Why do people commit crime?

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I attended a talk by ageing British gangster ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser a decade ago. For those of you who know little about him he was born in London in 1923. A quarter Red Indian, a quarter Scotch, a quarter Irish and a quarter Norwegian. His parents were as honest as the day is long. 4 of his siblings led honourable lives but he and his sister were inveterate criminals.

 He spent over 40 years in prison  over different sentences for various crimes. He had himself certified insane to avoid military service. That is why he had the cognomen ‘Mad’.

I said that when he grew up many people were dirt poor and children walked shoeless even in a British winter. Why is that we are much more prosperous is there more crime.

“That is a very good question”, he replied. He told me there is much more temptation now, more of an expectation of a high standard of living. He said drugs make people commit crime. Involvement in drugs is the one thing he claimed to steer clear of. As he freely confesses to scores of other offences he has some credibility here.

He is feted now. I have read his autobiography. He crows about his many crimes. Innumerable thefts and frauds. He perjured himself more than he spoke the truth in court. He was involved in protection rackets. Think of a struggling old shop keeper being confronted by musclebound young thugs and intimidated into handing over his meagre profits to these scumbags.

Fraser used to attack men delivery payrolls, hit them over the head with an iron bar. Imhe agine a business losing so much money, maybe going bust through the greed and malice of an arsehole like Fraser. Imagine the stress of the poor factory workers and their children going hungry when no pay packet arrived in pay day. Imagine the trauma to the delivery men and the weeping of their wives as they visit their brutally injured husbands in hospital. Were these men brain damaged.

 He used to assault prison guards. He is viciously violent. He was beaten unconscious many times. He seldom asked for sympathy. There is some whingeing self pity in the book. He berated the son of a prison governor. He said that governor was mean and cruel. That governor was merely just to an absolute despicable villain like Fraser. What revolting whining from this low down rat. The governor was not nasty and spiteful, Fraser was. He should count himself lucky he was not in Somalia where hands are chopped off to this day for theft. I do not advocate such barbarous penalties.

These career criminals organised benefits for each other, concerts where money was raised for the charity of giving cash to fellow hoodlums.

I am unsupportive of the death penalty. I consider myself to be a humane person and I oppose excessive punishment. Fraser was flogged and birched for gross personal violence against a prison governor. However, when it comes to Fraser being flogged I have no sympathy for him. There was rather less violence in gaol then. These vermin knew what t expect if they attacked a prison officer.

Fraser seems fearless if he is to be believed. As he is extremely dishonest he is probably not brave like he says.

His punishments involved being in the punishment block, no exercise. Now no matter what they get an hour’s exercise in the yard. He was strapped into a belt, his arms strapped to the belt. He had to shit himself.

Fraser is not a grand old man, no loveable rogue he. He is a loathsome shit.

They used to have preventive detention. If someone committed several major crimes they could get a preventive detention sentence of say 12 years.  I am against three strikes and you are out but P.D. seems right.

Fraser could have been let out early. But he was so spiteful in the penitentiaries he lost all remission. He would not even control himself to save himself gaol time. He has no regrets about missing out on his children growing up.

Some human rights extremists took up his case.

He does not appear to have done a day’s work in his life.

He mentioned a fellow felon who was given 7 years for breaking and entering many years back. He said that now this crim would probably only cop probation! We wonder why crime is so much higher than in the 1970s! I am not calling for draconian sentences but some measure of justice, not the unspeakably unjust leniency such as is handed down to the most nauseating criminals as we see now.

Not once in his book is there a vestige of remorse. He is an utterly  contemptible and disgusting man. At least in the old days his kind were dealt with firmly.

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