Crime existed before globalization. Crimes have been committed across borders for centuries. What is different is the complexity and sophistication of the crime. The societal, political and economic impact to individuals and nations causes a rippling effect that damages the infrastructure of a nation and risks the lives or quality of life for millions of individuals.The societal, political and economic impact of crime ripples through societies increasing the challenges facing us as individuals and as part of a regional or global community. It is a challenge to resolve and a challenge to pay for.National and individual security is the central focus and the primary basis for political legitimating. The events of 9/11 triggered unprecedented changes in legislation, political attitudes, policy reform, law enforcement guidelines, and altered the daily lifestyle of individuals everywhere. We faced the realism of our vulnerabilities.The societal impact to our way of life is psychologically damaging to us as individuals and as a nation. The political atmosphere changes as leaders and lawyers scramble to defend our nation and our way of life. Democracy is further challenged as government agencies struggled to respond.We first became aware of these rippling effects of terrorism on a global community following the “shock and awe” as the September 11, 2001 tragedy evolved which was broadcast to a global society. We saw it through our local and national television stations.Now, in 2013, we see a trend in the rise of domestic terrorism as students are massacred while in class or at recess at their local school. We saw it through Jeffery Holmes after he committed mass murder at a Colorado movie theatre. We hear about it from President Obama while giving a eulogy in Connecticut. We hear about it from our local news reporters on the nightly news and talk about it with our neighbors. The total cost of crime is difficult to measure, but the cost to ignore is even greater. The real challenge is to learn how to spend our money to get what we pay for.We still suffer the economic effects of crime and a failing economy which can still be seen at the online, job line of unemployment. We respond by blogging, reporting, voting. What else can we do without breaking the laws that bind us? Only the politicians and the police seem to have a job. Now, if we implement one more law designed to “change” something, we have committed to even greater costs. Then, only the politicians will have protection by the police. The individual will be robbed of self-defense, the right to bear arms, but will still be saddled with the cost to pay for “freedom.” Then, only the government and the criminals will have weapons. The tax-paying, law-abiding citizen will be left without protection.Today, President Obama submitted his proposal for stopping mass murder and other forms of violence by recommending changes to the gun control laws.Obama’s four primary suggestions are:
Requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private sales;
Banning “military-style” assault weapons;
Limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds;
Strengthening penalties for gun trafficking.These recommendations may help control guns, but I question if they change people by changing the attitudes that propel them to commit acts of violence? These recommendations also cost money.These recommendations, if approved by Congress and the American public, will cost the taxpayers even more money by forcing individuals and government agencies to legislate. More money will be spent to implement these new laws through the cost of background checks. It will cost the individual a fee when they apply for the background check to purchase a weapon and it will cost the taxpayers again through the increased staff of the governmental agencies who conduct the background check. Employing people costs money. Policing people costs money.Strengthening the penalties for gun trafficking will cost the taxpayers more money also. It will cost the taxpayer more taxes to build more prisons and to maintain the prisoners in prison with shelter and food. It will cost the taxpayers more money to prosecute those who might continue to bear arms with more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The average citizen will be caught, the criminal will get away.More importantly, these new laws will cost the taxpayers more money without reducing violence. We won’t get what we are paying for. We are fighting crime by combating the weapon. We will be spending our money to legislate and implement more laws that do not educate nor control the violent offender. Changing gun control laws does not change the violent mentality of the person. The weapon does not cause the crime. It is still a “chicken and egg” scenario. Which came first, the weapon or the person?The political impact is measured in the media and on street corners. The political atmosphere following the events of 9/11 changed dramatically propelling the “idea of preemption” to accelerate and become an officially acknowledged policy, explains Jude McCulloch, “Transnational crime as productive fiction.”The economic impact of terrorism or mass murder is more easily measured. It can be measured in terms of the cost of war, the cost to rebuild buildings, or the cost to build more prisons. The costs are calculated by the governments, but paid for by the citizens. The challenges to law enforcement agencies due to the organizational, technological, and spatial complexity of these criminal activities further complicate the task of investigating and prosecuting the offenders.Three related factors are considered by Kevonne Small and Bruce Taylor in their 2005 report “State and local law enforcement response to transnational crime,” published by the U.S. Department of Justice, to have impacted transnational crime:
Globalization of the economy
Rise in the number and heterogeneity of immigrants
Improved communication technologyThe societal impact of terrorism, whether at home or abroad, is enormous causing psychological damage to its victims, economic damage to multiple nations, and political damage to politicians who try to protect their citizens. Additionally, “transnational crime wars cannot be decisively won, because there are always other fronts and other enemies to be pursued” argues McCulloch. The same can be said about national crime – there is always another enemy to pursue. The enemy is close to home. The enemy is our neighbor, our friend, our work associate or a nearby stranger.Terrorism is one form of transnational crime with costs that have strained the global economy. Crime is diverse and includes such illegal activity as human trafficking, drug trafficking, child pornography, and the sale of transplantable human organs. Mass murder is another form of terrorism. The offender terrorizes the individual or group of individuals during the act and terrorizes a larger community when it is reported to a mass audience.Crimes have become more complex, more sophisticated, and increasingly more difficult to identify, investigate, and prosecute. The challenges facing those in the United States as well as the global community are extensive ranging from the impact to the individual who suffers, as well as the nation-state who tries to protect their citizens. The scope and magnitude of crime is having an increasing impact on the United States, reports Small and Bruce. Most others agree.Today, as President Obama proposes more legislative changes, we face our vulnerabilities again. Do we defend ourselves and, therefore, defend our Constitution? Or, do we dilute our principles with one more amendment or one more law designed to add punitive costs to the citizen without addressing the cause?