Are laws there as a deterrent or to set a code of punishments?
Been thinking about this as I am still seeing put up silly little pictures on Facebook about how more gun laws won't deter criminals.
For me personally, they are more about the punishment and the lines in the sand we have that will determine when you are given that punishment.
Certainly for some the threat of the punishment *can* have deterrent effect. Those intent on doing evil, won't really care so much.
More punishment than deterrence. The better gun rights argument is that laws certainly aren't about protection. They don't work that way.
Gun laws are nominally about preventing mass shootings, at least as far as the advocates would like us to believe. It is worth pointing out that they won't work to that end ... either as punishment or deterrence. We already punish murder higher than any gun law violation. So much for deterrence. And, they usually kill themself anyway ... so there's no chance of punishment. Protection should be the priority.
Laws are not about punishment, laws are rules of behavior for the population the punishment is given for breaking those rules. A law itself is not a deterrent, especially to those who don't feel bound by society's rules and apparently the punishments given to law-breakers are not deterrents either as one can see from our 'over-crowded' jails.
I don't understand the distinction between "laws are rules of behavior with punishments" and laws being about punishment. Penalizing poor behavior is the point.
The rules certainly can't work without punishments. Laws with no teeth are ignored. And, the laws certainly can't prevent people breaking them. They just punish it. Breaking the law simply requires the calculation of whether you're willing to risk punishment.
For instance, I'm willing to shoot somebody to protect my family. I would be willing to do so even if self-defense killings were entirely illegal. I'll risk the punishment. So ... that law wouldn't be about the rule, because I'd break it anyway. It isn't about deterrence, because I won't be deterred from defending myself. It has to be about the punishment.
I was attempting to make the distinction between the law and the punishment for breaking the law.
There is no distinction, though. Without punishment ... a law is just a legislative wish. Punishment is the teeth. It is the purpose of the law. It is the action that enforces the rule. Without it, there is no action, no purpose ... effectively no law.
I agree that law without repercussions is a wish but the punishment is not the purpose of the law; the law exists to restrict actions that are detrimental to an orderly, safe society; the end result of breaking the law is the punishment. Similar to the rules you have for your kids at home; you may have a rule that they clean their room each Saturday. If they don't you may have several punishments that you could apply. For example they may be grounded for the day, they may have to help clean the rest of the house, or they may not get their allowance. Are those punishments the rule? I submit they are not but are simply the results of breaking the rules.
A law cannot restrict actions, it can only punish them. That's the point. So long as a person is willing to risk the punishment, he can do whatever he wants ... legal or not. Murder laws don't stop murders -- they only punish murderers. The law is, by nature, after-the-fact.
It isn't similar to parenting kids. Parents monitor to affect behavior before punishment ... laws don't. I can force my kid to clean his room without punishing him, or I can punish for refusal (or both). Government can only punish for refusal. Government can't get a murderer to not-murder because the law isn't around until the murder is finished. Law can't stop him.
To make it 'similar to the rules you have for your kids at home' ... governments would have to monitor continuously. Police state.
Laws do not merely punish murder. They also say that murder is unjust. The justice of the laws is essential to their being obeyed & taught to each new generation. The laws are the fundamental education.
If people do not tell their children that obeying the laws is good & disobeying bad, the children will not obey the laws. Then the families & the city will not have any good in common. Then there will be no laws. If you want to see that the laws are an education, look at any place where people are told not to talk to the police, ever.
I can't tell if you wish to be a realist or a conventionalist about justice. If, as you say, justice is necessary for the teaching of and the obedience to any given law, then it would not follow that the laws per se are necessary for a common good. Justice is already acting as such.
If laws and obedience are what makes for the having of a common good, as you imply, then what is the role of justice? Is it a convention? If so, what makes this initial convention (justice) normative to subsequent conventions (laws)?
What exactly do you mean to say about places where people are told not to talk to the police? In America not talking to the police is good legal advice. But this does not mean that our laws are unjust or that we do not have a common good.
I don't think you read what I wrote right.
'Any given law'? Where'd you get that? You've figured out how people could have justice without laws? How'd you do that?
Laws & obedience to the laws are indeed necessary for the common good, because there is no common good without politics. But laws are primarily a matter of justice. Does the implication surprise you, that justice is connected to the common good? Any given law is a convention--if people do not come together, there are no laws. People can be right or wrong on those things about which they agree. Agreement in itself is not justice, but it shows the connection of justice to human beings, who are opinionated & must deliberate about what is good for them. If you want to see that conventions are not merely conventional, start from the fact that laws are always there with people & a people without laws does not exist.
There are places where people do not talk to the police. Maybe you do not understand what that matters--still, let me congratulate you on the ruthlessness of 'good legal advice'--but I can explain. The laws of the city do not rule where people teach their families to not talk to the police, to not call the police when crimes are committed, to not give testimony, &c. Take any American metropolis; some parts live under the laws; others without. Crime is not spread evenly or randomly. Murder especially is concentrated among the lawless. You want good legal advice about those places?
I don't think I read what you wrote right either. Tell me if I've gathered your meaning now.
Justice 'exists' conceptually independent of law. That is why it can serve as a measure of good laws: those worth teaching and obeying. Also, justice is the common good. But to 'have' justice (the common good brought into actuality), a city must know justice, and that is the role of just law.