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The Root Causes, and So On....

We are often lectured about the "root causes" of crime.  They turn out to be numerous, but have one thing in common:  It's never the fault of the guy who did it.  It was someone or something else's fault:  Fell in with the wrong crowd, was off the meds,  neglectful parents, racism, poverty, bad schools, the One Percent, brain lesions, too many Twinkies, not enough Twinkies, lead paint, "urban survival syndrome," you name it.

And some of those may, from time to time, have had something to do with it.  But the main proximate cause of crime is right in front of our eyes: The criminal's blanked-out attitude toward his fellow creatures  --  a simple, if sometimes breathtaking and violent, indifference to the fact that other people have feelings just like he does.

This was seldom on better display than in the aftermath of an armed robbery in Ohio. The robber apparently was on his second escapade of the month (he was out on bond for the first).  This time a store customer shot him.

His parents' reaction was something less than contrition.  Perhaps this particular young man would have done better with less attention and more neglect from his doting parents, who seem to have little knowledge about their son's activities and even less interest in finding out.

It's also a lesson about how thoroughly we're in the grasp of the culture of victimization. It's a mistake to think that such a culture will permanently content itself to serve as the prop for criminal defense.  Its next step  --  and it's a logical step --  is affirmatively to strike out against The Privileged and the Callous, roughly meaning everyone who leads a normal life and tries to be responsible for himself.  Or even just someone who wants to make a trip to the Dollar Store.

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