“The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay. The Shadow knows!”
Perhaps you’re old enough to remember this tag line from the 1930s radio dramatization of The Shadow. Or perhaps, like me, you spent your childhood listening to “Those Old Radio Shows” on your local radio station before going to bed every night. Or perhaps you’re only familiar with Woody Allen’s retort that “I think crime pays. The hours are good, you travel a lot.”
But however you encountered the “crime does not pay” formulation, you’ve doubtless heard it and internalized it. Of course it’s true. Crime doesn’t pay and the good guys always win in the end. Right?
Well, let’s examine this old adage for a moment. Why is it necessary to point out the poor remuneration of crime in the first place? We generally don’t go around pointing out things that are self-evidently true or just plain common sense, so there must be some reason people need to be reminded that crime is not a profitable endeavor. And that reason can only be that many people believe it to be a rewarding profession, financially or otherwise.
So why would they think that?
Sadly, one does not look very far to understand why people need to be constantly told that “crime does not pay.” And that is because crime does, in fact, pay. Quite handsomely, even. . . . if you’re in government.
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