How Many Crime Fiction Writers Have Actually Committed a Crime?

You don't necessarily have to say "yes" or "no." But what does a "yes" or "no" mean? Better or worse for the writing?

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I probably missed something somewhere along the line here. I'm an American citizen and aware of the massive numbers of people in jail. We have a lot of crime. Some of it is connected to the fact that we have a lot of guns. I'm with Benjamin on the crime and punishment issue: let the non-violent offenders work off their sentence and let the money go to the victims. Violent offenders need to be kept away from society to protect people. Rehabilitation doesn't work, though very young offenders may benefit.
The UK has a gun ban and plenty of crime. An all-out knife ban is now in the works. The reason the U.S. has lots of people in jail has more to do with the number and kind of laws on the books. We're putting non-violent people behind bars, many due to possession of something illegal.
Unless you mean the marijuana laws in the U.S., I'm not aware of anything that isn't clearly criminal. For that matter, our newspapers are full of reports of new murders every single day. Most of the serious crime here is gun-related. And so are a lot of non-criminal fatalities. Guns are traded on the streets by teens and sub-teens for money or drugs.
Yes, most serious crime in the U.S. is gun-related. But take away the guns and you still haven't gotten rid of the criminal. As for the drugs, marijuana possession is one part of a prohibition that isn't working.

We're coming from two different points of view on these issues. I don't want to take it any further than this, lest I hijack my own thread. I always enjoy your posts, I.J.
If you make guns illegal, only criminals will have them.

Prohibition never works, it just drives it underground and creates more crime. Besides, especially in America where individual liberty is supposed to be highly prized, what business does the government have telling me what I can put in my own body?
If you make guns illegal, only criminals will have them.

In China guns are outlawed and so hard to get that the cab drivers sit inside metal cages because their only real fear in an attempted robbery is a stabbing.

If I'm not mistaken there are European countries where guns are outlawed and where the crime rates are much lower than they are here.

I'm on the fence, personally, when it comes to outlawing guns in America. I only raise these points because the best policy answer is more complicated than a bumper sticker.

I'm also open to legalizing some drugs, but before actually signing off would want to be presented with the experiences of the countries who've experimented with such laws. I know there have been some.
In China guns are outlawed and so hard to get that the cab drivers sit inside metal cages because their only real fear in an attempted robbery is a stabbing.

So? Crime obviously hasn't been reduced then, has it? Also, just because something is hard to get legally, doesn't mean it's hard to get, especially in Chinese society where connections are everything. Higher level criminals, such as gangs, are not going to have any problem getting guns if needed. They also aren't taking taxis.

Finally, correlation does not equal causation. Just because a country has outlawed guns and also has low crime does not necessarily mean that the low crime is the result of banning guns.
My point was it's possible at least in some places to make it difficult even for the vast majority of outlaws to obtain guns. And by the way that's a fairly cavalier "So?" you've got there. It's a heck of a lot more likely to live through a robbery at knife-point than gun-point.

On your other point, sure correlation doesn't equal causation, I never said it did. But whenever a correlation is found it usually calls for more in-depth analysis.
The "So?" part is because your own anecdote suggests that guns are not the issue at all, but crime in general. Does it matter that it's hard to get guns? In your anecdote, apparently not, as crime is still a problem.

But whenever a correlation is found it usually calls for more in-depth analysis.

Agreed.

New York has more crime than my home state of Kentucky, yet New York has strict gun laws and Kentucky has almost none (you don't even have to register a gun bought in Kentucky). Granted, this doesn't prove anything except that the gun issue is, as you suggested, complex.
Do I dare say I'm Canadian? The facts are the facts, and the fact is that in countries that outlaw carrying firearms, the rate of violent crime, especially resulting in death, is much much lower. Of course there is still crime, and still violent crime, but the mindset even among criminals is to value life to a greater degree. Also, the immediacy of holding a gun is removed, which causes most violent actors to pause till the head is clearer.
Reciprocal, Benjamin.
I was once stopped by police outside Laviv, Ukraine. We were back on the road in about an hour, but fifty American dollars poorer. My hosts explained the violation. Apparently it was against the law to drive by a local policeman who hadn't been paid in three months, with license plates that clearly show your vehicle is from another province.

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