It's illegal - not

2012-03-19 12:28

Is it still illegal to drive without your seatbelt? It's certainly safer to drive with it on, but illegal, perhaps not.

In the last couple of weeks, I counted only 32 of 100 police and traffic officers in Cape Town driving with a seatbelt and it didn't seem that the general public fared much better.

So perhaps we should dispense with the idea that it is against the law.

Similarly, children have access to cigarettes - not by stealing it from their smoking parents (though I like that image) - but by buying it directly from spaza shops.

And we've heard the anecdotal evidence on Oprah regarding underage drinking.

It's against the law; even against some people's morals, yet these things continue with impunity, as if the law doesn't exist - or can't be enforced. So why bother with all the aggravation? Change the law.

Cybercrime is meant to be illegal and yet every day, the petty and not-so-petty criminals get away with crimes.

Students regularly download movies and music from friends and acquaintances in high quality and stored conveniently on flash drives, phones and even CDs.

In the bad old days, you could copy albums to cassette, but the quality was... questionable. And even original VCR movies degraded badly over time.

But today, access to digital content is fast, cheap and (mostly) free.

Perhaps the answer to the dilemma of content creators is to look at different ways to make money off their product so that the product serves as a kind of "advert" for the additional content - a sort of digital sales pitch.

There is a darker underbelly to having all kinds of laws that have no real effect or enforcement: People will assume that if they can get away with small crimes like not wearing a seatbelt, perhaps they can get away with much bigger crimes.

Already people drive past the two regular cops on Adderley Street without wearing seatbelts, convinced that they won't be ticketed for that crime.

Perhaps they are more nervous about bigger crimes, perhaps they're bankers.

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