Although the US (and global law in general) is very aggressive in dealing with some crimes (like illegal drug use, murder, sexual assault, etc.), it has failed to keep up with a number of other types of crimes. This “failure,” furthermore, is not just at the law enforcement level, but at that legislative and judicial court system level. Some crimes are so overwhelming in scope and sophistication that the government simply has not had the funds and manpower to do what needs to be done about it. In some cases, though, it has been more a lack of commensurate concern for a problem or a simple case of “let’s hide our heads in the sand” mentality. Here is a short list of some of the crimes about which this may be said:
As of right now, the penalties for stealing someone’s identity are not particularly harsh-not when you consider the damage done to victims, not to mention our whole economy in general. Although some legislatures and court systems have been scrambling to catch up with the special ramifications, not enough is being done, which partly explains why this problem continues to get worse, apparently without any signs of going away or diminishing anytime soon. As a rule, the US has always been soft on “white-collar” crimes (especially those without fatalities) but this is one type of “white collar” crime that may do more “harm” than other more physical types of crimes.
Production and selling of counterfeit products
Though most people may not realize it (probably because many of the victims remain unaware of their victimization), this is a huge industry. People involved in it are making lots of money and the market for these items, if anything, has gotten bigger and bigger. In Asian countries, for example, pirated American entertainment industry music CDs and movie DVDs sell with the apparent blessings of these foreign governments, prompting some experts to conclude that people, other than the thieves who sell these items, are greatly profiting from this illicit industry.
Part of the difficulty with this problem involves the huge number of facets or aspects it entails. In the Sudan, for example, people are being sold and bought as slaves, prompting some of the refugees who come here from that area to not see why this is so egregious to our culture; people from Asian countries are being sent to other countries (like the US) in order to work as indentured servants; children are sold to pimps so that they can prostitute themselves in the streets of Calcutta, India (and a number of other major Third World countries); young women (many of European descent) are being kidnapped all across the world and then sold into sexual servitude; etc. Most countries today (including the US) are ill-equipped to deal with this global-epidemic-proportions problem; some countries, as a matter of fact, simply hide their heads in the sand, rather than attempting to do anything aggressive about this dilemma.
4. The proper regulation of nutritional supplements and food additives. On the issue of artificial sweeteners, for example, the US has pretty much dropped the ball in every sense of the word. Sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (NutraSweet) and saccharin (Sweet & Low) all appear to pose long-term harmful effects but, because the FDA does not require these substances to “prove” that they are safe for human consumption (not just on a short-term level but, more importantly, on a long-term basis), these things are being allowed to be sold to the general public. In other cases, some substances regularly sold to the public do not even fall within the jurisdiction of the FDA or any of the laws that have been passed to make sure that all foods (including supplements and additives) sold in the US are safe for human consumption.
For a long time, this was a problem that was mostly ignored, to some extent because many people did not know about the seriousness or extent of the problem. Although there is now more awareness, though, the problem is still not being as well addressed as it needs to be. People who know or suspect abuse often have great difficulty finding people who believe them or with the power to do anything about it; what is worse, many elderly people (like children) often lack the voice and opportunity to let others know of their suffering, assuming that they even get the chance to post any complaints. For the record, abuse of the elderly is still, for the most part, a poorly-addressed problem in this country. We need better enforcement, more scrutiny and supervision of those who take care of the elderly, tougher laws, and an admission from healthcare providers and state officials that not enough is being done to protect the safety of this very vulnerable part of a our population.
Although most communities have lately added laws to address this problem, the fact is that some counties and states have still not added enough laws and guidelines to adequately address this issue. In some states, for example, a spouse cannot be charged with stalking, even though the couple may be separated, in the process of getting a divorce, or clearly not in the best of terms. Even when communities do have laws and ordinances against stalking, the reality is that the penalties usually in place are not as severe as they need to be. Many of the people (usually women) who complain about stalking end up getting stabbed or killed, usually by a former boyfriend or husband-something that can be prevented, if the stalkers in question are put away for a long time, after a conviction. Part of the problem is that many government officials fail to take this crime as seriously as it needs to be taken. Stalkers often turn out to be murderers, rapists, and kidnappers-why must society wait until these people commit these horrible crimes before they are taken seriously?
Cyberspace crimes (such as email fraud, “phishing,” virus creation and dissemination, etc.)
Considering the fact that the Internet did not even exist when most of the laws that are in the books today were written and passed, it is easy to see why our judicial system is so ill-prepared to deal with cyber Net crimes. For one thing, these crimes are more difficult to prove or to directly pin to one particular perpetrator, but this is not a reason for the government to be as lax as it has been regarding catching up in this specialized area of criminality.
Although the government provided huge amounts of money to all states so that they could better prepare for acts of terrorism, the fact is that many states took that money and spent it on other “needs.” It is difficult for states to be forced to spend money on disaster preparation (which is why most states are so poorly prepared for disasters-what happened during Katrina is undeniable evidence of this deficiency); it is also a known fact that most states routinely spend money given to them by the federal government on projects other than what they were given the money for. This country is terribly vulnerable to other acts like 911, mostly because government leaders within each state don’t have the foresight to prepare for the inevitable.
The lobbying powers of special interest groups and the prostitution of elected officials to these groups
It is doubtful that voters in the US have any voice any more when it comes to what happens in Washington. It’s the special interest groups who appear to wield the most power and influence. As if this were not heinous enough, the idea of these elected officials often taking gifts, bribes, and special privileges for selling their votes to these special interest groups should anger every American. Without doubt this situation is threatening the very essence of our supposedly democratic system, which is why both houses of legislation and the courts need to find ways to attack this type of “crime.” By the way, just because some people assume that because few laws have been passed against this practice this removes the heinous ethical unacceptability attached to these practices. For the record, corruption is not a necessary part of a democracy, except in the twisted minds of misinformed arrogant individuals.
The buying and selling of human organs
Although most people may not be aware of it, there is a huge demand for human organs in our society, a demand that has led to an underground “black” market for these items. Thousands of people, as a matter of fact, die each year because they could not get an organ from legitimate donor programs. Rich people, who have the ability to offer large sums of money for organs for their friends and family members, have created such a market. Because this market is operated under the strictest of discretion and secrecy, the government has not moved fast enough to deal with this dilemma-a dilemma which some predict will eventually lead to illicit human cloning and organ harvesting “factories.”