Justice Minister Kris Faafoi, announcing the government’s intention to abolish the three strikes law, demonstrated the all too common human failing of disrespect for logic. First, he cited two cases where the law was excessive to support the repeal. They don’t.
They would only be meaningful if seen in the context of the total number of times the law has been applied and thus locked up persistent crims to the public’s benefit.
“Better one guilty man go free etc, etc” Kris may argue, but the two cases quoted were on notice yet still offended. In short they were guilty, albeit their third lock-up resulting crimes being minor.
He then trotted out that woeful old utterly illogical saw of criminologists, namely that the law has been ineffectual as there’s been no drop in crime.
For God’s sake. That doesn’t prove the law has been ineffectual. It may well be that its existence has prevented numerous crimes and if it was possible to know, and it’s not, I’d give long odds it’s been a highly effective deterrent.
Why? Because crims, knowing they’re on the two strike mark and being stupid and villainous though they may be, would surely think carefully about the consequences before committing another offence.
A few months ago a much admired American philosopher published his latest book which was accorded widespread respectful reviews across the spectrum, that is by way of example, ranging from the Economist to the Guardian Weekly.
The book’s theme was how little logic plays a part in human affairs and cited all sorts of everyday examples. Kris Faafoi has demonstrated exactly the author’s point.
That said, it should be no surprise. I say that as overwhelmingly in human behaviour, emotion shows itself to be a much more powerful influence than reason.