marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

crime and punishment

There is nothing quite reading online chatter to discover what people don't know.  Like those fans who were deeply indignant at the kingdom in Tangled going to execute Flynn Rider.  After all, he was only a thief.

To be sure, they seem to skip the trial, but there was a lot of indignation about the execution itself as if it were unprecedented in the course of history.  And I start to mutter that had they never read Dickens?  Didn't they know what was going to happen to the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist?

It makes sense when you consider the past.  Rewarding people for theft by a life of idle luxury, also known as getting fed without having to work for it, is not a logic that will be swallowed in a world where more than ninety percent of the population works their tails off dawn to dusk in order to keep everyone fed, and don't always succeed.  Not to mention that theft was a lot closer to murder in days where stealing a churn, or a pot, or a spinning wheel, meant stealing someone's sole source of livelihood, not one that could be easily replaced -- and the neighbors are limited in their help, too, because they are living close to the line, too.

Well, some cultures went for slavery, instead, but then, criminal slaves tend to be fractious, so some countries just didn't think it worth it.

The fun part is trying to convey that to the reader.  Presuming you don't have magic or technology enough for the insane surplus needed to keep criminals in prison, and don't finesse the entire issue.

Tags: the past is a different country, world-building: economics, world-building: law, writing audience

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