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Victimless crime? What is that?

By Delcenia Turner
Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Pittsboro, NC - It is astounding how our society continues to create semantically contradictory justifications to excuse abuses of power. It is even more astounding how easily we buy into the hype. What, pray tell us, constitutes a “victimless crime?” Ascribing a label of crime to an action in itself denotes that the action is, as defined by Miriam-Webster, “a serious offense against public law,” What crime does not leave, in its wake, one or more victims suffering with some sort of injury, be it physical, financial or emotional?

The current sex-scandal debacle of Elliott Spritzer, former Governor of New York, who recently resigned his enviable position as a power broker and Presidential hopeful, is a case in point. Despite the fact that this man consciously, selfishly and excessively abused and violated the public trust by associating with and procuring sex from a high level prostitution ring, we are told by most male journalists, lawyers and even some women that Elliott Spritzer will not be prosecuted for his indiscretion because it is a “victimless crime.”

It is hard to imagine that the three teen-aged daughters of Elliott Spritzer feel “victimless.” They had to watch their mother stand unwillingly, yet resolutely by their father and listen as he publicly confessed his debasement of their matrimonial commitment, as well as his violation of the public trust to millions of people. His scandal will be a definitive part of their lives and their mother’s life forevermore. To be “cheated, fooled and injured by circumstances;” constitutes one of the definitions for ‘victim;’ How does ‘victimless’ apply here?

The larger concern though is how did our society become so irresponsible, we allow our elected officials to feel they are above the law, above decency? Why, after they have been exposed betraying the public trust, do we allow them to ‘refuse’ to resign? Why do we as citizens, continue to validate by our silence their right to choose to stay in office? Moreover, what kind of message does impunity on this level, veiled as ‘victimless crime’ send to the young men and women who must assume our roles one day? Has our hypocrisy reached critical mass?

We live, by choice in an ‘open’society; what people do privately in their own space is not arguable. However, when public figures choose to arbitrarily and defiantly subject the public to personal moral lapses in judgment, they should be removed from office immediately period. ‘Victimless crime’ is a farce that insults our common intelligence and perpetuates a dangerous paradigm; it is offensive and wholly unfair to families in general and women in particular that our code of law contains this demeaning ‘escape’ clause. We need to consider removing it and beyond that, consider including language in all oaths of office that strongly deter the inclination of elected officials to dishonor we the people.

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Victimless crime? What is that?