Today, I encountered a man who was not happy with the criminal laws around the world. According to him, our criminal laws doesn’t prevent the crime. He believes that our laws doesn’t pamper/give relief to the victim. Once the crime is done, victim has to live with the consequences. Our laws may give punishment to criminal but it doesn’t help the victim to overcome the side effects of crime. He was strong supporter of laws that can prevent the crime before happening.
This reminds me a good movie named The Minority Report directed by Steven Spielberg. The whole movie was based on the idea called Precognition of crime. In the movie, in near future we will have set up a division of special operatives who can prevent the crime before happening it with the help of 3 special kids Agatha Lively, Arthur and Dashiell “Dash” Parker. These special kids jointly have powers to predict the future and inform the division about the crime before it actually happens. In that movie, these special kids (precogs) predicts that John Anderton (Tom Cruise) who was also the chief of that division will murder a man named Leo Crow in 36 hours. Anderton doesn’t know Crow, but the division begins to hunt Anderton and it turns out that Crow grabs Anderton’s gun and pushes the trigger, killing himself. Thus this proves that precogs are not always right. After this Anderton come to know about Lively’s murder (Agatha’s drug addicted mother) and finds there were two attempts on her life, the first stopped by PreCrime but the second, occurring minutes later, succeeded. Later these kids predicts that the director of that division Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow), going to kill Anderton. Burgess corners Anderton, and explains that as he could not afford to let Lively take Agatha back without impacting PreCrime, he arranged to kill Lively following an actual attempt on her life, so that the murder would appear as an echo to the technician within PreCrime and be ignored. Anderton then bring attention to Burgess’s dilemma: If Burgess kills Anderton, he will be imprisoned for life, but PreCrime will be validated; if he spares Anderton, PreCrime will be discredited and shut down. Anderton reveals the ultimate flaw of the system: Once people are aware of their future, they are able to change it.
Let me cite here from Wikipedia “Spielberg said that the arrest of criminals before they have a chance to commit their crimes in the movie had some real world background in post 9/11 America, commenting that “[w]e’re giving up some of our freedom so that the government can protect us.” The future world in Minority Report of retinal scans, robotic human inspectors, and intrusive, individualized, public advertising arrived in American theaters as the country was debating how much governmental intrusion into personal matters was necessary to ensure safety of its citizens. Spielberg said he would be against a PreCrime system if it were ever possible, as he believes that if it did exist, those in control of it would undoubtedly abuse its powers.”
So if we somehow manage to predict the future crimes before its actual execution, it is possible that we can prevent the crimes to happen. However, there are chances that those in control this technology may misuse the power and, we may end up with capturing people who haven’t committed any actual crime. Are we ready to pay that price?