Natural Crime And Legal Crime

350 Words2 Pages
Two concepts are useful: mala prohibita and mala in se. The first term means acts that are wrong because they are prohibited, such as driving your car above a certain speed on a particular roadway. The second term means acts that are evil at all times and all places, such as sexual abuse of a child. Obviously there are numerous laws that prohibit crimes which are in themselves evil, such as the statutes against murder, rape, child abuse, and a long list of others. These laws are useful because they establish levels of various crimes -- differentiating, for example, between killing a person by neglect (involuntary manslaughter), killing without intent (voluntary manslaughter), killing on impulse (second-degree murder) and premeditated, planned killing (first degree murder). The nature of these crimes is different one from another, even though the consequence is the same -- unwarranted death of another human being. Because there are the (and other) differences, the penalties are different although there is often considerable overlap of the penalty scales (such as years in prison). Your term "natural crime" is rather troublesome. In the natural world, we do not define crime -- even though predators may take the lives of other creatures on a daily basis, and may employ cunning traps and ambushes to do so. We are all familiar with "the law of the jungle", kill or be killed. Fraud exists in the natural world, with protective coloration and patterns that mimic another creature. Many creatures steal from one another. And so on; there are many examples of acts in the natural world that we would not tolerate among humans. There is no such thing as "natural crime" in humans; at least, not among those who have achieved the power of rational thinking. Most of us have been taught, and have learned by observation, which crimes are intrinsically evil. On the other hand,
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