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(Published in the Similkameen Spotlight week of Jan. 31, 2005)

Save Those Reciepts

  By John Martin

"There are only two things I can't stand in this world: People who are intolerant of other peoples' cultures, and the Dutch."   -   Michael Caine in “Austin Powers – Goldmember”

Canada’s legal and parliamentary systems may have been inherited from England and our culture tends to beg, borrow and steal from the U.S.  But in terms of social policy, Canucks have found a new inspiration in recent decades; the Netherlands.

With childlike glee and admiration, the left fawn over the Dutch for their “progressive” and “liberal” approach to just about everything.  And we’re no longer talking about clogs, tulips and windmills.

The Netherlands has long been credited with leading the way in legalizing marijuana, opening brothels, promoting abortion, distributing heroin by prescription, sanctioning same sex marriages and officially authorizing euthanasia.  One of their suggestions to combat child molestation was to consider lowering the age of consent.

In fact there’s hardly an issue or cause near and dear to the hearts and minds of liberals that the Dutch haven’t given the green light. 

So it was only a matter of time till this tolerant and progressive country took the inevitable next step; legitimizing armed robbery.

This past week a Dutch court permitted a bank robber to deduct the $3200 he spent on a pistol as a legitimate business expense.  The court originally set out to fine the robber the $10,575 he “earned” in a bank heist but was persuaded he should be allowed to claim the cost of the firearm.

The court noted that, “You can compare criminal acts to normal business activities, where you must invest to make profits, and thus you have costs.”

A spokesman for the court further noted that drug dealers “would be within their rights to claim the cost of a car used to ferry those drugs around.”  However, the dealers would still be required to produce receipts and invoices in order to lawfully claim expenses.  Further, it would be incumbent on the dealer to demonstrate that the car was in fact required to transport the drugs.  After all, falsifying business expenses is a serious offence.

Now is that an enlightened attitude or what?

This really shouldn’t come as much of a shock or surprise, though.  In a world lacking moral absolutes where everything is relative and there are no longer any objective truths regarding right or wrong, who’s to say that one occupation is less legitimate than another?

Short order cook, shoe salesman, armed robber?  Just another way to put food on the table.

After all, laws prohibiting armed robbery were based on Judeo Christian beliefs and white males exclusively drafted early legal codes.  Consequently, they have no legitimacy in a secular world divorced from such offensive colonial and patriarchal foundations.

Recognizing armed robbery, as nothing more than an alternative career choice, then, is consistent with liberal orthodoxy.  In fact, refusing to do so would be tantamount to a denial of social justice and a human rights violation. 

Bank robbers have rights too.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at John.Martin@ucfv.ca

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