Crime and punishment is not really my forte. I watch crime investigation shows and documentary always hoping that the guilty party is proven innocent at the end. This is most likely because a large part of me does not want to believe that people are capable of being malicious. I also see far to easily how people committing many crimes are victims of terrible socioeconomic circumstances, and that society is just as culpable as they are. I recognize that I am softer than reality allows, so I try to avoid the issue. However there is one kind of crime that I think needs to be cracked down on, and in a big way; jackasses who fight at bars and clubs.
I live in downtown Vancouver, a block away from the entertainment district. A week does not go by where I do not see some sort of fight. Now I am not talking about two guys shoving and wrestling, but serious blows being thrown. This has made spending time downtown at night feel dangerous, not because of the chance of getting mugged, but because you might bump into some jerk looking for a fight. While that could happen anywhere, the situation is exacerbated by the fact that in most cases, the perpetrators get thrown into the drunk tank for a night, and get let go the next morning. Now for most crimes, I do not see punishment as a serious deterrent. Crimes of desperation and environment are going to occur regardless. However, these are college kids who know that there are no repercussions for their actions. Punishment here would act as a severe deterrent. How about a minimum 30 day sentence for starting a fight while intoxicated? Maybe tack on some fines for participants and I can guarantee all of a sudden things would change quickly. These are not stupid people for the most part, just drunken kids who know that they won’t have to sit in the corner if they are bad. Throw a few of them in the can and make it very public and I am positive the amount of drunken violence on the streets would decrease.