The Valley saw some startling armed robberies and rip-offs over the holidays, suggesting that adding more police with tanks and bazookas isn’t working. Maybe we need a better class of criminals.
Police blotters currently reflect the sad state of local thuggery. Despite being a ritzy-snooty wine country Destination, our wife-beaters, dopers, muggers, gang-bangers and burglars are no better than Somalia’s.
Given the economy, it’s understandable that some fell in with Bad Companions to make ends meet. But life for lowlifes, and the rest of us, might be immeasurably improved if schools offered a semester of Crime instead of Wood Shop. The lawless could live better and with less annoyance to everyone by learning how Master Criminals maximize income, minimize risk, lead corporations, become respected in their communities and even get elected to public office.
Case in point: If our ne’er-do-wells had a fraction of the education of Wall Street fraudsters, they would not be shooting, mugging, stabbing and ripping off neighbors, passers-by or even fellow thugs. Instead, they’d do more profitable non-violent things, like insider trading, embezzlement and bank fraud.
Even if unable to grasp those subtleties, thugs could learn enough basic business principles to benefit themselves and their neighborhoods. E.G.: profit margins are higher hot-wiring a Lexus, not a Civic; shoplifting Nordstrom’s, not Friedman’s; swiping the Rolex, not their neighbor’s welfare check.
That lesson alone could increase (a) return on investment and (b) revenue per crime, thus (c) maximizing earnings while (d) requiring fewer crimes, thereby reducing (e) overall neighborhood crime and (f) the risk of prison. During class field trips to said prison, students would see that being locked up for robbing the homeless feels exactly like being locked up for robbing Bank of America.
This out-of-the-box approach might even rehabilitate the criminal “brand,” making it as well-regarded as, say, Congress. Consider: a nation that abhors today’s Street Hood nonetheless thinks fondly of Robin Hood, and Jesse James. Q: Why? Ans: Their victims – rapacious royalty, ruthless corporations and the superfluously rich – were “not like us.” They could afford victimhood and may even have deserved it. Today, they are also insured.
A better class of criminals could reduce and simplify police work by concentrating more crime online (for the Feds to handle), in upscale shopping districts and gated communities. This could leave the neighborhoods of the 99% with a lot fewer criminals and the ruffian SWAT-team element they attract.
Criminals could do worse than take Bernie Madoff as a role model. Bernie never beat his wife, stabbed anyone, sold drugs, massacred a mall, or burgled. “Boring Bernie” stayed in school, learning to make billions fleecing people who had money to spare, which is why they could invest with him in the first place.
With criminals more like Bernie, fighting crime would be safer for our police. Ever the gentleman, unarmed Bernie didn’t even resist arrest, and was beloved by his victims right up to the end.
True, in the end he was jailed for 150 years, but not until age 72, after a life of luxury. In nearby cells are thousands of school drop-outs who seldom had an easy day, all doing hard time for stealing a fraction of what Bernie scammed which was more than swiped by all of them put together, plus guys in the next two prisons over.
Bernie might not be as classy as Wall Street banksters, who are so refined that it’s apparently considered rude to arrest them. Nevertheless, America is what it is today because of respectable scum like Bernie.
So, Punks, listen up: Do Not Commit Crimes. But if you do, at least be decent about it. Otherwise, go straight and hold down two or three minimum-wage jobs like other people.
Yes, the take-home will suck but you’ll qualify for food stamps even if living under a bridge because you can’t afford Sonoma rents. Best of all, you won’t be in jail like Bernie, forced to live with a roof constantly over your head, hot meals, clothes, showers, healthcare, a warm bed, education, exercise, movies, books, haircuts, close companions and a really bad 24/7/365 cop Reality Show.