the $50 billion ponzi scheme artist, who was already a very wealthy man before entering into this chaotic scheme that would surely be found at one time or another.
Greed is the harbinger of most crime, well, behind religion and love. When a few billion dollars is not enough for you, you know that you are greedy, just as surely as if you were to drive your riding lawnmower to the drive through, you would know that you are a redneck. How people become criminals is by wanting more than their station in life, and being willing to do whatever it takes to get to that point, and then to the next higher point, and then the next, and so on, until they either get caught or wake up dead.
How can you tell if someone is a criminal? If they are human, the chances are pretty good that they are a criminal, in one sense of the word or another. They have either harboured thoughts of crimes or of broken religious edicts, or they just have not yet been caught for any of the crimes that they do, have or are going to commit.
Crime is big business, and if the crime rate were to fall 500%, then there would have to be a lot of prisons closed, a lot of prison staff laid off, and a lot of lucrative government contracts faulted upon or cancelled. That would not be good for the economy, so don’t expect the war on drugs to ease off of the plight of the disabled people, using marijuana for pain and nausea, migraine headaches and radiation therapy side effects. They are criminals, in the eyes of the law. Over 14% of all prisoners in the pen are in for simple possession of marijuana charges. They are criminals, after all.