Of Civil Gov

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

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Victims of crime should not be aloud to determine the punishment for the criminal. According to John Locke in his writing "Of Civil Government", states that ""¦. when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind"¦". Locke believed that people, when they are not the victim, can determine punishment for criminals.

In America today, victims or people that were once victims, cannot punish criminals. In the court systems, screenings are done on all possible jurors to determine if they are eligible. If a person has somehow been a victim of the same crime, he cannot be a juror. This system is based on the belief that a person should be tried by his peers. ""¦ men being particular to themselves, passion and revenge is very apt to carry them to far".

When a person becomes a victim, they may act irrational or violent.

Often an "eye for an eye" becomes their theory. Locke says "First, there wants an established, settled, known law, received and allowed by common consent to be the standard of right and wrong, and the common measure to decide all controversies between them". When the victim is able to decide punishment for the criminal, it may no longer be the "common consent" but only to his own selfish revenge.

Set or standardized laws must before a crime happens so that it is always the same penalty for the same crime. Without these set laws, a victim would be able to place a cruel revenge on the criminal. Many times people feel they can justify crime with a crime of similar fashion. The most common being this can be associated with is death. Whenever a victim looses a loved one, they feel that they can only justify the loved ones death with more death. If this were the "consent of the people" then perhaps this punishment will be instituted.

Punishment cannot be left to the victim to decide. Any punishment must be with the consent of the people and set in place already. A person joins a government or commonwealth to be protected from criminals and to punish criminals when the need arises. Under these governments, the standard law made by the people is the punishment.